I did it. I got my “real” official U.S. legal driver’s license that’s an official ID. Today, I proved I’m me.

It was a close call. Getting a car loan or a mortgage was far, far easier. In the process, we all went through periods of significant confusion. For example, I had two marriage certificates, both of which were for Garry and my wedding. One came from the Town of Hempstead. The other was from the state of New York. They looked entirely differently and both were official.

“Did you marry him twice?” they asked me.

“No,” I said. “Only once. They are the same marriage. Once certificate is from the town and the other from the State.” I didn’t want to mention that I had a another one from the church because we were all confused enough. No need to make it worse.

I will be eternally grateful to New York for putting all my information on one piece of paper, including my maiden name, my first married name, and my second married name. When we finally got that straightened out, they gave me the license.

You are supposed to have two identification papers, neither of which can be a copy and they are very specific about what you need. Original BILLS (not receipts). No copies. With one exception, all our bills are in my name and delivered electronically. Like most people.

I believe the Registry of Motor Vehicle workers were equally confused. I had my oil utility bill. That was okay. But they needed two original paper bills. They wouldn’t accept receipts or copies of bills paid online and never mind that all our bills are paid automatically online because that’s pretty much how everyone does it now. Unlike other states, they won’t accept expired passports or my medical cards, the ones which identify the serial numbers of the three medical implants in my body. Personally, I think the workers had no reasonable explanation for why one thing was acceptable but another — very similar thing — was not. It seemed almost random.

At one point I looked up and said: “This is REALLY confusing.”

The guy I was working with said, “Tell me about it.” I have never had a weirder paperwork experience.

The whole point of this is that you have to prove you are you and you live where you live. I have been living here for 22 years, so I brought my mortgage plus the deed to the house. Neither was acceptable. Nor would they accept the receipt for the new stove we just bought or the wildly expensive new windows for which we are contracted. For inexplicable reasons, it has to be a current original PAPER bill from -within the previous 90 days. Receipts aren’t bills and don’t count. I pointed out that the bill for our new windows cost me a lot of money and were being installed in the house they want me to prove I live in and why would I install windows in someone else’s house?

I also pointed out I pay my bills electronically — like everyone else — but since they won’t accept copies, how was I supposed to get the paperwork? I had my old driver’s license. I had my mortgage and deed. I had my medical ID cards (three of them). I had two Medicare cards — the old one and the new one. I had my Social Security card. But no one except the heating oil company bills me on paper.

I think in the end they were so confused they let me have the license. It was easier than sifting through any more paperwork. Not only was I ready to give up, THEY were ready to give up. I can’t believe every state is as bad as Massachusetts. I sure hope not.

I had many kinds of proof, but nothing was the right proof — except the oil utility bill. Everything else was a receipt, a medical ID, the deed, or the mortgage. I don’t understand why the deed and the mortgage are NOT proof because a rental agreement or lease IS proof as is a bill from Medicaid or Medicare.

Whoever made up these rules was living in a different world than the rest of us. They didn’t make any allowance for reality, like how few people pay paper bills and no one mails them — and haven’t in years. Moreover, many companies — like AT&T — won’t send them even if you beg and plead. Also, why will they accept a bill for your mortgage payment, but not the actual mortgage or the deed to the house? Especially since a lease agreement is okay. Huh?

Finally, when they decided my marriage certificate from New York state would do the job (never mind that I didn’t have my original marriage certificate for my first marriage which should have been mandatory), they were baffled by my lack of a middle name.

RMV: “Did you ever have a middle name?”

ME: “No.”

RMV: “Why not?”

ME: “My mother didn’t give me one. My sister got one. My brother got one. I didn’t get one. I am one name short.”

RMV: “No middle name ever?

ME: “No middle name. Ever.”

By the time we skated past my missing middle name, they were glad to see me go and I was glad to go.

Now that I have proved I’m me — I am pretty sure that’s what I proved — I would like to know who I was for the 75 years that preceded today. If I wasn’t me until I proved it, who was the person wandering around with my name? Working, raising a child, paying taxes and mortgages and car payments. Who WAS she? Does she have the missing paperwork?

