Posts Tagged ‘DMV’

Home again

Dear friends and readers,

The temperature going down to freezing here; I’ve flowers in all three patches, white tulips, soft lavender, clumps of different flowerets and buds.

For these weeks I’m feeling I am moving in and out of peopled worlds in Pittsburgh and here in DC and Alexandria, where I abide. Who knew there were so many constantly reforming clouds of people. And then Izzy finds herself over the moon after several 10 hour days watching ice-skating at Junior World Championship in Boston.

For myself: Around Thursday noon I started off. So many miles. Thanks to my “garmin,” which talks to me with a bland American women’s accent, I had little trouble driving from Alexandria, Va to the Omni William Penn Hotel. The voice is most important at these transition moments when the highway gives out, you have to come off and drive through some series of low-cost gas stations, “family” food restaurants, and motels that have grown up precisely because this the highway gives out here. She tells you a few minutes ahead to bear left or bear right, cites the sign accurately, and with ease you get back onto said highway going in the right direction.

The route in the city reminded me of old highways in Brooklyn, and then I had simply to drive up a wide street, turn left twice and there I was, in front of the hotel. Nearly 5 hours each way. Homeward I worried intensely at one point because my gas was low and I had to realize that there were no on-highway gas stations. I got off said highway and nearby filled “‘er up,” and back on I went. I began to feel dizzy once I was near home, so got off the highway and found myself in a traffic jam around an accident.

This led me to stop off at Noodles and Company for a pasta dish to bring home; I downed it with Shiraz wine while watching yet another episode of the very well-done 1972 War and Peace scripted by Jack Pulman and the 2nd episode (Of 3) of the utterly inadequately adapted Dr Thorne, scripted by Julian Fellowes: a friend has likened him to Popplecourt; it’s as if Popplecourt were explaining Trollope’s art to us. I’ll write about this film adaptation separately too: coming to and going from I had listened half-way through Trollope’s Dr Thorne as read dramatically well by Simon Vance. I collapsed into bed, by that time my pussycats staying close by.

I had a good time while there: it was rejuvenating to go to sessions filled with varied intelligent talk and papers on new aspects of a subject matter I’ve spent my life reading about, studying. I’ll write of these separately. I was at two nights of receptions. I renewed old friendships during the first night’s dinner and first day’s lunch


40 years on Robin Ellis returns as the deeply reaction Halse and Aidan Turner defies him (2015, scripted by Debbie Horsfield)

My paper, “Poldark Rebooted: 4 Years on” went over well; the three other papers were from different points of view and done differently yet all linked as about recent TV and movie films (Outlander among them). The audience was not too small and we got good questions. The second night I seemed to gravitate towards the Burney group, and spent the second night’s dinner time and the next day women’s caucus with them. I can’t say I participated in intellectual political talk (as I do regularly now at the OLLI at AU in DC), but I did hear about local politics in different places from friends as well as happenings among books and writers and coming conferences (at Chawton). What people were working on, their topics of special interest and told of mine. One woman on sabbatical reading Burney’s manuscripts in the NYPL, living in Brooklyn for the year.


The William Penn Omni hotel is a beautiful building: art deco central hall or lobby downstairs, and the grand ballroom beautifully carved. It was the second time I’d been there: before with Jim I arrived at 11 at night and remember we got a meal!

As a memento I found on sale Norma Clarke’s probably highly readable biographical Brothers of the Quill: Oliver Goldsmith in Grub Street — its cover takes the left-hand side of Hogarth’s picture, enrichens the browns and yellows, suggestive of Grub Street life.

William Hogarth, The Distressed Poet (1736)

The experience occurred in the context of the two OLLIs, going to the Jewish Community Center, Smithsonian, the Folger, so I felt how I enter into and float out of differently peopled worlds. How different this is from the way I lived by Jim’s side. It’s like a quiet merry-go-round or roundabout. You get off and find under this pavillon a set of numerous people having adventures, stay and talk in whatever form is appropriate, then you go back to the path towards the merry-go-round and get on and off at another place. Interesting and informative discussion over lunch at Temple Baptist Church (one of the AU OLLI locations) by a retired lawyer and an economist about the importance of the supreme court, how much of US civic life corporations through their control of media is being poisoned.

