Monday, November 15, 2010

Such a Simple Thing

We left the house this morning with only a few goals to achieve: drop the car off for an oil change, go to Mass, apply for a Concealed Weapons Permit. After a productive morning we were going to stop for lunch as a reward. Simple, right?

I had already taken the online course, which was over an hour of material that has been hammered into my head since childhood and a 20 question test of common sense. (I got all 20 right. Go me!) I had printed a copy of my "diploma" and had it with the application form which I'd also printed and filled out. We were all set.

Objective 1: Drop Off Car - ACCOMPLISHED

(No problems with this one, despite morning rush hour traffic and the crazy drivers who slept through their alarms or had to run home and change after spilling coffee down their front leaving Starbucks.)

Objective 2: Get to Mass On Time! - . . . ACCOMPLISHED

(This one involved a great deal of complaining about the streets of Richmond and their inability to go straight, or even anywhere near where you're trying to go. But we persevered and managed to make it on time.)

Objective 3: Apply for CWP

3.a. Get Application Notarized

3.b. Fingerprints at the County Police Headquarters

3.c. Turn in Application at the County Courthouse

It was discovered as I filled out the application that we needed to get it notarized. No problemo! We headed to the bank right after church and they fixed us right up. Yay! Aren't we productive? 3.a. - ACCOMPLISHED! We're on a roll!!

As we waltzed through the doors of Police Headquarters to accomplish Obj. 3.b., we found ourselves in a small, bulletproof glass box which constitutes the lobby while they renovate their real lobby. We stated our business and were immediately told that I needed two forms of I.D.: driver's license as well as social security card, or voter's registration card, or passport . . . etc. The first one was no problem, but I didn't have the second one. So with tears in our eyes we headed back to the truck, grumbling and whining about bureaucracy.

The county we live in is a very odd county - it's shaped like a horseshoe. Of course, the police headquarters and the courthouse are practically next door to one another, but we live on the complete opposite side of the horseshoe, so it was no small matter of jaunting home and skipping back. Since we had to make this extensive trek, we went ahead and rewarded ourselves with Mexican food for lunch. And since VA is such a wonderful state, I was able to carry open while we drowned our sorrows in refried beans and rice. Made the whole experience a little more bearable.

Once we made it home, we loaded up my wallet with every form of I.D. I had short of my birth certificate (which wouldn't have fit anyway) and jumped back in the truck to make our way back. This time, I was able to hand the man my identity in the form of two small cards and he seemed happy with that. So he handed me a form to fill out, which I did and then we got to sit and wait, feeling more and more like we'd been banished to the Group W bench. But at last the lady came for me and I was allowed through the locked doors into the maw of the beast. The final ordeal took all of two minutes, and now, enshrined in some computer folder is a study in black and white of my fingerprints.

All right! Objective 3.b. - ACCOMPLISHED!! Let's get this thing over with!

So we went to the courthouse, managed to find a parkingspot despite the overabundance of cars in every lot surrounding the place. Then we began the methodical stripping. Guns - in the lock box. Pocket knives - in the console. Belts, belt buckles, keys, and all other metallic objects out of pockets and into the truck. Despite my forethought, I completely forgot about my watch. Oh well, just dump it in the bucket with my wallet, right? Guy running the show at the metal detector wouldn't let me. "We don't need your watch, you can keep that."

OK, whatever. So I had my watch in hand, rings on my fingers, glasses on my face, clips in my hair, and my Miraculous Medal around my neck. Wouldn't you know I beeped like a dump truck in reverse when I walked through the stupid thing? And did they make me take off my boots to prove I didn't have a knife, gun, or bomb in there? Nope. Did he even try to use the wand in his hand? Nu-uh. He made me turn around so he could see that I didn't have a gun strapped to my belt. How thorough.

Anyway, once we made it through that little circus ritual, we headed upstairs to the Circuit Court Clerk's office. Lady checked my application, my "diploma", the form from the Police Department and photocopied my driver's license. Then she charged me $50, gave me a receipt and told me to have a nice day. Objective 3.c. - ACCOMPLISHED!

So the errand began around 10:00 in the morning and didn't end until closer onto 3:00 in the afternoon. "And I had to pay $50 and fill out the garbage" all so that I can practice a basic human right that is protected by the Constitution. Yeah, yeah, I'm whining, I know. So I'll end on a happy note: Boy! That lunch was yummy!