Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Arvo (Aussie Talk for "Afternoon")...

Yesterday morning was great. I went over to New Hope and gave a presentation on Australia to second and fifth graders (which can be amazing on your ego, since they gasp at every picture you provide that comes sliding or bouncing into your powerpoint.) There was lots of inquisitive and thoughtful questions, and one girl that was very concerned about me staying in an underground hotel for fear that the walls would fall on me while I was asleep (I was made to promise that I would check them each night before falling asleep). One of the fifth graders even taught me a little about Tasmanian devils because he had done a project on them in second grade. Then I ran some errands and picked up my favorite Chinese food from a buffet to eat for lunch when I got home. So the morning was a wonderful, marvelous, very good, no bad experience. I suppose that was it's purpose, to create a marked contrast to the afternoon that followed.

I don't know if it was my allergies, the fact that I got up so early, or the pound of Chinese vegetables and noodles I had consumed, but I ended up taking a nap after lunch. After I woke up, I was feeling groggy, but I knew I needed to wake up because my mother wanted me to attend a taco bar with her and some of her friends for dinner. In preparation before she picked me up, I re-did my makeup and do what I always do when there is a possibility I will be carded for purchasing margaritas or other spirits- I checked my wallet to make sure my license was there. It wasn't. In that second, my mind raced and I freaked. Don't I need my license to board that plane next week? How will they ever let me on the plane? Can I get a replacement this soon? It's Labor Day weekend! They are closed Monday! And NCDMV, in their infinite wisdom and foresight, has for some reason changed their rules so that the convenience of sitting and waiting for your license to be printed within ten minutes at the DMV office has somehow and for some reason been transformed into waiting at home for ten days for it to arrive by mail. I DO NOT HAVE TEN DAYS!!!

Frantic, I tore apart my room looking for that tiny card. The last time I remembered having it was on Saturday night when my mom and aunts and grandma and great aunt and second cousin took me to dinner. Was it possible that I drove around all week without it? I looked in the purse I carried that night, emptied the box I had been piling everything for Australia in, looked under everything in my room- no license. At this point, I was crying and almost hyperventilating. I called mom and told her to go without me, I had to find it. She offered to come help, but if I couldn't find it, I didn't think she could. Her and her friends stayed on hold with the DMV to find out what I needed for another license while I continued to scour the house and began trying to located my birth certificate in case I needed it. I turned on my netbook and tried to apply for my license online, but it required you to know your license number, which I didn't and I knew was incorrect on my checks, so I had no way of finding it out. My last chance was to go to the DMV and and request it in person. I couldn't find my birth certificate and didn't want to involve my father, so I grabbed my passport, hoping this would qualify and looked at the clock: 4:17pm. The DMV closes at 5pm. I needed to leave now.

On the way to the DMV, trying to drive as fast as I could to get there but to avoid attention and being pulled over since I didn't have a license, I got a call. It would be my mother I suspected, but no, it was Dad. Did someone tell him what was going on? I answered, figuring I would find him in the same emotional state that I was, which would not help at all. He told me that Grandma and Pop had checked the mail and my tickets for the plane were not in it. Great. More fabulous news. He offered to look up the AAA number for me to call, so while driving frantically to get to the DMV before 5pm, dad gives me AAA number to call and ask where my tickets are. So I called AAA and found out that because it was an online ticket, I would have to remember to log on 24 hours before my trip and retrieve the ticket. I texted dad to let him know so he wouldn't call me while I was in the DMV.

I got there right at 4:30pm. I walked in and looked around. The waiting room was full- not a good sign. I tried to sign in, but there was no sign in book. I felt the hyperventilate feeling rise again. Do they not take anyone new after 4:30pm? Was this it? Ignoring signs on the door not to come in until called, I opened the door to the testing and meeting room and asked someone who finally acknowledged me. They said they would be with me in a second. I sat down beside two people, trying to calm down and control my breathing. A man finally came out. He asked them what they needed first. The man explained he needed a replacement license because he was going to be flying soon and he didn't want the airlines to freak out- the exact same situation I was in. The man then asked me and I explained that I needed a replacement license. He said I would need 2 forms of ID. "Does a passport work?" I said. "That's one," he said. I shuffled through my wallet, offering college IDs and credit cards. He explained I needed something with my address on it. I happened to have a credit card statement. "That should work," he said, and handed me and the guy numbers. I talked to the couple, explaining I was in the exact same situation with them. The girlfriend, right as they were called, offered that she had lost her license before and ended up finding it less than a week later. They then disappeared behind the coveted door. I was finally called, approved for a new license, declared myself an organ donor, and had to straightened my frazzled and red eyed self up enough to take a picture that I would have to live with for a while. He gave me a temporary paper license to use until I got mine in the mail, so at least it was on the way. And I found out that all I would need to get on the plane was a passport, so at least that wouldn't be a problem. But since I wanted to drive some in Australia, I would have to have my parents mail it to me sometime in Australia.

I looked more throughout the night as I was packing for Australia, but no license. Then, right before bed, it happened. It's like something clicked in my brain. I hadn't even considered it earlier when I was searching my room frantically crying and hyperventilating. I knew exactly where it was. I pulled open my pool bag, reached into the side pocket, and pulled out my driver's license. Crikey.

So concluded my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But something I need to remember- I will have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days, even on my trip. And if this was a test, I crash-and-burn failed. I need to focus on remaining calm and breathing. I did not yesterday afternoon. Granted, if I needed my license to board the plane, it was good that I went and got the temporary ASAP yesterday, but my freaking out helped none, and even hindered the process of solving the problem. But I haven't done any of this before, and despite all the research I have done, there is still a lot that I do not know about this trip, so there is potential a lot of unpredicted things could happen. I just have to remember what Alexander taught me- terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days happen- even in Australia.

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