But how and why do all these people keep it up? Cheerfully too. I feel so aware of these worlds’ fragility. That’s the strange and built-in dangerous thing: the necessary disconnect between casual friends and other people all the while you renew what you can or just have fleeting good talk. Here’s a question: how do you define friends?

Outside Izzy’s window in Boston: celebratory and commentating snow ….

Izzy had taken a 10 hour train trip to Boston via Amtrak. She had a long trip there and back and there was an accident at Philadelphia the day before she came home. No money in the US for public transportation. Fortunately her trip back was only (only) 40 minutes longer, so it took 11 hours. But she was comfortable the whole time. A decent seat, decent enough food available (real sandwiches with people to serve it), free wi-fi. She was not continually photographed or scrutinized as in a airport. She did not have to sign up for “paid privileges” which allow a cell phone or ipad to work, and separately for any music or movies (as in abusive airplanes).

She stayed in a hotel in Boston, from the which there were trains each day going back and forth from hotel to convention center. She found herself coming back to the hotel with the same people each night. Her day sometimes started after 10 or 11 or once noon. She often returned at 11 at night, once much later.



She got herself to the Museum of Fine Arts twice (it was a stop on her train), and explored the first floor. She said it was huge:


She saw a sign outside “to the Isabella Gardner museum,” but did not have the time for it. She walked in the city commons, on three different mornings, and late in the evening ate in different places around her hotel room, mostly Italian restaurants. Those nights she did return early it was very cold out; her window high and the winds strong. So she stayed in with her ipad and books.


Since she had the same seat for all but one day (as did most others), she sat behind the same group most days: British women who talked to one another and briefly to her too. Her sense of ecstasy as she watched and watched and the experience mounts she captured in a phrase she used to my question, “How’s it going?” “I’m over the moon.”

Miss Drake

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Dear Friends and readers,

At dance fusion workshop this morning and a couple of weeks ago, this song came up and we danced to it. I was there for the first time in 2 weeks, and though the song was still part of the routine, the teacher had mysteriously dropped four Beatles’ songs part of this particular set. The song bought back unspecific memories of intense enjoyment dancing with Jim:

and so I remembered this song whose full lyrics I never looked at before, all I remembered was “buttercup fill me up, and “I need you so,” “I need you more than anyone darling, you know I have from the start …” and such lines would sound in my inner ears at high moments with him:

At the end of class I did have to endure all these cheerful wishes for a good holiday — or that was the dominating consensus. The teacher refrained and just remarked we would not have class next Friday. Last night I made a mistake last night of going to the Haven to listen to a presentation. That’s the last one of those I go to (so car liberty has downsides). I should have known better; Jim would have warned me against it. Platitudes ending on exhortations not to hurt other people’s joy. Right. But I did dare to drive there at night and met someone from the grief support group I attended last spring. She said two of the people there, an older man and a younger woman (statistical probability exemplified here) are now “going out with one another seriously.” They were not inconsolable it seems.

My win? I got from the DMV three days ago a brief letter (not even 8 by 11 in size) saying I had fulfilled all “medical requirements” and no further reports would be asked for. They wished me “continuous safe driving” from here on in. It only took nearly $5000, going through 2 lawyers, being part of an HMO which enabled me to reach several doctors readily and take tests, back and forth on cabs, much stress on phone. The last set of reports had two doctors’ describing me (no medical condition whatsoever, cause grief, endless tests are dangerous from the radiation &c&c) and my regular doctor was franker too (doubtless tiring of making out forms). The lawyer said the description was such it would help us win a hearing and the DMV would not want such a hearing. I’m told that of those whose license is suspended (and it’s not done to all people, unfairly upper middle class men are rarely suspended I’m told — as forsooth they need to drive), most lose it for life if they blank out for however small a period.


