Wednesday, March 17, 2010
So it’s been, let’s see, 5 months and counting now since I’ve seen my driver’s license because of that damn ticket. And we’ll recall that my phone call to the test-taking facility produced the information that oh, my license should have been sent back to me right after I paid the fine, i.e. months ago. And he gave me a number to call to check up on things – the number to the dreaded Daley Center, of all places, aka Bureaucratic Hell.
Of course, I put off calling, waiting until the day I’d be able to handle the ensuing maddening conversation without breaking down completely. In the meantime, I played out the whole scenario in my mind – umm, just like the game theory I learned at Wharton, yeah, that’s it. Where you picture what’s going to happen so that you know how you’ll react and will be prepared. So I had looked up how much it cost to get a new driver’s license when it’s lost, felt my blood pressure rising as I imagined the conversation in which an apathetic county worker told me my license was mailed out months ago, it must have gotten lost in the mail, and oh well, too bad, I’d have to shell out more money to get a new license, and then wrote in my head my indignant letter to those “problem solver” people in the newspapers to see if they’d look into my tale of woe.
This was what actually happened:
(after making my way through automated phone hell to talk to a real person)
Me: I’m just trying to figure out what happened to my driver’s license.
County lackey: Let me look that up – it shows that you completed the driver’s ed course...
Me, working myself into a state of righteous indignation: Right, and I know you're going to tell me that you mailed out my license mon.......
CL:.....and your court hearing date was March 10th, so.....
Me, voice rising: ...ths ago, and you have NO idea where it could be and....wait, court....what?
CL:.....and that means you should be getting your license back in 2-3 weeks.
Me: There was a court date even though I finished the course on January 29th?
CL: Right, but then they still have to have the court date, because not everyone takes the class.
Me: But my licen....
CL, barreling on: So they have the court date and then dismiss the case if you took the class.
I keep trying to get a word in edgewise so that I can ask about this notion that they should have sent the license after I paid the fine, back in October, but it’s impossible, so I decide a little faith is called for. 2-3 weeks it is. I hope.
Then, flush with success, I decide to tackle my other nemesis: the IRS. Here I’ve been getting letters from them saying their reviewing my case, sorry for the delay and inconvenience, blah blah blah. For months. And then a couple of weeks ago I get a letter saying oh, you owe us this huge chunk of money, pay up or else. Huh? This is back where we started way back when, like they didn’t even look at anything I sent them. This is giving me heart palpitations and sleepless nights, so finally I call them.
After 40 minutes on hold, I get a live one on the line. A guy who’s not friendly exactly, but more brusque and no-nonsense. Which turns out to be not a bad thing, as I explain what’s going on in my best “I’m not a scofflaw, I swear, I’m just a dumbass” voice, and try to keep my usual, umm “salty” language to a minimum.
IRS guy: So this last letter, what did it say?
Me: Just the part about me owing them money.
IRSG: But what else does it say?
Me, nervous, not wanting to annoy this guy who has my fate in his hands: Umm, nothing, really, just some boilerplate about how they define the penalties, but nothing specific.
IRSG: No explanation on how they came to this conclusion?
Me: No, really, I swear, that’s it! For the love of god, you have to believe me!
Nothing like a little melodrama to strengthen your case, I always say. He goes back and forth, checks this and that, and finally decides the following:
IRSG: So they sent you these letters for months saying they were working on figuring this out, and then they send you a letter where it’s clear that no one did anything about your case or even looked at anything you sent them.
Me: That would appear to about sum it up.
He decides that’s ridiculous, and bumps up my info to someone else who’s supposed to call me at some point. I hope. If they instead decide to put another freeze on my bank accounts, that noise you hear will be the sound of my head exploding, once and for all. I wonder, if I send employee #71928471901 a bundt cake, will that help my case at all? Maybe?
On another note entirely, it looks like I’m getting together a posse of people (okay, a posse of 2, JoJo and Kim) willing to do the Hooters to Hooters half-marathon with me next year. I have no idea where this thing is or what’s involved other than running, but I want that race t-shirt:
Plus as my dear YSC friend Kim put it, “we’re the REAL Hooters girls....or fake Hooters girls.....or whatever, no one knows Hooters like we know Hooters.” Damn straight, baby – couldn’t have put it better myself.