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I had the bright idea on the coldest morning of the winter to go to the Arkansas driver's license office (Revenue Dept.) in Fayetteville to obtain my new photo ID, the one with the star. It can be used for federal identification while boarding an airplane. I figured, with the extreme cold (15 degrees), the wait wouldn't be long, right? Unfortunately, some other people had the same idea. As I took ticket number 84, I glanced at the board. They were serving number 44. Groan!

There were 56 seats in the waiting area. Forty people were ahead of me. But at least it was warm. No danger of frostbite while I sat waiting. I counted four clerks behind the counter. Each person needing help was taking about 10 minutes to process. I estimated I'd be sitting here waiting my turn for about two hours.

I could afford to be patient. My birthday wasn't for another three weeks, so I didn't need to be anywhere in a hurry. I decided to hunker down and impatiently wait as I slowly became -- albeit against my will -- more patient. If patience is a virtue, why did I feel frustrated trying to obtain it? After all, this was my fourth trip to this same office, repeatedly attempting to update my home address on my Arkansas driver's license.

On my first trip, I discovered that photocopies of documents were not permitted as proof of address: things like a bank statement, a utility bill, or vehicle insurance policy. Only the original forms are acceptable.

On my second trip, I discovered that my Social Security card was actually a color copy, not the original card. And I had laminated it. Not good. Decades ago, I'd cleverly filed away the original for safekeeping and kept a copy in my wallet. But I had outsmarted myself. I no longer knew where the original was located. So I left, went online, and requested a replacement card.

On my third trip, I found out that my pay stub couldn't be used as proof of identity because it only showed the last four digits of my Social Security number, not my full 9-digit tax ID number. I also learned that my Social Security form 1099 wouldn't help me because it still had my old address. I did have my certified birth certificate, which was good. But I still needed more. Then my new passport arrived in the mail just two weeks after completing the forms at the post office. I was amazed at how quickly it came, with no expedited process.

I finally worked the system properly. First, I made sure my vehicle property taxes were assessed and currently paid up. That process gave me a government-issued receipt from the revenue office with my new address on it. Using that, I was able to get a new driver's license showing my new address, but without the star. My new Social Security card arrived from our trusty postal system. Now, I was good to go, which brings me back to today.

Here I sit in the driver's license office still patiently waiting my turn. They are up to number 78 as I sit here writing this column on my laptop. I have my paperwork bundled and ready. I'm gripping it tightly. My activity app is telling me it's time to stand up and walk around. Good idea. My backside is getting flatter by the minute from this hard chair. My legs are stiff. My feet feel numb. Sitting is hard work. But I'm patiently waiting. I want my star!

• • •

Ron Wood is a writer and minister. Email him at or visit Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/06/2019

Print Headline: Waiting to be patient

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