Having gotten it I celebrated by a scavenger hunt in my car. While at JASNA, I received by my cell phone a message from British seller telling me he had just cancelled a box of CDs recording Timothy West reading aloud Framley Parsonsage because the credit card I had on file doesn’t work. (If you knew how hard it is to get good readers reading great books since Amazon invented the thieving tricker of audible.com and bought up many many such recordings from Books-on-Tape, Cover-to-Cover, Blackstone’s even). This credit car number had been cancelled because it had been hacked into, and I had to wait until I got home to try to reach him and make him understand. He did. But mailed it “registered mail,” doubtless meaning well. I go to NYC and package arrives on my stoop but postman takes it back to post office as label means I must be there. To get my hands on it took 3 trips to two post offices, 2 phone calls and 1 supervisor and finally a man going in to their den and finding it in a bag. The US post office has gotten worse since it’s been under fire from Congress — trying to destroy and then privatize it. And changes in it make it more “independent” each office so now one post office doesn’t know what the other is doing. I’ve now bought myself Dr Thorne, from Downpour which still sells CDs, MP3s (so I can listen in my car), where people get on the phone to help you buy your product. Not West or David Case, but Simon Vance who is an intelligent reader at least and does the reading dramatically. Somehow it has always meant much to me to have this reading aloud in my car as I drive: it makes time not just endurable but pleasant.

Then I bethought me I’d find where to park in Shirlington on weekdays: it’s a theater which genuinely plays the best movies available in the area (it does not reach for the NYC and LA first run or older film, nor Wiseman for example). It took a good deal of searching out, but I found a place set aside for the Shirlington theater on the second floor of a garage not far off. I saw Laura Poitras’s CitizenFour. It was a freezing cold day and to take a cab was to stand in the cold waiting for a cab 10 minutes each way, and Uber cab has a hard time finding the theater whose address is misleading.

Poitras and film-colleague at a first showing of CitizenFour in NYC

CitizenFour is chilling, a sombre piece. That it’s by a woman and shows a woman’s perspective is one source of its effectiveness; I notice the reviews are ignoring this and wonder if Poitras’s other films have failed to call attention to her by anyone but gov’ts able and willing to harass and threaten her. I’ve now made her The oath, the second of the trilogy, my next choice on Netflix: it’s about the man who became the chauffeur to Bin Laden and was imprisoned, tortured, but is now freed because his lawyer was able to win a court case about how to define terrorism — aiding someone tangentially is not enough to label you such it seems.

What sobering is the power of the people running these gov’ts and how easy it is for their agents to survey, arrest, and lie about it. Poitras’s use of clips from the mainstream media (CNN, Fox, NBC, MSNBC, even one from PBS) makes them stick out as gaudy circus material in comparison to her quiet palette. Snowden appears to suggest that since he is now not in a terrible prison for life, nor was tortured, nor is set to be executed, he has won sufficiently to encourage others to join in. It’s true a kind of network sprung up to help him: human rights lawyers, people with access to other people who got him on a plane and took him to where the US could not reach him and now by chance the resurgence of the cold war has led the Russian gov’t not to extradite him. Julian Assange’s wikileaks’ connections played a role: he is still in that Equadoran embassy. He has his long-time girlfriend living with him and the last scene of the two of them is through an apartment window where they are boiling water, perhaps for sphagetti? The closing scenes shows how dangerous all they are doing is for them. We see Glenn Greenwald telling Snowden about a new or other whistleblower and he writes the man’s name down on a pad with a pen; then he tells him something else by a pad with pen. Snowden does not say anything more than emit sounds of surprize and startle. The room they are in could be bugged.


One response to this movie could be to stop posting, stop blogging, silence yourself utterly — obviously that’s not mine. The news organizations which back or backed Greenwald, MacAskill are under threat but carry on because not to do is is not to exist and that’s my excuse for carrying on too. One almost does not know what to say: yes all your records are available to the US gov’t. Internet providers comply; if they don’t, they are supenaed and forced to hand over mountains of signficant data (like someone’s email, passwords) or shut down (as Lavibit courageously chose to). One learns about the British counterpart, especially CGHQ (is that the acronym), which has been doing its work far more broadly for more years than the US; which I remember Jim talking of when he went there once: Portsmouth is not longer a place where people mess around in boats much, he said. Big Brother has gone digital? David Bromwich’s essay.

There is a passing discussion of liberty which one lawyer says is now unfortunately defined as privacy: that’s a real loss as what’s at stake is more than privacy. The eighth amendment (saying gov’ts haven’t the right to confiscate or hold back your access to your money or property before a trial) is gutted. The way in which the actors in the film communicate is on black screen with white letters on the Net. The last time I saw that was 1993-95 the first two years when Jim and I were on the Net and that’s what the screen looked like when I sent messages to the original Trollope list and Austen-l. He had to type in strings of number and letters every once in a while to do this, and we used a phone line made available somehow or other from Mason (as an adjunct I did have that “privilege”).

