So August 6th was full of ups and downs for me.
I spent the morning working at school to prepare for new year and then I ran home for a just a minute to drop off my computer so that it wouldn't get hot in the car. When I got home, I was walking into the house with my hands full of bags, computer, lunch leftovers, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a huge black ribbon snake stretched out between the bushes looking up at me. (I have a history with big black snakes, I once found one stretched out across the doorway of the bathroom and I almost stepped over it...snakes give me the heebie geebies now.)
Upon seeing the snake with yellow stripes down his back, I immediately went into full freak out 'ohmyghosh there is an unexpected snake in my yard and I am super creeped out and my hands are full and I want to scream, but that is just dumb, but I am still freaking out ohmygosh' mode.
I wasn't sure what to do so I sent a text to my neighbor Kaanan and she sent Maynard over. Maynard walks into the yard talking on his blue tooth headset (on a work call) and he kills the snake with his shovel. It was a little gruesome but I felt like he saved the day, I was sort of a damsel in distress....
After an afternoon meeting, I went out with some friends for dinner. As I was finishing my sushi, I found a long, limp hair slithering across the surface of my plate. I couldn't take another bite.
When I got home from the dinner, I picked up a letter from the Department of Revenue. Hmmm. That is a little odd.
" On September 3rd 2009, your privilege to drive a motor vehicle in Missouri will be suspended for 30 days for an accumulation of traffic convictions. You are to surrender [your Missouri driver license}"
Haha...there must be some mistake. I have had 2 tickets in the last 3 years. One was for speeding in 2006 and the other was for running a red light in Duquesne. I paid them both. No big deal.
I open a second letter:
"We recently notified you that your privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for 30 days, beginning Sept. 3 2009. After your notice was sent, additional points were assessed on your record. The conviction changed your suspension TO A ONE-YEAR REVOCATION."
Conviction(s) we received and processed:
Careless & Imprudent
No Driver license
Traffic/Turn signal viol
Traffic/Turn Signal Viol
"After you are reinstated you will have to pass the written and road tests for a new license....and you will have to file an SR-22 with your local insurance company to show proof of financial responsibility."
Okay. Not funny. Someone has obviously made some sort of clerical mistake OR someone has stolen my identity. After reading the first letter, I thought it was sort of funny, wow someone is in serious trouble...the second letter must be a correction letter....But the second letter was worse. I am a teacher, I can't have my license revoked. This is madness. I am just a normal girl, minding my own business, la la la, I saw a snake today, and then WHAM!
My 'worst-case survival handbook: identity left" started to kick in. If my records indicate that I don't have a license, I can't even drive to the DMV to get a copy of my driving record...if I get into a wreck or get stopped on the way, I will go straight to jail--do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.
If someone has stolen my identity and points have been added to my record then this person when to court and plead guilty--pretending to be me.
A million fears started circling in my brain. Do I need to get a lawyer? What do I need to do first? Who would do this? I was awake until after 3:00 a.m. tossing and turning, worrying about how I will prove my innocence, going to court, fighting the state to clear my record.
This morning I made a phone call to some friends I have over at the highway patrol to report my possible identity theft. (Thankfully I used to work there and one of the troopers is now a detective and he happened to be in the room when I called). When they looked at my driving record only my 2 tickets showed up. The revocation wasn't in the computer. They suggested that I go down and talk to someone at D.O.R. So I head to the driver license office.
The woman at the counter told me exactly what they did and she printed a copy of my driving record. She told me to call Jefferson City and find out what was going on with these letters.
The state of Missouri has a very outdated system for storing driving records. The screen is an old black mainframe with green lettering. I asked the woman how these letters were generated....they were obviously from the same matrix, but now this info isn't in the computer? How is that even possible? She didn't know.
I called the D.O.R in Jefferson City. Carolyn answered after the second ring.
ME: "Hi Caroly, wow....I can't believe I got a human so quickly. I just had my driving record printed at the license office in Joplin and it reflects two tickets that I have received in the last 3 years. But I got a letter in the mail from your office stating that I have 7 tickets and my drivers license is being revoked for a year. There must be some sort of mistake."
CAROLYN:"What is your driver license number? And your name?..........Okay, yes, there was a mistake with your records but it was corrected on Wednesday so you can disregard the suspension notification."
ME: "Seriously, Carolyn...I thought my identity had been stolen, I am freaking out, I was going to get a lawyer......wow...um okay....can I get something in writing that says to disregard the first two letters?"
ME" "A letter will be mailed out on Monday."
So....I think killing that snake was a bad omen. Luckily nothing seriously bad happened. It was all a huge misunderstanding. I think MO-DOT punked me.