I made such a rookie mistake on Tuesday — I’m almost embarrassed to tell you.
I showed up at a Social Security office to begin my post-marriage name-change process . . . without a book.
Let’s call it stupidity. Or complete naiveté. Or just pure insanity. Regardless, I was expecting to dash into the SSA to become a Johnson on my lunch break. In, oh, a half hour — maybe a touch more.
It’s no big deal, my newlywed coworker said.
I was in and out in 40 minutes or less, my newlywed sister said.
As for me? Well, I walked back out into the cool, crisp, freedom-laden air . . . almost three hours later.
If I wasn’t gray before I stepped in, I certainly was after.
(And for the record, I’ve been plucking coarse, stark-white hairs from my scalp often enough to scare me. It’s becoming a thing.)
My comrades-in-arms were sprinkled in the chairs all around me, all of us huffing and puffing and checking our watches and iPhones while others paced nearby. We grumbled to each other; we grumbled on our phones. I waited 40 minutes to simply get a number, then another hour-plus to be called.
There were two people working, calling us back one by one. And while we were there, one of the two went on her lunch break.
I mean, she has to eat — I get it. I certainly wouldn’t be starving in order to assist a red-faced crew of people needing to talk about retirement benefits or replacement cards or compromised social security numbers.
But anyway, it sucked.
The good news is that my request was accepted, and I was able to head back to work with a sparkly new identity. I expected to feel very emotional about it, especially given how I was reacting to the issue a month ago, but the whole process was over with surprisingly little fanfare.
I went in a Snider. I came out a Johnson.
And it’s totally okay. Cool, actually.
Like so many changes in my life, I think I’ve just needed time to adjust. The idea of crafting a new identity from the old one was very overwhelming at first, but I’ve quickly come to realize I’m still myself — and aside from some paperwork, not much regarding my identity has changed. I’m not starting over as someone new; I just have a partner now, and that wonderful gentleman and I share a name.
The Johnsons. I love it.
And I’m doing just fine!
Minus, you know, sitting for three hours without reading material, which ranks impossibly high in the Stupid Things This Bookworm Has Ever Done.
I might actually need to have my head examined.