Lost


There is no lost or found, only varying degrees of lost.
There is no lost or found, only varying degrees of confusion.

So, I lost my drivers license. Again. I lost it last year too, but it was so close to expiring that I just renewed and got a new license. Then I found the old one again, on the copy glass of my printer. Doh! So, I had two licenses, one old, and one new, but the old one expired December 31, so that was okay.

Until I lost my license. Again.

I looked everywhere, because I knew it would turn up. But it didn’t, so I had to go get a new one. I was dreading that line at the Drivers License place. The wasted hours. The disaffected shuffle.

“Oh, you can get an appointment online at that new place,” says KD, my ever-loving, always-helpful, long-suffering missus.

That new place, I thought. It’s not THAT new, but okay, yeah. Note: This should have started the alarm bells ringing. Maybe it did, but the tinnitus has been a bastard lately so I might not have heard it over the ringing in my ears and the sound of barking dogs, squawking birds, and KD being all helpful ’n’ stuff.

So, yeah, get up this morning to the sound of the pre-dawn chorus, bells, woofs, and KD coughing in the shower, and I think, let’s do it. I don’t much look like the Unabomber today, so make myself a cup of coffee, sit down, fill the form out online, and then set an appointment to go throw another $25 at Texas.

My appointment is set 20 minutes into the future.

So, I gulp my coffee, wave my hands at my hair, glance at the mouthwash, grab my keys and wallet, and go flying out the door. I had looked up the address, so I thought I’d put it into the navigation because, let’s face it, once I set that I can grab an extra 20 minutes sleep. Besides, I don’t go anywhere without the navigation these days. Every day I go to school. Every day I drive the same route. Every day, I set my nav for the destination. I dunno, I guess I no longer feel comfortable without the Nav telling me, “Turn here, turn there, slow down, speed up, not THAT lane you idiot, you drive like an old woman!” It makes me feel like my wife is with me.

But, the address isn’t in my car’s GPS. I am entering unchartered territory. It’s just like the Lewis and Clark Griswold Expedition. Whatever, I only have 20 minutes and counting. I gotta go. I push somewhere on the map where I think the address is and set start. Route Confirmed. The roads look clear, the sun is shining, and I have $25 in cash for my new license.

And I hit the freeway. Annnnnd, traffic.

Then my phone pings. “Your wait time is 12 minutes. If you need more time, text M.” Thankfully the traffic is frozen so I hit M and request more time. Dammit, I hope it doesn’t push me back a couple of hours.

Ping. “You have 20 minutes.”

Okay, so the traffic is finally moving, and I am on my way. 20 minutes? Yeah, should make it. No worries. Just head to roughly where the address says and… hold on. I don’t know where I am. What the hell is a Pfugerville anyway?

Ping. “You have reached the front of the queue. Please proceed to Station 6, Area A.”

Wat! That was the shortest 20 minutes since the last time I sat on the exercise bike!

“Your appointment is canceled. If you arrive within 60 minutes, respond J to rejoin the queue.”

Okay, so I’m lost somewhere in the wilds of Pflugerville, so I stop at a Walgreens and google the address and let my trusty phone guide me. After another 15 minutes cutting through brush and pacifying the natives, I see the sign for the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, which is approximately 10 yards from the building, on the opposite side of the divided, 4-lane highway.

Thankfully, my car panicked almost as much as I did and was able to make the turn across the 3 other lanes on just 2 wheels.

Success! And I managed to get here without picking up a speeding ticket, which would have been awkward because, you know, the only drivers license I have is my old, expired one.

Still a bit weird, though. I don’t recognize this building… Oh, is that a lightbulb! Maybe this IS new, and I was thinking of another place. And older place. Idiot!

I press J on the text message as I’m parking my car, ready to stroll in and claim my place.

Ping. “You have reached the front of the queue. Please proceed to Station 6, Area A.”

The fu.. Really?

So, I grab my wallet, the form, and $25 sweaty dollars. I try to flatten my wild Unabomber hair with my hands, but refrain from spitting into my palms to do it—one must maintain some sense of decorum after all—and fast-shuffle into the building. I quickly spot Station 6 and run from the knees down. And I’m handing over my form even before I’m sitting down.

Awesome, I think. I am truly awesome.

“I need a replacement license,” I say. “I lost my current one.”

“Do you have any form of ID?”

“Yes sir,” I say, and, somewhat sheepishly, I explain how I lost my license last year and renewed it, and then found it again, and that’s why I now have my expired license, which I am handing over to the clerk.

“That’s fine, sir,” he says.

“Thank you,” I gush. “Only, I feel so stupid losing my license twice.”

“It happens,” he says.

I nod appreciatively.

“But, sir,” he adds, “what exactly is wrong with this license?”

He holds it up, examining it at arms length.

“That one? That’s my old one. It’s expired.”

“No sir,” he says. “This one is current.”

And I look.

And it is.

And for some reason the ground refuses to swallow me up. Bastard!

I thank him, and apologize, and jump up from my seat like some weapons-grade moron.

“It happens,” he says. Again.

I leave the building, and find my car, which surprises me since I seem to have lost my mind, get in, and call KD. I explain what happened.

“Brain the size of a planet? Idiot!”

Still, be grateful for small mercies, eh? I start the car, press HOME on the Sat Nav, because obviously I can no longer trust myself, and head off back through the wilds of Pflugerville.

I still have no clue what happened, but now I can’t find my expired license, only my current, Ted Kaczynski one. Bastard!

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