Not over-stating what happened to me — I see the behavior of the DMV to me and what they were prepared to do to make me comply (put me in jail for a non-harmful act when I committed no crime) as the non-technological world supporting the technological nightmare the movie demonstrated exists. We are a society that incarcerates people upon first impulse, punishes them, immobilizes them, set up economically to make jobs insecure and get people to move about to take any where they can get one. set cities up to keep people apart (Atlanta, Georgia), pass laws to forbid improving public transportation (in Tennessee). Caroline told me of being a court (for something else) and seeing four desperate men with lawyers waiting for DMV hearings.

The new landscape

Next week I’ll see Kill the Messenger at Ballston, with a typical review by Rolling Stone: to me it’s about a man murdered once he fell into obscurity. I’ve been reading Trollope seriously as a political writer (he is extraordinary if you think about the implications of his texts) and guess he would have seen that as central to the film’s message.

Miss Drake

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Friends, I now have come to see the US is become a surveillance society where the poor or powerless are policed by organizations like the DMV because they can.

Read this report and watch the video from PBS


This young married couple unable to pay the court fines for a violation that was thrown out of court were put into jail; then they were charged monthly high interest by the organization given the power to monitor their activities and report them to the police who would be told to jail them if they didn’t pay up. They have since paid in the thousands of dollars far more than the original ticket or fines and yet are not free of debt to this far from disinterested company. The company is empowered by Alabama (and others in other southern and western states) who give a percentage of the take to these states who are wresting money from the most vulnerable people of their states in this way. Among the reasons for their failure to not-pay is the death of their young son (died!) in a hospital, which left enormous debts. The PBS Reporter who told of this could not get any of the agencies to talk to them. The reporter finally cornered one official in a county meeting: the man would not get up to speak to him, would only say the courts allowed this treatment of this couple.

If you want to get many ordinary needed things done, you find you are confronted with an official who has access to all sorts of records about you — from medical, to prescription, to financial.

The deep anxiety and unease from awareness of the power of this surveillance state we now live in the US silences people — they are ashamed, they fear retaliation in the form of more punishment. Without the ability to drive a car (a necessity not a right), many people lose their jobs, itself a sine qua non in the US for basic survival.

What happens with the powerless is that a small incident which should by its reality and merits cause no more trouble than the time it takes to get over it, is blown up to ruin the person’s life in order to profit those who prey on that person in order to get their salary, keep their place in an organization, make a profit or just self-righteously watch the miserable person canting to them whatever hypocritical moralisms are being used to hurt them.

Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras and Ewen MacGaskill have all been awarded a prestigious Pulitzer prize for investigative journalism. Greenwald argued the purpose of the mass surveillance is not to find terrorists (for so much information makes it harder) but to monitor the whole population so that those in charge can get after anyone they please. Recently there has been a ruling that military people can jail someone without cause: if Hedges and Company lose it has more than an effect on one area of law and custom: the national security state. It encourages other institutions to feel they can flagrantly violate the rights and needs of citizens. When the letter de cachet went, it was a sign that you could not do commit sweeping injustice without a thought any more.

It’s worth reading Chomsky’s demonstration that obviously the people running these gov’ts have no interest in the security of the people who live in them. What bothers me is how the average person has a hard time letting go of the idea these institutions are doing things justly and on the people’s behalf.


P.S. It’s been reported that the NSA knew about the Heartbleed bug for several years. They never told anyone as they wanted to use it themselves. There’s a law signed by Obama giving them authority to withhold information about serious bugs if it’s useful to their monitoring of us all.

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What causes some cats to fall repeatedly?


I thought I’d try to go to a movie (The Grand Budapest Hotel) where I thought I could walk it. True, it’s a 25 minute walk but I do have to go under a scary tunnel and when alone it was worrying.

Then the sidewalk is a mess in several places — and not meant for walking. So I fell twice. It was hot, the cars whizzing by. Bad scrapes. It’s a steep hill and my heart beats fast as I don’t go to a gym. I can’t order a machine at home as I’ve no one to put it together. Who says the DMV doesn’t want me dead? or for reasons I can’t fathom to stop driving after 34 years without an accident or even a serious ticket hitherto.

