Friday, June 5, 2020

Getting the Real ID

license bureau line
This morning we made our way to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get our drivers licenses. We are lucky in that our area accepts online reservations, so we picked the location that had the earliest openings. Jim secured the 9:30 slot, while I got the 9:50. It ended up that the office was probably the closest one to our house, so that was a plus.

Due to Covid-19 they are limiting the number of people allowed in the building at one time, but we were still surprised to see these kind of lines. Obviously they take multiple people for the same time slots. The unfortunate people up against the building did not have appointments, and theirs was going to be a long wait.

Our goal was to obtain the Real ID, a new license that complies with federal minimum security guidelines. While not legally required, without the Real ID you cannot board a plane or enter any federal buildings without showing your passport. That's not a huge deal as we have valid passports and don't expect to fly for a long time anyway due to the virus. But if we were going to stand in line, we might as well go for it. I had heard many horror stories from people who tried to get the new ID. Despite bringing what they felt were all the required documents, they were still rejected. In one case the husband used the paperwork and got his ID before passing them off to his wife. Her license agent rejected one of the documents that had been accepted in the husband's case. Everyone's advice was to take more papers than you need just in case.

I triple-checked everything we were bringing with the website, and the only sticking point I could see is that my social security card is laminated. That had been done by my employer 40 years ago, but apparently they don't consider your card valid if it is laminated. I was hoping it would fly through, but figured no big deal if I had to go with a regular drivers license.

When I was called to go inside the building, a man double-checked all my papers to make sure I had everything before he sent me to an agent's window. She looked it all over and said I was missing an insurance card. That was not listed as a requirement on the website, nor had the checkpoint man said I needed it. When you think about it, why must I own a car in order to get the Real ID anyway? At any rate, I wasn't concerned as I had brought our car insurance policy along as proof of my NC address. Unfortunately, it was the policy that had expired Aril 20th and not the new one. Crap! As luck would have it, Jim had just finished getting his license, and he was able to run out to the car for me and get the insurance card from the glove box. Whew! All the other papers were accepted with no problem, including the laminated card.

While we were not required to take a written test or a driving test since we both had valid licenses from another state, I was a little concerned about the sign test as people said it was a little tricky. I downloaded the signs from their website and we studied them. That turned out to be no big deal as most of the signs had the words printed on them. I was thinking, "Is this a stupid test or what?" The only ones without words were the no passing zone sign, stop sign, and upcoming railroad crossing sign (which is the one most people don't know or recognize, but I knew it from the website.) So, lots of worry for no reason, and I am now the proud owner of a NC Real ID, and am registered to vote as well.

JR Cash's Grill & Bar
We decided to go out to lunch to celebrate this little success. This is the first time we have eaten food that was not prepared by us since the lockdown began. We haven't even done carryout food. We went to JR Cash's in Mount Holly because I knew we could eat outside along the Catawba River. The waitresses were masked and gloved, and the tables were more than 6 feet apart. We were the only ones in the entire place for a bit, but it began to fill up. A lady at the next table over sneezed (no mask), and a young girl nearby sneezed twice (no mask). Is it asking too much for people to get up and move away from everyone if they have to sneeze? I don't think so, as you know when one is coming on. Thank goodness we were outside and that far apart, though I don't know if 6 feet is far enough. This is exactly why we haven't gone anywhere, because people can't be trusted. As much as I want to support local small businesses, it will be awhile before I want to eat out again.

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