When I turned 21 (16 years ago this month!) I promptly went to the grocery store to buy a six pack of beer. What else do you do on a summer's day when you turn 21? The sign at the store said "We ID under 25." When I turned 25, the signs started to say "We ID under 35." When I turned 35, I saw a sign at the store that said "We ID under 37." Are you sensing a pattern here ... I'm about to turn 37. The other day, I was enjoying a simple meal at the original Red Robin here in Seattle and noticed a note on their menu that says "We ID under 39 1/2." A joke ... I hope!

Identification is an important thing. And, it turns out, a complicated thing when you are living the counter-cultural nun lifestyle. I've moved quite a bit the past few years - from Oregon to New Jersey and now Washington State - with a few stops in between.

I've been living in Washington State for a while now, and have been meaning to get a Washington State drivers license. The only thing is, looking at the list of documents required as proof of Washington state residency I was perplexed. You see, as a nun you kind of live "off grid" with the whole vow of poverty thing. I live in one of our convents so I don't have a homeowner's insurance policy or a utility bill in my name. I also don't have a mortgage statement, property tax bill, or even my name in the phone book. I work for a Catholic nonprofit so I don't even have a paystub - my salary is paid directly to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. I haven't needed to file taxes so I don't have that paperwork or mail. I don't have a professional teaching or nurse's license - my justice ministry doesn't have such things! I haven't started grad school so I don't have a transcript or report card. How to prove I live here?

Luckily, the kind folks at the Washington State Department of Licensing accepted a letter from my community explaining the whole vow of poverty thing as the reason why I don't have any of these documents, and promisng that I do in fact live at our convent in Bellevue. So, one eye test a little bit of paperwork and $45 later, I am now licensed to drive in the State of Wahington and now have a form of local ID!

Who knew being a nun could be so complicated in our 21st Century world?


Garpu said...

Which one did you go to? The one north of Aurora is a trip. (It's the one by the Fred Meyer.)

Anne-Marie said...

That's lucky they were so understanding! I recently renewed my driver's licence. Here in New Zealand, the eye test is set up [for some bizarre reason] so that most people fail it, even though their eye sight might be perfectly good. I had to get a letter from my optometrist saying my eye sight was good with corrective lenses.

I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and I really enjoy it. We were born in the same month of the same year, by the way :-)