If I didn’t have insurance the tests they have asked me to have again (they don’t believe the ones they’ve got) would be a couple of thousand; how I am to get to the Springfield Medical Center without a cab. The Metro stop ends where there is no sidewalk and I have to cross a three way highway at that point. Perhaps I’ll die. Like the old woman and her cow. That rhyme comes back to me.

My lawyer is doing all she can, though it feels like Trollope’s satire on lawyers through their names, Slow and Bideawhile. Doesn’t seem so funny or seems funny in a different way now.

They said they would convene again and do another medical review and perhaps (how wonderful it is to have such power) give me a restricted ability to drive, but they didn’t say when.

Because We Can
Because they can, you know

Yvette tells me we must change some of our passwords. I have no idea how to do it but she says she does so after supper if she’s up to it, we’ll do that. Anxiety-producing whatever we do. 8:00 pm update: we have changed a large number of my passwords. I have written them down on a yellow card which is now a precious document.

In Last Orders Jack tells Ray that the one who is left is the worst off, has the much harder time. I wouldn’t have wanted to die the death Jim did — one died by thousands of people cut off unnecessarily in their relative youth or as children and teenagers — but Jack has a point. Jim is not here for me; one cannot replace a life-long deeply congenial partner beloved and far future is a grim outlook.

I am so exhausted I’ve retreated into shoverdosing on Season 2 of Breaking Bad. Powerful and riveting I must admit. I am with Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) all the way; have utterly bonded with this character.

Refusing to be bullied by nasty mean cop

I hear his intonations in my head.


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Whether it be the continual aloneness; how the new state and perspective brings home to me whatever are my relationships more clearly than they once did; my position when I come out into whatever world when he is not there to soften and veil it, not there for me to turn to as someone who values me and finds me of value; how I cover my face with my hands and cringe with distaste and feel sick with shame at the thought of another man; of never ending (until I die) uncertainty about so much, what to do, what not to do, how to judge this, think of that, gauge the other; of the cruel results of this license suspension (a job offer to teach a course in Loudon I fear I must not take up and thus I lose this opportunity to be part of this school forever); little things (being cheated for big and small amounts), big ones; exclusions, there seems not a day, sometimes not an hour goes by that does not gouge me.

I am keening today, my heart so desolated because I have had to not accept an offer to teach a course called “The Historical and post-Colonial Turn in Recent Fiction” for George Mason University’s summer session at OLLI because I cannot say for sure I will have my right (it’s not a privilege, it’s a necessity) to drive back by mid-June. I can hand the papers in again as of May 17th and I might have it back; my lawer is trying to get us a hearing where I will ask for a restricted right to drive back, but I cannot say for sure. I spent hours fruitlessly looking at the train and bus schedules, wishing they were otherwise; I had the boldness to ask a friend if he had Tuesday mornings off and could drive me six times for which I would pay him. He did not answer because it is too much to ask. Today I was rooked for $29 to go to a nearby (6 minute) hair-dresser; it would cost me hundreds to go to Loudon county back and forth six times.

Does the DMV want me to kill myself? No. But they would not care if I did and if I did would triumph over me that I am clearly not fit to drive. I will try not to just to show that they are wrong to treat me punitively and as a cripple, but if I should die (say a car runs over me as I try to cross roads not intended for pedestrians) I hope someone who may read this blog will write about this in some prominent place under the headings of DMV death and the cancer epidemic.

