As most of you know I have been dancing with our governing body and our legal system for sometime now. All in an effort to renew my driver’s license. Can I say that I had no true idea of how crippled those systems are and how most of the true power for decision-making lies in the hands of people who personally feel quite powerless and who hate their jobs and are ruthlessly underpaid. So, they tend to be ruthless with me.
These clerks in life stand between a person needing to do some legal transaction that could change their life forever and getting a result. This clerk can make or break whether you achieve your goal with one swift glance at your pile of paperwork, raising their thin eyebrows at you in disapproval or can brandish one signature on a paper that you hold in your hand like a sacrificial offering, only to be put in a pile to be never seen again, like a cast away orphan that no one will adopt.
So, now four months into my surreal process of getting my driver’s license renewed, I have not only been told I am a “one of a kind case” but my fabulous and accomplished lawyer Martha from Denver has this week been branded a full- blown “troublemaker”. You must understand that neither Martha nor I look like street people, x-hippies, drug addicts or criminals. We look well put together and between us have umpteen years of higher education, I am a Harvard Grad, Martha 22 years as a lawyer and we are kind and considerate. In the end none of it matters. I might as well be Charles Mansen.
Since last writing I have flown to Denver, taken FBI fingerprints, supplied a second set of finger prints for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and been told that due to the use of curling irons as a teen they did not think my fingerprints would pass the scrutiny of either Bureau. Hmmm….what was it about those little swirls at the tip of my finger that was so unacceptable that I might just not be fingerprint “worthy”? And if I am not fingerprint worthy then what does that mean? It means I don’t get to drive.
I then, off the record, drove like a little old lady in the slow lane and back roads to get to Court on the day before Thanksgiving. I waited for my knight in shining armor, Martha. I sat inside this beautiful guilded domed building called Jefferson County Court House tucked up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The building was affectionately referred to by the locals as the “R2D2” building. You get the idea.
As I waited, I saw a marble bench with a life size bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson, the father of our country and our legal system, sitting on the bench with quill in hand. I thought, “I will sit next to him and meditate on the outcome of my day, can’t hurt since maybe his energy would rub off on me”. So Thomas and I sat there like an old familiar couple as every passerby from nose ringed and tattooed young people, to a group of Mafia looking guys that might have just been lawyers, passed me all saying, “Well he sure doesn’t talk allot does he?” The metaphor very apropos.
So, I sat in court with my lawyer who on that day had lost her voice too. Now, I find that simply perfect since I had “No Voice” with anyone in the system up to this point and called her hoping her voice carried more weight than mine. When the day we were hoping to plead our case in court arrived, she was not talking very much and in the end we were told we needed to file more and more papers and get fingerprints and generally jump totally new unnecessary hoops to satisfy someone down the chain of command that no one really knew the name of.
Then last week I hit the end of the line of options. The last straw, the last attempt, was to file an appeal and go to District Court….now let me remind you that this was not to prove I was not the Uni-Bomber, not to win or lose some battle for my child, or right to put a fence up and keep my pack rat neighbors at bay. It is not an appeal for the kind of justice we need and is only fair in our country to protect someone, to award a parent custody or to make sure child support is in fact paid. It is an appeal to get the simple act of spelling a name correctly accomplished, so that the Social Security Administration can breathe a sigh of relief that in fact I am who I say I am.
The papers were filled out while my lawyer Martha drank hot tea for her throat and gargled and took aspirin, so she could meet Thanksgiving head on the next day. She took time to run the gauntlet of absurdity while blowing her nose and feeling generally miserable and get down to the court to file a motion to appeal. She was told in no uncertain terms “that no one had ever attempted to appeal a name change document before!” Am I surprised?
So, my gypsy saga continues. I have no license, I cannot drive to the corners of the earth and in fact may truly need to buy a Gypsy wagon and a good mule. Anyone know where I can buy one? Or maybe a nice looking Chauffeur.
All I can say, Sis, is that one of my truths of life (actually #3 after never pass up a chance to take a pee, and # 1, people always do what they really want to do; oh,, and don’t forget Parkinson’s Law, work expands to fill the time allotted);here it is: when you deal with a clerk, you must think like a clerk! This is truly absurd, and should make a wonderful screen play. I love you, Sis