Wednesday, August 15, 2007
To my loyal reader (thanks so much, Arielle):
After two years of being a nomad, I've settled into my office at Suffolk and our home in Cambridge. Just about everything is unpacked. The computer works. I have re-shelved books that have not seen the light of day since June, 2005. There's permanence in the air. (This is not an exaggeration. When I walked into the office, I had this overwhelming surge of emotion.)
I'm here in a great suite whose members include Elizabeth Trujillo, just arrived from Detroit, and Jessica Silbey, law and culture maven extraordinaire. I am afraid, however, I have raised the decibel readings.
Just to keep this mildly on topic, one of the things I did Monday was to have my driver's license changed at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, as it is called here in the State of Fredonia (the name being changed to protect the innocent). I had an experience that must be similar to what lay people feel about the rules of evidence. To get your driver's license, you need four pieces of identification, one with a signature, and something that proves you reside in Fredonia. For some reason unbeknownst to me, a bank statement sent to your home qualifies for the latter, but a paycheck stub with the same information does not. I had my Indiana driver's license, my passport, a forty-five year old original of my Social Security Card, my Suffolk id card, and the aforementioned pay stub. I waited in line for the de rigeur forty-five minutes, got all the way through the process, had my picture taken, and then the clerk (very nice, by the way) told me my pay stub didn't qualify. A manager came over. He said, "that's no good; it's just a pay stub." I wasn't sure what the difference was, hypothetically speaking, about lying to a bank about where you lived, versus lying to your employer. In fact, it seemed to me the pay stub was more reliable, since it was REAL MONEY that got mailed to me.
Now I did manage to secure a Fredonia driver's license due to another piece of data that I happened to have in my bag, which was a bank account statement that had my name, but was addressed to my office in the law school. So the state was willing to issue me a driver's license showing that I reside in my office. Hmm. Stand in line again or take the driver's license? What would you do?