Saturday, February 23, 2008

National Identification

At the extreme eastern end of Golden Gate Park in the Panhandle, there is a huge commemorative statue to the assassinated President McKinley which I somehow have never noticed before, possibly because it's across from a building I'd never entered in my 30-plus years in San Francisco.

Because I haven't had a driver's license since the early 1970s, there was never any reason to go to San Francisco's Department of Motor Vehicles office, which has long been known as a legendary branch of hell on earth.

I've always used a United States passport for picture identification, but the document is about to expire and to have it renewed, you need to surrender the old one. I'm not particularly worried about having a passport to go to another country at present, since the American dollar is becoming more worthless with each day, but this would leave me without any ID to get on airplanes, not to mention all the places one is asked for a picture ID in our new national security state.

So I went to the DMV office to see about getting a California ID card and saw that the legends about the place were true. It really did look like hell. After about five minutes in the line with "non-appointments" people, I announced to everyone that I was leaving them to their sorry fate and was returning home to make an appointment. "Good luck, everyone," I said, and silently thanked my younger self for making the decision not to drive a car when I grew up.


Les said...

I lost the passport before my current one and this caused me no trouble. . . in 2000.

Months later, I found it. I'd never traveled with it, though, so it had no nostalgic qualities for me.

pjwv said...

My California ID card expired years ago, and I still haven't been able to bring myself to deal with the DMV renewal. It still gets accepted at stores, though not banks. But my passport is expiring this year, so I have to renew it for the same reasons you do, and I'm hesitating for the same reasons you gave. Good thing I'm too broke to get on a plane, I guess.
I love that the McKinley memorial just has a medallion of him on the plinth -- not one of our comelier Presidents, I guess. So much for McKinleymania!

janinsanfran said...

I think they've just clipped the foliage around that remarkable statue as I just noticed it too and I'm on Fell all the time.

You probably need a passport. Think about it. ...

sfwillie said...

That end of the panhandle used to be pretty mellow. There was a church across Oak Street that hosted peace groups way back when, and we'd take our meetings to the panhandle on nice days.

As kids my dad and his friends terrorized the place in, say, 1910.

I'm getting all fin de siecle-y.

Pierce said...

I went to the DMV a couple of weeks ago, boy it is a pain in the you know what going there, so many lines, so many buts in order to get a piece of paper.

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