While away I thought about widows in literature and realized how until recently their grief was dismissed. In the 18th century until near the end, especially on the stage the widow is someone who is lascivious, will go with any man afterwards, is frustrated and wants sex from any man (the last thing in the world any widow would want), but especially young handsome ones; how hostile most depictions. Near the end not much better, rather made into figures who sublimate their supposed desires, who want power over others. Yes in the Renaissance you get widow poets mourning (two I translated now not ironically but in terrified anticipation, in some kind of dread), but it’s done in these formulaic ways. I tried and tried to think of empathetic portraits, and the best I could come up with was Shakespeare’s Kate’s speech after Hotspur’s death, Cleopatra’s after Antony’s, but these are all idealizations of the man. Jane Austen begins with Mrs Dashwood who is not provided for by a legal document beyond her original jointure, so when her husband’s uncle dies, she becomes dependent on a verbal promise which her step-son does not honor. This is the practical outlook. While away I bought myself an 18th century play, The Rival Widows, or Fair Libertine by Elizabeth Cooper, herself widowed young (as Cooper’s mother was before her); her play is about an intelligent young widow, Lady Bellair, who was coerced into marriage with an older man and then cheated of her jointure, and is pressured by Lady Lurcher, older widow (the usual nasty salacious type, greed-driven, hoarding) into marrying someone Lady Bellair does not want so the older widow can have the man Lady Bellair is (seemingly) in love with and who (seemingly) loves her (the two do not marry at play’s end): many women would not grieve upon becoming a widow if the husband was someone they were forced to go to bed with, obey, bear his children. And what goes down in the records are often women without money, widows as paupers, widows working at this or that to stave off abysmal miseries. This situation helps explain why so few women write of the experience of this loss and all it brings until the 20th century. By why a portrait of a vile older widow. I have now and again come across an article here on-line which recently tells of the pain and loneliness, but there is not much except for courageous widow poets before the later 20th century; in a few of her stories, Jhumpa Lahiri does tell, Bengali/US-style. Oh some of these are fearful.

To force myself to go on? That’s what Yvette says when I have asked her. Control oneself and pretend you find living quite bearable.

Anew I have understood why Clarissa’s choice near her novel’s and life’s end. How I have imagined her silently appalled as I read her correspondent’s supposed non-hostile letters to her. I have bonded and identified once again, on terms not so different after all.


Saskia Wickham as Clarissa

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A paraphrase from the Associated Press: just a part of the column (the central story and decision): a woman “caught” having taken some prescribed medicine had her license suspended for 180 days; she had the money to fight this for 4 years.

The Iowa supreme court in Des Moines “threw out” a 180 license suspension for Teresa Bearinger of Urbandale. She drove into a mailbox in 2011. The police arrived, and she tested postive for “controlled substances.” These were traces of her prescribed medicine. The police did not file charges, and cited her for “strking fixtures on a highway,” but the Iowa DOT when it got her urine results, suspensed her license for six months. She contested it. At the hearing her doctor said all the drugs were prescribed; she had been told they could cause drowsiness but that it was safe for her to drive.

Apparently she had not eaten enough that morning and said that. The DOT or Iowa’s DMV’s response was what they did was “reasonable” as their “license revocation proceedings” are “remedial, rather than punitive.” They don’t know what public transportation is like (non-existent) in most of Iowa?

In a 7-0 ruling Friday, the court disagreed with DOT’s interpretation, saying Bearinger’s license could not be suspended. DOT’s interpretation would allow drivers who have taken cholesterol drugs, antibiotics and antacids that have no impact on driving to have their licenses revoked, Justice Thomas Waterman wrote …– Drivers caught with prescription drugs in their systems should not have their licenses suspended if they have taken the medications according to their doctors’ instructions, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Not punitive? Today Yvette and I tried to shop on foot to our local Safeway instead of using Peapod (on-line service supposedly provided by Safeway; but they do not have the same goods as the local safeway; do not bring all that is ordered; send crushed and unripeable items; come very late at night). My back was hurting by the time we were walking up the last part of the hill from the Safeway in the valley below us (where the mall is located) and Yvette was finding it an ordeal to push the shopping cart. Not only an ordeal, but almost like the shopping cart that broke last week under pressure from a lot less goods, this one’s wheels were dangerously wobbling.

Apparently the DOT and DMV of Iowa would not answer phone calls from AP where they asked them further to respond with whatever is their excuse. After all stonewalling has ever been the public technique of all DMVs it seems. Ironically I suppose that were public transportation decent in the US individual DMVs would not be as punitive: what after all would be the point?

The plaintive’s attorney said he felt “Friday’s ruling was very significant for some drivers.” Note how carefully phrased.


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still dark morning drive
Outside this morning


It is a source of perpetual astonishment to me that a majority of people prefer to get up in the pitch darkness — the sky is black out there until well after 6:30 am right now when they could be getting up (before 6) in the blessed light. This morning the winds are high and strong and it is 20 degrees fahrenheit out there. I was forced to push my clock ahead on Sunday; in fact most of the clocks did it themselves, moved ahead one hour all on their lonesome, imposed this on me.

