Thursday, July 29, 2010

Driver's License Catharsis

My current driver's license is an abomination. A year or so ago I lost it and I thought that that would be my ticket to a new driver's license photo. Turns out they just print out the same one, hideous scowl and all, and charge you ten dollars. So for years I've been waiting for this window, the few months before my 28th birthday, to get my new driver's license.

I had to run to the DMV on an errand for work the other day and thought I'd just go ahead get my license then. Here's the thing, my maiden name is "Alice Ananda Weaver Seyle," when I got married it changed to "Alice Ananda Seyle Spear." The "four-name-name" has been a problem for me from day one. Any paperwork that asks for a middle initial causes confusion, people at the post-9/11 airport look at me like I might be from a foreign country and am therefore suspect, any new job is a problem because my paperwork has all four of my names, and the one I'm called is not even one of them. I once worked somewhere for a good six months as "Alice" simply because I didn't feel like explaining the whole situation. My cover was blown when my husband called for "Annie" and I then had to explain not only why I'm called "Annie" but also why I wanted to avoid the original explanation. So, when I got my first license in this state I encountered my old foe, the person who can't make sense of my name. What I ended up with on my license is "Spear, Alice, Ananda, W, Seyle." This is what I've lived with for four years, that and a disgusting picture that was taken in that fraction of a second when I looked worse than I've ever looked in my entire life.

So, I figured as long as I was at the DMV, and as long as I was getting a new license, surely they could just take out that unnecessary "W," which of course they can't. I have to go back and dig out my original birth certificate and my marriage license to get that done, which poses it's own set of problems because of my "filing." So, I decided to forget it. Once I thought about it I decided that I really wasn't prepared to get my new license anyway. Now I have the opportunity to do it the right way. I've been needing a haircut, so I ought to wait to get my new picture until I get that done. I need to know that morning that I'm getting my picture taken so that I can dress appropriately. Getting my license off the cuff like that, while I was on an office errand, would be borderline irresponsible. I was irresponsible last time and I've paid the price for four long years.

Never one to make the same mistake twice, I'm now wracked with anxiety about the whole thing. It has turned into a huge ordeal. I'm worrying about my hair, I mean, what if I get it cut and it looks worse? I'm thinking about colors that look good with my eyes. I'm wondering how to apply makeup and reading articles by scientists about the difference between a spontaneous smile and a practiced smile. It's not like I have nothing else in my life to worry about, like everything is fine and I just have this quirk about my driver's license. I've got ten million stressors that are absolutely crippling my ability to function and I find myself staring into space thinking not about my mother's Alzheimer's or my husband's pneumonia but about whether grey makes me look pale or not. And it all snaps into focus... NOW. Maybe that's precisely why I'm so obsessed with my driver's license. If I'm worrying about that I don't have to worry about things that truly scare me. Great. What am I going to worry about to avoid worrying about things after I get my new driver's license? I know Mom, I'm a Virgo. I'm such a Virgo.


  1. I'm a Virgo too, we're in this together. :)

    I love you Alice Ananda, quirks, fears, beauty, and all.

    By the way - the key is in your eyes - not your smile.

  2. Sometimes, you just really need the trivial distractions. My best tip is to not wear a boatneck top or you may look topless in the photo.