We’re all entitled to a little breakdown once in a while. Mine started when I lost my ID card. Well, no, it didn’t exactly begin there. The comedy of errors began the day my ID card expired, though I didn’t realize it was expired until five days later. That happened to be a Friday afternoon, and my husband was leaving for TDY on Monday at oh dark thirty.
Since we don’t live on base, it was mostly an inconvenience. I couldn’t go to the commissary that week, and I had to reschedule a doctor’s appointment since I couldn’t be treated without a valid ID.
After my husband returned, he filled out the necessary paperwork so I could renew my ID card on my schedule. The next day I took the magic paper to the pass and ID office, thinking all my troubles were over.
But they weren’t. Besides the paperwork, I needed two forms of government identification. Of course, my expired ID was no longer valid. All I had with me was my driver’s license. Why didn’t I think of that?
“If your husband was here, you wouldn’t need two forms of ID,” the young airman said brightly. Yeah, thanks.
I knew my husband couldn’t take time off that day. Also, the bright young airman informed me they had no open appointments the next day and would be closed the day after that.
The following day, I’d committed to help set up and serve a dorm dinner and later attend a scholarship awards ceremony at the club with my husband.
For the dorm dinner, I figured I could get a visitor’s pass to get on base. That afternoon, with two big pans of baked beans and my teenage son in tow to help with setup, I headed for the base.
Before I got to the gate, however, I discovered both my expired ID and my driver’s license were missing. I turned my purse and the car upside down to no avail.
Mentally retracing my steps, I thought I’d probably left them behind at pass and ID the day before.
After trying unsuccessfully to contact the team setting up the dorm dinner, I returned home with enough baked beans to feed an army, or a lot of airmen.
“Are you still going to go with me tonight?” my husband asked when he got home. He was giving the invocation for the awards ceremony at the club, where we had intended to meet up after the dorm dinner.
He planned to leave the ceremony after the prayer. I had planned to stay for the program. However, now we couldn’t go in two cars. I couldn’t drive myself to the base, being persona non grata to both the United States Air Force and the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
I thought it would be too awkward for both of us to leave early, so I stayed home. My husband left and came back an hour or so later.
“It turned out they had me sitting up front,” he said. “So I stayed.”
He sat beside the wing commander and his wife.
“I told them you were planning to come, but you had a crisis.”
“A crisis! You told them I had a crisis?”
“Why not? You’re human, aren’t you?”
“Well, yes, but I don’t want to be the person with a crisis, and you said you were leaving early. Anyway, this is not a crisis.”
So I did what any adult who is definitely not having a crisis does: I took an Advil and went to bed early, hoping life would look better in the morning.
It did. Losing all my vital identification and defaulting on my commitments was painful, but the only casualty was my pride, and what loss is that? Everyone makes mistakes.
Two days later, I went back to pass and ID. I took all the right paperwork — and my husband, just in case. My driver’s license was there, and now I have a new ID card.
Identity crisis over. I know exactly who I am. Human.
I also know exactly what we’re having for dinner: baked beans.