I have now embarked upon what may well be one of the most infuriating tasks any American will ever experience.
Despite the fact that we are all Yanks, moving to another state is like moving to another country. Everything needs to be changed. Officially changing my address with the Postal Service was the first and easiest step--I filled out a form online, paid $1.00, and my address is now officially the new apartment.
Yesterday, I took the morning off work to go and get my New York drivers license. I had originally hoped to get the license and car registration out of the way on the same day, but in order to get NY car insurance, I need a NY drivers license first. And in order to get the car registered in NY, I need NY car insurance.
This country is just WINNING at efficiency.
So yesterday morning I drove to Port Jervis to the DMV, because the only other one nearby* is in the ghetto. The previous day, I had gotten all the necessary forms off the New York DMV website, and checked to make sure I had enough points of identification--according to their website on Wednesday, I would be okay with my NJ drivers license, my passport, and a bill with my name on it.
After a short wait at the DMV (a room in Port Jervis's municipal building, roughly the size of my living room), I was told that since the government had been switched back on that morning, the ID requirements had changed. My NJ license, passport, and bill were no longer satisfactory--I needed either my birth certificate, or my social security card.
(My mother lost my birth certificate shortly after she received it back in 1984. The last time I tried to get a new one issued, the New York Health Department informed me that they could not find it. We'll get back to that.)
Fuming, I raced back home and proceeded to search through my belongings for my social security card. I also texted Boss and explained the situation, and said I was just going to take the whole day off to get this over with. He said that's cool. I found my card after like an hour of searching, and drove back to Port Jervis.
I actually had a much shorter wait this time, but then when the nice lady behind the desk was entering all my info into the system, she seemed to hit some kind of road block. She called the manager over, who tried to help. The manager got on the phone with someone and was making that frowning face that says "This is not going to end well."
Manager, it turns out, was on the phone with the Social Security Administration, attempting to verify my information.
Long story short, I no longer exist.
The Social Security Administration accidentally erased me.
By then, it was around 2.30 in the afternoon. The ladies at the DMV said I should go to the Social Security office in Newton, NJ (because the other nearby one was in the ghetto) and have them sort it out there. If I could get back to Port Jervis before 5, they said they would bump me to the front of the line so I could get my license.
So I drove to Newton, to the Social Security office.
I got there at about 3.15. A sign on the door said that they had closed at 3.00.
I could do nothing but admit defeat and go home.
138 miles of driving. More than 3 hours in the car. A personal day off work.
ALL FOR BLOODY NOTHING.
And to top it off, I do not exist.
So I bought myself some cheap wine and went home. Dadum brought me pulled pork and fried onions from his work, which cheered me up some. Lil Bros #1 and 2 came over, too, which was nice.
This morning, after getting into work, I called the Social Security Administration to inquire as to WHY THE FUCK I am no longer in their system.
While on hold for half an hour, I thought I might try and create an account on their website, which apparently anyone can do. I entered all of my correct information (name, birth date, social security number, etc.) and received this message:
Just to make sure, I had the secretary next door create an account for herself. She did not have a problem.
When I finally got someone on the phone, they managed to find me in their system, BUT they said the information I gave them did not match what was in said system.
Basically, because some imbecile made a typo at some point, I need to (1) get a copy of my birth certificate and (2) make an appointment to go to the Social Security office and sit down with someone so that I can (3) apply for and acquire a new social security card.
How exactly did I manage to go 29 years without running into this problem? How was I able to procure a driver's license in NJ at age 17, and then again at 21, and AGAIN at 25?? How did I manage to get multiple passports between 1984 and now?!? How did I manage to become employed, and PAY MF TAXES, and yet that magical number they use for all of those things does not match up with my info??!?!?!?!?
I just shelled out $30.00 to order a new birth certificate from the State of New York. I recall doing this several years ago, when I wanted to get an Irish passport. And I also recall being told that the State of New York could find no record of my birth. (And that $30.00 is of course non-refundable, even if they don't give you a birth certificate.)
If that happens again, the Social Security Administration will not meet with me to fix my information, which means no new social security card, and no NY drivers license, no NY insurance, and no NY car registration.
If that happens, I have a good mind to stop paying all my taxes, because why in holy hell should I be paying taxes to the government when, according to all relevant government agencies, I do not exist??
To be continued....
*Out here in the boonies "nearby" is a relative term. It generally takes an hour to get anywhere.