This morning found me sitting in a government office, using my divorce judgment and an application for a new Social Security card as bookmarks in a copy of “Eat, Pray, Love.”
Having turned myself into a hilarious divorce joke, I began to wonder where I would go if a publisher agreed to send me on a one year journey of self-exploration. Liz Gilbert went to three “I” countries: Italy, India and Indonesia. I’ve been to two out of three of her destinations. And I’m not sure going to the other side of the world holds appeal for me. But if I could go anywhere? Hmmm.
A number called out, “B211,” ended my reverie and began my fetch quest. “You won’t like what I’m going to tell you,” said the nice young man. The divorce judgment in my possession was not a certified copy. I needed to make a trip to the courthouse and have the Clerk’s office stamp the darn thing.
It was freezing downtown, freezing everywhere. I wondered why I was wearing a dress prone to static? Why I hadn’t thought to put on a hat? Why a lot of things.
I wrote a check for five dollars, wondering how much longer I can keep using these checks with what is now the wrong name. As long as people will take them? As long as they don’t ask for identification that matches?
I’m saving the Driver’s License for next Monday, after I have my hair done, because I want to look good in the picture. But meanwhile, I needed to register my car, with the old name, so that I can change the name on that next Monday, too.
LP, who is having exams, walked to City Hall from the high school, which is just around the corner. I stood in the basement hallway waiting for her, me and a homeless man, both getting in the way of people who appeared more purposeful, less vague. We got the car registered successfully. I remembered I need to go see the car insurance agent and change my name there, too.
There are a lot of things to change.
We went from City Hall back to the Social Security office. The nice young man said, “If you can come back today, don’t take another number, just sit down in front of my window and I will help you.”
But his shade was pulled down. I asked the security guard if he knew where the nice young man had gone? “He stepped away for a few.”
A few? A few minutes? Hours? Cigarettes? LP was hungry, and there was no sign of a quick return, so we came home.
Next: Annual physical and mammogram. I heard the things anyone my age might hear. Lose some weight and improve that cholesterol count. Mix up the exercise. Try the Lose It app for iPhone. See the dermatologist about that mole no one has ever, ever mentioned before. Plan on a birthday colonoscopy.
Oh, and try to get out more with friends. (But no pressure.)
About the mammogram, well, I wish I could say it’s nothing! It’s no big deal! Instead I’ll say, make your appointment. I did.
And that guy in the waiting room at the Imaging Center ranting about “Obamacare?” Could have lived without him. Could have used an active awareness of the advice for dealing with hostile people in the book I wrote about yesterday. Because where a person with a chronic illness feels threatened? Is in a conversation where people criticize health care reform.
On Visit #3 to the Social Security office, I found the nice young man sitting pleasantly at his counter with no one else to serve, and he made quick work of my application. I should get the new card in about two weeks. I’ll have the name I started with, if you don’t count my pre-adoption name, which they don’t.
From there I went to the bank, where I learned something fascinating. We are no longer our names. We are our Account Numbers. Nice Young Man #2 looked me up, typed in the five letters of my last name, and said it was good for all the accounts I’m on. Did I want a new debit card? He’ll have them send one. No big deal. He didn’t even examine the divorce judgment.
In the midst of all this, I have a plane ticket and a cruise ticket with the old name, because that’s the one that matches my passport. I’m grateful for the good advice not to count on having all the name changing done before the Big Event 4.0. It wouldn’t have been possible, and I would have been out of luck trying to get on the ship with my new/old/real/maiden/last/final name.
As for Liz Gilbert, she traveled with me through the day, and I’m engaged by her story. I don’t have the freedom to take off and explore the world. I’ll have to do my journeying closer to home, as the change errands continue. I’ll eat less, pray first, and…