In what wouldn't be considered shocking by anyone who knows me or has ever waited for me to update my blog (sorry), I am what I like to call 'selectively lazy.' I often have the best intentions, but I have this annoying habit of putting off today what I can totally do tomorrow.
In my defense, life is short, there are so many books to read, the laundry is unending and, well, anything that resembles work requires a commitment I'm just not ready to make.
This tends to drive my husband insane. It constantly shocks him what I will and will not do. Shovel out an entire flowerbed and replace all the soil, by hand? No problem. Answer the phone even though it's sitting next to me? No thank you. Clean the house from top to bottom? Of course, I am no slob. Pick up the mail? That would require energy I'd rather use to match sock pairs with, thank you very much.
I like to think I'm charming with my eccentricity but my husband would argue I'm annoying. It's that po-tay-to pah-tah-to syndrome. We're the yin to the other's yang.
Over the years, my husband and I have managed to find a balance. He picks up where I slack off and I manage what he doesn't want to, or can't. It's a balance and it all tends to even out in the end. Which was why, when he was last home, I was shocked when he told me I had to go and renew my vehicle registration. Myself.
He is upsetting the delicate eco-system my systemically lazy-self thrives in!
"What? You didn't do it for me? You always do it for me. I took the kids for their drivers' tests! I sat through 30 collective hours of drivers training! I pump my own gas! WE HAVE A SYSTEM BRUCE!"
"I know! I tried renewing yours when I renewed mine but there were FINES. And your registration expires today so you better get on it."
I tried acting shocked that there were FINES but my daughter helpfully remembered that time when I was caught speeding while taking her shopping and dammit, what good is it raising children when they won't contribute to any sort of plausible deniability you've tried to assert?
"All right, I'll do it myself. But the next child of ours who needs driver's training is your responsibility."
My husband ignored my tantrum and continued sorting through the mountain of mail I've ignored and left accumulating on the counter since well, forever.
"Did you know there are Christmas cards in this pile? I was beginning to fear we had no friends or family who love us. What is wrong with you?" he chuckled as he gleefully ripped into another holiday card three months past its prime.
"Mail annoys me," I huffed. I didn't have time for this. I had a vehicle to register, another broken hearing aid to get fixed and a medical delivery to pick up for Knox. And groceries! Someone has to feed all these people. Food doesn't find it's way into our pantry itself. Who has time to open mail? Send me an email if you require my attention. I'm busy being selectively lazy.
So off I left to run errands while stewing in annoyance that my day of leisure was being interrupted by the tedium of life.
Hearing aide brought in to be fixed: Check.
Medical delivery picked up at hospital: Check.
Groceries purchased: Check.
Chai tea latte procured: Check check.
As I was leaving the city my husband called. I listed all my accomplishments, proud I had finished all the errands required and could sink back into being selectively lazy once more.
"Did you renew your registration?"
So I turned around and headed to the nearest registries office I could find. Being a responsible adult is hard work.
There was no line up at the registry and I thanked the Universe for small miracles as I walked up to the lady behind the counter and passed her my insurance and registration papers. "I need to renew my registration please."
"I need to see your driver's license." Right. It had been a while since I've done this. I dug out my license and handed it over. She looked at it and then looked up at me.
"Your license is expired."
"What? No way."
"Yes," she said as she counted off fingers. "Over FIVE months ago."
That moment, right then and there? It's what I refer to as a 'wet your pants' moment. She pulled out a desk calendar and flipped back and counted months and days as I held my breath and prayed to every Deity known to mankind.
"You're lucky. If you had waited a few more weeks, you'd have to jump through quite a few hoops to get your license back. Did you not get the reminder statement sent to you in AUGUST?"
The stack of unopened mail sitting on my counter flashed before my eyes.
I mumbled something and readjusted my toque and smiled winningly at her. I would admit to nothing.
"We will have to renew your license as well as your registration. And it appears there are fines which will need to be paid too."
"Yes, yes, of course." Shame and embarrassment coursed through me and I could feel nervous sweat trickle down my body.
(Side note: Those fines? Turns out they were all my HUSBAND'S. How do I know? Because they were all photo radar fines from places he's worked and I've never been too. While driving a car also registered in my name. Booyah. Score one for this lawbreaker.)
"You'll have to follow me. We need to update your photo."
"Um, can I keep my hat on?" I asked hopefully, knowing that I had two-day-old hat-hair hiding under my toque.
"I'm sorry, no. But we do have a mirror you can use if you like." Great. So I can see the rat's nest I'm about to have immortalized. Helpful.
I took my toque off and tried fluffing my hair but I could see the lady try and stifle a chuckle. Surely this was punishment for letting my license lapse so long.
"You'll also need to remove your glasses."
"But the glasses are my best feature! I'm not wearing any makeup."
"Well you can smile, but you aren't allowed to show any teeth."
So I swallowed hard, took off my glasses, refluffed my hair and hoped for the best.
The lady looked at my photo, and for the first moment in our encounter, offered me some sympathy. "We can retake the photo if you like."
I walked over and looked at the computer monitor. A greasy ugly triple chinned slightly drunk looking terrorist looked back at me. This photo makes my passport photo look like a super model.
Artistic rendering of what actual photo looks like. Only picture it WORSE.
I looked at her, and then remembered I'd been driving without a license, for FIVE months, with CHILDREN in my vehicle, and I stuffed my hat back on and put on my glasses.
"No, this will be fine. It will be my own personal hair shirt every time I look at it."
I got home, still slightly damp from sweating bullets and retold my story as I put away groceries. "At least I'm good for another four and half years before I need another license!" There is a bright side to everything, no?
My husband nodded as he passed me more groceries and then asked, "But did you remember to pick up the mail?"