One of the documents that I need to get a mortgage is a Xerox of my driver's license. This proves to all and sundry that I am who I am.
It especially proves that because in the state of New Jersey, I have had to provide about a jillion documents to verify that I am who I am in order to renew my license in the first place.
In January of this year, at my renewal date (Jan 20th in the event you wish to send birthday gifts), I checked online to see what I needed to do. Lo and behold, I had to provide all sorts of things - a birth certificate was only one. My last name (due to a marriage and subsequent divorce) is not what my birth certificate says. So I had to provide a wedding license to show why it changed. Plus current utilities bills, bank statements, etc.
The first two "proofs" I placed in an envelope in the infamous "safe place" from which everything always disappears. That tricky spot that looks so memorable at first, rapidly exits ones memory within instants.
So, having finally accomplished the renewal in January, I felt as though I clearly was who I said I was. I had the papers to prove it. No need for an identity crisis here.
I stopped off at a friend's business and asked her if she would just Xerox the license for me. As she was handing it back to me, I recall her saying -- "Here, take this so I do not leave it in the machine." I took it. I walked back outside, Xerox in hand, got back into my car and said to myself -- "Hmmmm, I'd better put that license back into the card-holder in my purse," as I had just dropped it in the purse when she gave it to me.
I could not find it.
Somewhere between the office and my car it was gone.
I tore apart my purse. I got out of the car and inspected the front seats -- I looked over and under them. My friend did everything except rip up the office carpet.
Did I mention that this was the day last week when I was meeting several people in Massachusetts for a big meeting about the house and renovations? Did I mention that is an almost 4 hour DRIVE? Tick. Tock. No time to run to the DMV. What the hell -- I had my Xerox.
I drove up and back in a day. At or below speed level. I watched for police cars with the rapt attention of a bank robber driving a car full of stolen swag.
The next day I checked online to see what I had to bring to the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to renew these new and improved licenses. For a lost license I had to bring THE SAME PILE OF PAPERS AS BEFORE! You know, that pile in the "safe place" that I knew I could not find?
Solution: take a long nap. Pull up covers and let part of the day go to seed. Do other things. Look for envelope of documentation in what must have been a "safe place". Discover, as feared, that it is even safe from me. Resolve to go through purse one more time. Go through it at 10PM -- go through every shred, every corner, every bit.
Of course now I have a tidy purse, a major accomplishment as it was starting to resemble a filing cabinet.
I have a tidy purse, no documents and a Xerox'd drivers license.
I sleep a fitful sleep. At 6 am I head out for my car, and tear it up again, finding spare change, several empty Starbucks and Dunkin' Donut iced coffee cups and straws beneath my front seats. I decide to check the back seats -- nothing much there - but worth a look.
There, beneath a small throw rug that I use when I have to put anything on my back seat (light beige leather seats) is ...tra ta...my license. Face down...so it didn't exactly look like a license. But there it was on the floor of the back seat.
All I can imagine is that the zipper to my purse must have been open when I flung my purse into the car. The license must have popped out and in that space between the front door and the front seat, flown into the back seat floor area.
It is astonishing to me how much anxiety can be produced by a little plastic card about 3 inches long. Or how much relief can be experienced at its recovery.
I envy our much earlier ancestors who didn't have to worry about IDs. Want to know who they were? Ask 'em. Or ask their neighbors. The world was simple enough that the odds were they actually knew.