Early Tuesday evening I drove to my local car dealership to get an oil change and a tire check that I’ve been putting off for well, awhile. Once there at about 4:30pm, I spoke with my technician and arranged for a loaner so that they could keep my car for the night. That’s when the trouble started. At the cashier’s desk I was astounded to find out that my license was expired. So astounded that when she said, “Do you have another one that’s not expired?” I thought she was talking to someone else. She wasn’t.
Chagrined and nervous by my illegal activity of driving with an expired license, I left the dealership post-haste and headed for the nearest DMV. I had 30 minutes in rush hour traffic to make it. On the way I called the DMV’s 800-number and waited a good 10 minutes before a real, live, human-being came on the phone. I told her my predicament, explained that I was on the way to the DMV, and asked why I hadn’t been sent my customary letter reminding me to renew my license by mail. She looked up my drivers license and explained. “Your license has been suspended since February 2008.”
I almost hit a parked car.
“What do you mean my license has been suspended? My license isn’t suspended!”
“It says here that you have had a suspended license since February 2008. If you’d like to clear this matter up, you’ll have to call Sacramento.”
I quickly did the math. I’d been driving with a suspended license for 24 months and never even knew it? “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” I asked her. “I never knew I had a suspended license.”
“Yeah…I don’t know. It says here they sent you two letters.”
“Trust me,” I told her. “I would’ve remembered getting a letter telling me my license was suspended.
Still en route to the DMV office, I phoned Sacramento. An angel named Tammy answered and together we got my license reinstated. Unfortunately, I had been sitting and talking to her while parked in the lot of the DMV. By the time I exited the call it was 6 minutes after 5pm and the security guard told me it was too late to mambo. Yesterday, I awoke with the pigeons and headed back. When I got there, there was a line of about 100 people wrapped around the block. The inside was already full as well. I took my place and waited patiently. Two hours later I left with a new ‘temporary’ license and my first deep breath in 18 hours. I was no longer a bad citizen. In the meantime, Tammy is investigating what happened and should get back to me within a week. A warning to the wise, don’t aggravate the po-po. Even though you might think you’re an upstanding citizen, you could be driving around for 2 years with a suspended license and not even know it. Or maybe that just happens to me.