I remember when Daylight Savings Time (what an ironically inappropriate term, euphemism as you add no daylight) started in early May and ended in late September. I’m told at one time it started in June and ended in early September. It ought to be called Morning Pitchblack Darkness Time.

At 10 to 11 I have to wait for a bus in this weather for over 20 minutes to make sure I don’t miss it. It may be as high as 27 by then? I wear two pairs of gloves and still get chilblains on my hands. Two hours there and back.

Last night even with the trazadone I could not sleep more than 2 hours in a row. I went to bed at 11:30, shut the light off a quarter to midnight and found myself wide awake at around 2. I did manage to fall back until 4:16 but after that I could not sleep.

There is no use pretending. I have been victimized by the DMV; have to hire an expensive lawyer to help me and she says she cannot guarantee we’ll win at all. Yes there is no due process because there is no right to drive. It’s called a “privilege.”

I am embarrassed to tell the sum I paid — I no longer find the $5000 retainer or consultation fee of Breaking Bad beyond belief. I’m not paying that much, but a little more than half. Not horrific in today’s terms; but to me extraordinary. I guess people pay such fees for divorce help? I did it because I have no reason to trust the DMV ever to unsuspend the license. She really took me seriously as I now think the first lawyer, a man, did not.

I wonder if that’s because he is a man and she a woman.

While I was there she went into my DMV files on-line (one can!) and discovered 1) I never drove illegally. In fact my license was un-suspended as of Jan 19th when I was in full compliance, but then it was re-suspended on the day after the phone call. So that’s why I was able to buy a car, get a registration and insurance. She then said there is something odd here. Usually one’s license is suspended under a code. She showed me a bunch of codes in a large book. Mine has no code cited only “medical reasons” and then no explanation. No wonder the woman on the phone talked to me in a manipulative rude way to get me to hang up. This second lawyer said, yes, there is nothing here to say they can’t keep doing this. She was puzzled as she said there is no line of argument we can begin with as there is no code cited nor any medical reasons cited.

So I’m to get another copy of my medical records (as the ones I have do not include neurological tests), she ordered a certified record of the DMV records and she’s going to begin by requesting a hearing. And right away. You must of course wait for a certified record. A way to slow you down, an obstacle. The hearing is with the DMV itself. That’s when it’s possible to get a restricted driver’s licence. She said you cannot get a restricted right to drive without a hearing. If we lose there, then we request a judicial review — go to court. That would be to go outside the DMV to a judge.

I don’t want to sit helpless. What gets me is my license was returned to me and then there’s this meeting and they reverse themselves. The second said I didn’t help myself with my statement (a description, true, of what happened) — she didn’t say I necessarily hurt myself; she felt it was (at best) ignored.

I did phone the first lawyer too and finally his paralegal came on the line. In fact she picked up the phone. The previous times I could get only a receptionist and then a secretary. They were waiting for me. What kind of behavior is this? She is just now composing a letter to someone to ask about how they came up with the term “syncope” since that is not in the medical records at all; so here is our opportunity to question them. A feeble protest if you ask me; the woman on the phone would say “blanked out” means syncope. This paralegal had not thought even to go on line. When I told her I had and what I found out she did not appear to register it. I could have told her to desist as I have someone else, but I thought maybe a letter won’t hurt.

I found I could not get my medical records released from Kaiser without signing a form. I did download one online and mailed it, but it would be better for me to go in to make sure the neurological tests (missing in the stuff I gave the lawyer). It’s a helluva a trip — as I’m told the walk to the Kaiser building form the Franconia-Springfield station is longish. I will probably have to get to the Kaiser by myself: I’m told the walk from the train station is a mile and sometimes there is nowhere to walk. I’m thinking that I may try to the Metro on Monday early in the morning and then come back by cab — a risky ordeal but I’ll do it.

I have a trip ahead of me as of Wednesday where I have to make sure I don’t get lost (Williamsburg, Va), get myself to the hotel, then to the conference and come home safely.

Is it any wonder I can’t sleep.

There is no use pretending anymore to hope for anything: I remember Mr Bennet to Elizabeth: “What is there of good to be expected?”


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