So I have mentioned several times that although I am normally a very dependable person, I have a wildly irresponsible streak when it comes to anything related to driving. This week my inability to make it to the DMV finally had a chance to bite me.
Almost six months ago I lost my drivers license and had to get it replaced. The new one was supposed to arrive in two weeks but two weeks had stretched in five months and it has yet to arrive. I made one call to the DMV and they said it must have gotten lost and I should just go to my local office and get yet another one. But instead of doing that of course, I just worry occasionally that some underage kid with brown hair and brown eyes is out there having a far more fulfilling nightlife than I am with my ID and totally forget to get myself to the DMV until moments when there is no way I can go.
Moments like Thursday afternoon as I was driving to the airport to go to Atlanta. I have a passport and an interim license so flying has not been a problem for the last little while. But I haven’t need to rent a car on any of my work trips this year, a fact I didn’t really think about until I was about 10 minutes from being late for my flight. I dug out the temporary license and oddly enough, it isn’t good indefinitely. In fact, it was only good through April 8. So I made two panicked phone calls to the Enterprise car rental counter in Atlanta and the California DMV. Enterprise thought maybe the DMV could fax them some sort of proof of license and the DMV thought perhaps I could give them a call when I arrived and sort it all out. Neither option seemed particularly promising but since I had no time to stop at a local branch and no choice but to get on the plane, off I went. I rehearsed my story the whole way to Atlanta. I was convinced that when I was able to present my interim license I could get them to see that I that I was indeed a legal driver and that obviously, when you get a temporary card, it’s because yours is on the way and mine was just sitting at home. They could put my number in the computer and ta-dah, I could be on my way to my hotel 45 miles from the airport at 10:30 on a Thursday night.
Things looked good when I got to the ATL. There was a nice, young male at the counter. Nice young males are sort of my specialty so I turned up the charm, “I have a little problem and I’m just really hoping you can help me…” I have no problem using my flirting talents in such situations. The guy at the counter was sympathetic. But unfortunately, a little useless. So he sent me to the main operations center to talk to his manager. I crossed my fingers on the way over. Bingo, the manager was a late twenty something guy who seemed pleased to see that the problem customer was a young female. I presented my case. I walked him through the logic of an interim driver’s license and how clearly, CLEARLY, I was a legal driver. But he was adamant that he needed an actual card. I obviously spend too much time in cyberworld because it seems stupid to me that there isn’t a way for car rental agencies to look up a license. If computers can access my bank account in Utah to use my debit card in Switzerland, I just figured Georgia could ask California if I know how to drive. But I wisely decided that Mr. Enterprise was not the one to blame for this clear lack of technological prowess.
So there I was, at 10:45 on a Thursday night, in the Atlanta airport, with no rental car. What is a girl to do?
I’ll tell you. She calls Atlanta Bev the rock star who comes right to the airport and picks up her sad little illegal driver. She showed up, we went to grab her pajamas and then she drove me out to the hotel where we stayed up way too late laughing and catching up. There is very little in this world that is as comforting as a close friend. I travel all the time all by myself to places I’ve never been. And I am used to it, and I’m really OK with my own company so I rarely get bored or lonely. But I’m standing at that rental car office, waiting for Bev-who does not even hesitate to come when I call her-and I’m thinking about all the years we have been friends and all the times she has been there when I need her. From inspiring me to be brave and move to California to her calm influence at the event we worked the very day we met, to listening to way too many dumb boy stories and always having the right advice, she has been a completely unselfish and supportive friend for seven years. Seeing her face at that unfamiliar airport in an unfamiliar city and immediately slipping into the easiness of a friendship that is that old and dear filled up a little void I hadn’t even noticed was there. I went into work with her the next day and it was just like our old days on the 18th floor.
This was a good work trip and a nice intro to Atlanta, but mostly it was a nice refuel for my little soul before the big race this weekend!