There I was, doing my “adventure shopping” at Wegman’s, picking out some nice treats for me and the family when at the checkout I was refused the purchase of my alcoholic beverages because my driver’s license had expired. What just happened? I had to say goodbye to the Fox Barrel Perry, and the Goose Island Honker’s Ale. Doggone-it! My birthday (the expiration date) was three months ago, and I’m quite sure I have been carded since. Massachusetts in its infinite wisdom stopped sending license renewal reminder notices to its subjects to show that they were cost-conscious (they saved a million bucks), and it was never on my radar, unlike the other trappings of useless bureaucracy: a state inspection sticker on my windshield and a vehicle registration (there is also an excise tax on vehicles in Massachusetts that can interfere with all your renewals if you do not pay it). But wait a minute? The cashier still let me pay by credit card, which by rights should have a valid ID to corroborate the name on the card, right? So now you know my license is expired, but it’s ok as ID to run my credit card, but not to buy alcohol? Have I got that right? Not sure I could vote with the expired license (probably only if voting Democrat!).
Anyway, thanks to the vast powers of the internets, I find out that I am a criminal in our fair Commonwealth, and if pulled over for anything, I could be arrested and have my car impounded if the officer on the scene feels like it! I quickly tried to renew online and found that I couldn’t because my picture hadn’t changed in a while, and I need an eye test. Great! I printed out the application and was about to jump in the car and drive over to the RMV (conveniently located two towns away on a freaking toll-road). But then I thought, hey: wouldn’t they just cite me for driving with an expired license to get there? The vultures that run our state are always on the prowl, ready to squeeze some more bucks from generally law-abiding citizens. If I were an illegal immigrant , I would be welcomed with open arms, given food stamps, welfare, and probably a car of my own. Me? Fines. Potential for court dates. Oh, you have some weed on you at the DMV? Don’t worry about THAT , cuz that’s legal, too (provided you aren’t packing too much). Glenn Reynolds’ Ham Sandwich Nation is alive and well here in the Bay State – criminalization of everything in our society leaves a lot of room for prosecutorial discretion. I’m a rule follower and was very flustered by the whole thing today – in other words “easy pickings” for the revenue agents that run my state. People like me get rattled, and will show up and be honest, and be punished, while people knocking down old ladies for their prescriptions and various other criminals aren’t stressed out much at all. Would my Mom be disappointed? – “You’ve been arrested for driving with an expired license? I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in you. A common criminal. Let me finish this joint and I’ll come pick you up”. (Totally kidding there). The Cranky Hubby indicated that I am no worse off today than I have been for the last three months, except that now I know my license is expired. Damned rational lawyers! I punted on the whole thing, and will go to the RMV first thing tomorrow.
UPDATE: I boldly went to the local RMV to renew my license. Yeah, I DROVE there. There was no line (though I was still required to take a number), and I was called up to the desk right away. I gave the nice lady my paperwork, and looked at it, punched some things into the computer, and said “So what are we doing today?”. I said I was renewing her license and she said, “A duplicate? This license doesn’t expire until 2018, you’ve got a long time to go, sweetie”. Aghast, I looked at my license and sure enough – expiration date 2018. I am sooooo stupid. In my wallet were TWO licenses: the old one and the new one. I gave the Wegman’s cashier the old one, and the registry lady the new one. What a nuisance. She said, “I could take your money, but I don’t know if that’s what you really want”. So, I was not in fact a criminal, I was just stupid. As for my ranting about the RMV, I guess I am so together and on top of things, that I obviously renewed my license without a little reminder. I just happened to forget all about it. I guess the process must have been really easy, since I don’t even remember doing it. The Cranky Hubby said he was rubbing off on me, and closed with “Stupid is not a crime. You are free to go”.