Last week driving home from work, I got pulled for "improper lane change," meaning I didn't signal before I changed lanes. When the cop ran my driver's license, it came back suspended. I had such a hissy fit of disbelief that he called for backup, because there is absolutely nothing illegal about my car and no reason for a suspension. He took my license anyway. He said if I was telling him the truth, then I just had to go to the DMV the next day and explain to them why the suspension was in error, and they would give me another license. He allowed me to call friends to come and get me, one to drive my car back to my place and one to drive me home. He made me swear I wouldn't drive my car, and he and his buddy cop left me standing there on the side of the road in the dark by myself for the about half an hour it took for my friends to get there.
Next day I went to the DMV and the snafu was about my previous car. They had me as still owning that car, on which the insurance had lapsed. I was able to prove to them that I turned that car in to the dealership and drove off the lot with another one, and there was never any lapse in insurance because I called Geico before I left the dealer's lot and dropped the old car and added the new one. I also went online and filled out the screen to report a sold car. I received letters from the DVS warning that if I drove that car without insurance, I would get in trouble, but since I didn't own the car anymore and was not driving it at all, much less uninsured, I didnt' think the letters applied to me. So anyway, the DMV said yeah, I can see that you sold the car on the same day you bought the new one, so you're right, this suspension is in error. It will cost you $85 administrative charge and we will lift the suspension, so I paid it. Then the clerk said to me, "You no longer have a suspended license, but you are not yet a licensed driver, because you have to prove your legal presence." I'm like, wtf... She asked if I had a birth certificate. I did. My friend drove me back to my house and I picked up my birth certificate, the deed to my condo, my tax returns, my votor registration card, my social security card, my two final decrees of divorce, everything I could think of. She looked through all that and said she needed the marriage certificate from my first marriage. I said I don't think I ever even saw it. I don't have it. She said without that, she could not trace how I went from Jane Smith to Jane Johnson. I said well, by marrying John Johnson, obviously, right? I mean, I had to have been married to him to get a legal divorce from him? She said yes but your divorce decree doesn't mention your former name, so this doesn't track.
She gave me the phone number of the North Carolina Vital Statistics (because although both of us were Virginia citizens, we were married in Elizabeth City, NC). NC said they would be glad to expedite getting my marriage license to me -- it would take 10 days to process my request, after which time it would be sent to me via UPS. I'm like, 10 days is not expediting ... it takes almost 2 hours each way to get back and forth to work on the bus and the subway, so you're saying it's going to be at least two weeks before I even have a prayer of getting my license back.
So I called the governor's office in Virginia and said I was born in Virginia on a military base in a miltiary hospital to an active duty American father and his wife, both of whose families have been here since the 1700s and further, if you count the fact that we intermarried with Indians, because one of the first of my ancestors to come here was a Presbyterian deacon who wanted to teach the Indians to read so they could read the Bible and become Christians; I'm a descendant of Daniel Boone, for pete's sake ... I have had a driver's license in Virginia continuously for 30-some years with all my name changes from my two marriages with no problem whatsoever, and all of a sudden now you don't know me and I have to prove that I am in the United States legally.
It's not just that I can't drive my car (that I just renewed the plates on and got inspected). It's that I can't transact business at my own bank without an ID, and many stores also ask for a picture ID when you offer your credit card. I can't get a passport because I don't have a driver's license, so I can't go anywhere. I am in limbo. I am a non-person, someone who cannot prove her legal presence in the State of Virginia.
What do you think, has it all gone a little too far?