Replacing ID can be a real pain.
Replacing said ID after a major storm is an ordeal in itself.
Back many years ago, my wife and I got the chance to experience that frustration.
Picture it, Sicily 1927…
Er, the wrong flashback.
Okay, picture this Orange, Texas, 2005.
After watching Katrina lay waste to New Orleans, we were bracing for impact here from Hurricane Rita. Am I the only one that associates the storm with the Beatles tune “Lovely Rita?”
Anyway on with my story.
My wife and I made a last minute decision to evacuate. So, imagine packing every vital thing you can think of for two adults, a Corgi, and a Yorkie into a 1988 Mercury Cougar to embark on a two day trip to Tampa Bay, Florida.
We decided to go to Tampa for three reasons, the roads north were packed, my wife had family there; most importantly, if the storm were heading North, I wanted to go East.
Hey, it made sense at the time.
So here we were at night (we left for Tampa about 4 in the afternoon), somewhere on the far side of Lake Charles trying to get gas. To be honest, it was a madhouse. Cars in line to get to the pumps, prepay only, the store was inundated with customers, and whatever concern the patrons had at this gas station was used up hours earlier.
When we finally got to a pump, the police were there. Later on, we heard that the police were on standby for any craziness that would erupt once the pumps ran out of gas.
So we fueled. We ate and walked the dogs and continued on our way.
The first major obstacle was getting past New Orleans. I have never seen barriers at an exit for a city that said “City Closed.”
And I hope never to see them again.
We found a highway that was open that went north of the Crescent City, and soon were in Mississippi and making pretty good time. We reached Tampa and my wife’s aunt’s apartment about sundown the next day.
Let me tell you, there is no funk quite like the smell of a hot car in September with two dogs and two adults. I felt like I could have showered for days to get the grime off.
Let me tell you one thing about my time with my wife’s aunt. Everything they say about crazy family members is perfectly true. After a month, I was so ready to get home that we turned a two-day drive home into a 17-hour trip home.
I will tell you there is nothing quite like driving with a Corgi and a Yorkie fighting for the chance to sit on your lap while driving. I had to pull over a few times to end the fight that was going on while I was trying to not hit another car.
Then, of course, there were the times of a Corgi trying to hoard all the food in the backseat for herself. And a Yorkie trying to bark at every Semi-Truck along the way. That boy had little man syndrome to the nth degree.
And that trip home brings me to the point of the story. You thought I forgot.
I did, but I went back to check what it was.
Somewhere between Tampa Bay, Florida and Orange Texas, my wife lost her wallet that contained all of her ID. Yep, Driver’s License, Social Security Card, even worse her Library Card, all lost at a stop along the way. So now in Orange in the aftermath of Rita, we needed to replace her ID so we could apply for some of the assistance programs that were available.
For those that remember, the Orange DMV was closed so the Beaumont one was our only hope. On the phone, they said a social security card or another form of ID was required. Since we did not have that, they wanted Franchesca’s birth certificate and marriage certificate.
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Franchesca was born in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Anyone who has seen legal documents from the territory will know that it is the opposite of other states. There the big words were in Spanish, with the translation into English in smaller italics.
However, in big images in the top left and top right are the flag of Puerto Rico and the flag of the United States.
I have much respect for DMV workers, they know that no one wants to be there, even they do not want to be there. But, all I ask is that you read a document before rejecting it.
My wife hands her the birth certificate. To which the lady looked at it for all of five seconds before handing it back.
“Sorry, we do not accept Mexican Birth Certificates as ID. Do you have your green card?”
Right here I put my arm protectively around my wife. One, to show that I love my wife very much but more than anything, to keep my wife from leaping over the desk and opening up an epic beatdown of the clerk.
I politely told the clerk that it was a Puerto Rican birth certificate and valid in Texas. At first, the lady was trying to argue that Puerto Rico was not part of the United States. Luckily, a State Trooper that had overheard the conversation, and in the Navy had been stationed there corrected the lady.
In a sense, that State Trooper may have saved the clerk’s life. My loving grip on my wife had gotten to the point that it was as strong as I could make it.
So, my friends, two things: make sure you keep track of your ID at all times, and secondly, Puerto Ricans do not like being called Mexicans
Till later, keep your coffee warm.