First, the back story.
Sometime in May, I was taking Keaton to school per our usual routine and I ran the stop sign in our subdivision. In my defense, I drive past that stop sign every single morning, and every single morning I meet a kid on his bike. So, I was watching carefully for my little biker friend and I apparently didn't stop for the full three seconds. I'm guilty, so I just complained a lot and took the online defensive driving course. I finished it last Monday, and the certificate is in the mail.
Back story, part two: The State of Texas has decided that all people certified by the State Board of Educator Certification must be fingerprinted since we're likely to all be criminals. I suppose if I steal a Gatorade from the cafeteria, they want to be able to prosecute me to the fullest extent of the law. Our district just went ahead and scheduled everyone, and my June 15th scheduled appointment was when I was in Huntsville doing training (for school, of course). So I was told I could just pop in to the fingerprinting lady sometime during the two weeks she was here.
Okay, now for the actual story. I decided to step out of summer school one day to run across the street to get fingerprinted. My friend wanted to go at the same time, so she got me from summer school, I let my teacher partner know I was going, and we ran off to quickly do our patriotic duty. There was a student taking a final exam, but I knew we'd only be gone a minute and probably be back before he finished.
Only it wasn't quick. We got stopped on the way out of the building several times. Finally, fifteen or twenty minutes later, we arrived at the designated location to donate our prints to science. There were two or three people ahead of us, but my friends knew I was in a hurry, so they let me go first in our little group.
I got back to "the room" and a very scary lady told me to sit, then began signing and stamping papers at a pace I have heretofore not witnessed. Just as I got comfortable in my chair, she barked, "Do you have a license that's NOT EXPIRED?"
"No," I whispered in shame.
She yelled, "THEN GET OUT YOU IDIOT AND DON'T COME BACK UNTIL YOU'RE A LEGAL DRIVER IN THE STATE OF TEXAS! YOU'RE NOT STEALING ANY GATORADE FROM US YOUNG LADY!!!!!"
Okay, she didn't really say that, but it felt like it. My license is expired because it's time for me to go have another picture taken. Even though I much prefer the 32 year old me to the 21 year old me overall, the picture of the 21 year old me on my license makes me perfectly happy, so I put it off.
A few days after my humiliation, I decided to get my license renewed and then meet Trey for lunch. I drove all the way to the DPS office at their new location - practically in Oklahoma. When I approached the front of the line to get my number to get in line, the check-in lady informed me that they only take cash or check.
Really? Most places don't even take checks at all, but the State of Texas in the form of the Department of Public Safety can't take my debit card?
Frustrated but not beaten, I had lunch with Trey, got the checkbook, picked up Tucker, and drove back to Oklahoma. Patiently we waited. Finally they called number 51, and we were so close to freedom.
The lady renewing my license was very gentle, especially when she asked me to review my little stat sheet and I had to admit that I don't remember ever weighing 117 pounds. Maybe when I was seven.
Things went so well that I decided to go ahead and try the fingerprinting thing again. As I traveled carefully down a residential street, I passed a police officer on a motorcycle. It wasn't a big deal. Since my ticket last month and my subsequent drivers education course, I've been quite careful to follow all of the rules.
So I was very surprised when he pulled me over.
As the officer approached my window, he informed me that he pulled me over because my registration sticker expired in May. He was quite nice as he wrote my ticket, explaining that if I just renew my registration and take it up to the courthouse within ten days, the ticket will be dismissed.
After all, it will be convenient for me because I have to go turn in my driver's education certificate for my other ticket. It's like I'm a freakin' criminal. Or at least a repeat offender.
But I persevered, and let the mean lady roll my fingerprints this way and that on a magical computer screen, all the while wondering what type of student rage at me would result in me having to be identified by my fingerprints. Good thing someone has them, I guess.
When I got home, I immediately sat down at the computer to renew my registration sticker only to find that when it's expired, you can't do it online.
And the saga continues. Now I have to go to the courthouse to obtain the sticker that I have to take to the municipal court to dismiss the ticket, and while I'm there I have to turn in my defensive driving graduation certificate to dismiss the other ticket I got when I was innocently trying to save the life of a little boy on a bicycle.
Big Brother hates me.