How Not to Get a Tennessee Driver’s License

I’ve lived in Tennessee for three years and still carry my New York driver’s license. I know this is bad and wrong, but the picture is great. My work ID makes me look like a Molly Ringwald sidekick reject.

Wrapped up in the insult of turning 40 was the fact that the license expired. I’m willing to stretch the law by carrying an out-of-state license, but I’m not going to drive around without a valid one at all. I don’t know what happens to you if you get caught doing that.

So fine. About a week before my birthday I decide to go get my new license. (I did consider flying to New York to renew, but didn’t get my act together fast enough.) What do I need? Two photo ID: check. Old license: check. Proof of residence: check. Certified birth certificate or current passport: Oops.

As an aside: I discovered that my passport was expired when I flew to Chicago with it as my only ID. An expired passport does NOT count as valid ID for TSA purposes.

And where is my birth certificate? Heck if I know. We found everyone’s but mine. And we spent the whole week looking. So by my birthday I was without a valid license and just then calling the vital statistics folks in Ohio. Why didn’t I call right away? Heck if I know.

They were kind enough to get me a replacement very quickly. And so this morning I drove (don’t tell!) over to the DMV. I was so proud to hand over my birth certificate. Then the guy said, “Now I need your old license.” Uh…. Yeah. I didn’t have it and had no idea where it might be.

“I just had it!” is on my family crest.

I blamed Elliot, “Oh my gosh! My toddler was playing with my wallet. He must have taken some cards out.” Total lie.

I called Damon and whispered into my phone, “Help! Help! I can’t find my license. Can you look in my coat pockets/pants pocket/washing machine/couch cushions/refrigerator/any fool place I may stick something?”

Ultimately I admitted defeat.

The license has since been located and I will try again tomorrow morning.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. For your future edification and convenience, you don’t have to present ID to fly, but you do have to be willing to have your person and your baggage searched. You don’t have to identify yourself at any time, as it happens, because citizens are guaranteed the right to move anonymously about the country, as long as they are behaving in a lawful fashion. How about that?

    I don’t want to give up my license either, because the picture is so darn cute.

    Reply

  2. Fascinating!

    The TSA did wind up letting me travel. And actually, they were very nice about it. But it definitely slowed my progress through security.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Sarah on March 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I was recently detained on the NIH campus for forgetting to carry my small wallet, which contains my driver’s license. Oh yes, the NIH cops would let me onto the campus with the passport I was carrying — superfluous, I know — but they wouldn’t let me *leave* the campus because I would have been driving without a license.

    I begged and begged and begged, and finally they were willing to let me leave if I promised to drive *straight* back to my mom’s, where I was staying. But not before they called the Arizona DMV and BOI to make sure I didn’t have any outstanding traffic violations or warrants.

    I shoulda just blamed Elliot.

    Reply

  4. In PA if you’re a US citizen you need a certified copy of a birth certificate and a social security card to get a driver’s license or state ID. You need an active license or state ID to get a copy of your birth certificate or social security card.

    So you can imagine my conundrum when I went to get my license for the first time at 17, and my mother realized she’d long since lost my birth certificate and social security card.

    Reply

  5. I left North Carolina in December 1999 and flew to Asia. In a couple of months, I’m going back to North Carolina. Expired license, obviously. I’m going to renew it if I can. Thanks for scaring me. 🙂

    Reply

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