Categories: #Photography, Anecdote, Bureacracy, Government

13 replies

  1. I probably missed the first part of this tale but I know EXACTLY how you felt. We had the same sad story over and over when we lived in France. For one document (can’t remember for the life of me which one it was) ‘they’ wanted the full date and some details of my divorce certificate…. (btw; next March I’ll be REMARRIED for 25yrs!). All stuff I’ve thrown away the minute I got my divorce! I had to get my ex’s phone number to ask him to send me a copy of said papers and within half a day I had it all (I knew that he kept EVERYTHING of some importance). Lucky me; or else…. At one point I wanted to ask them: Can I also give you the inner length of my trousers (pants) so that you don’t have to ask that separately 😉
    On second thoughts, it MIGHT have been to get my French driving license!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My first husband died almost 30 years ago and I sent for the papers from the state of NY, but they won’t actually get them to ME until sometime next July. As for whatever papers I might have needed from Israel, FAT CHANCE of getting and of them! I couldn’t get the papers from them when I lived there, much lest 40 years later. They have a bureaucracy that’s an international award winner in its category.

      This is all the old stuff left over from Trump. If I couldn’t managed to get the paperwork together, I’m sure that other people who are less computer savvy will never get it done. It’s a MESS.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Middle names are only there for mothers to use when scolding their children, and in the off chance you should become President or a serial killer (or maybe both). I hate my middle name because apparently it is the most popular middle name for serial killers. I wonder how much identification I’d need to dig up to have it removed?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They have made this “proving who you are” thing into a real nightmare, especially for women. Men can get a dozen divorces, but since they don’t change their name when they marry — and sometimes change it back after a divorce — all they need is a birth certificate and in a state that’s less insane than Massachusetts, a couple of bills or receipts or an old passport. For women, especially women who were married overseas, the chances of EVER getting that paperwork is close to nil. Never mind the middle name. There you are, well into your senior years, mortgages, car payments, previously licensed, birth certificate — and you STILL can’t prove you are you because your state doesn’t let you use copies of anything. It was insane.

      I think I am the only woman I know who actually managed to get the “real” ID official U.S. ID license. My ex-DIL can’t because she can’t find the papers from her first divorce and doesn’t have the money to order one from the state. One woman can’t because she was born on a Naval base that was in Japan, but was closed 70 years ago. Old people who were born at home and whose only records were from a long-disappeared church — or were never registered because they lived out in what were then the boonies and are probably now a suburb? By the time they are done with this, half the population — especially women and older people — will never be able to even drive, much less vote.

      Despite this being a massive Republican tool to eliminate voting in “blue” areas, there will be just as many Republicans who can’t prove who they are as Democrats. If we don’t have people voting now? This isn’t going to fix anything for either party.

      I still can’t believe I actually GOT a license, especially since I had forgotten my distance vision glasses and had to do the eye test with my computer glasses! I also got the UGLIEST picture EVER on the new license.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you were able to prove yourself — now you won’t ever have to do that again! In CA, people who applied for a “Real ID” during the early days a couple of years ago found that DMV didn’t require enough papers, and the Real ID’a were not valid — the poor people had to go through it all again! I have chosen not to apply for a Real ID, as I have both a passport and a card-style passport that will get me to any of the places I would use a Real ID!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry’s going to see if he can get a current passport. It’s easier. This is supposedly a Republican “tool” to get rid of voters in “blue” areas, but I’m pretty sure that just as many GOPers won’t have the right papers as Democrats and for older people and women who were divorced long ago and don’t even remember where they should write to get replacement documents? What a MESS.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope my RMV renewal isn’t as crazy as yours was. But I have TWO middle names which will probably raise lots of red flags.


  4. Phew what a lot of work involved, I just hate all that stuff
    Now you’re completely legal what a relief for you

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you were finally able to prove you were really you! What a confusing experience! Xx


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