Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today seemed like it was going to go so well. What the hell went wrong?

Well, there's no need to frame that as a question, I know the biggest part of the problem: I left my ID badge to get into the office and CAC card to log onto my computer at home. As far as I can remember I've never done so before, but it was bound to happen sooner or later. As I've said, I'm kind of surprised it hasn't happened before now. Well, today it did. Sometimes I've got out the door or even a block or two from home and then realized that I had forgotten them, and when that happened I turned around and went back, but today I didn't notice until I got off the metro, so I kept going. But that was just the start of the problem. I also lost my driver's license some time between getting on the shuttle to work and getting into the building. I definitely had it to get onto the shuttle, because I need ID to do that, but afterwards I couldn't find it in my wallet, any pockets or my backpack. I waited for that shuttle to come back around and looked on the floor and between seats and couldn't find it there either. In the end the security guards let me in with my Social Security number, but that's obviously not the normal way of doing things.

At this point, it seems most likely that someone found my driver's license and planned to turn it in but had not yet done so by the time I last checked with the security guard. There are other possibilities - maybe I dropped it on the shuttle and it skidded a long way from where I had been sitting, maybe I dropped it right after getting on the shuttle and it fell outside somehow before I even got to work, maybe it fell into someone else's bag and they don't know they have it, maybe it's in some pocket I still haven't thought of checking - but that guess seems most likely and the best chance I have of getting it back.

I'm not sure what to do if it doesn't turn up. In the very short term, if it doesn't turn up by the end of the day, getting home without it might be annoying but isn't all that big a problem; there's a public bus near here as well. In the medium term, I know right where my work ID and CAC card are and just need to not forget them. As for non-work things, I will carry my passport around as ID or just use my work ID badges if places other than work will accept it. Probably not, since there's no birthday on it, but it can't hurt to try. In the long term, that driver's license doesn't expire for years yet, but I have moved since it was issued, so I'm not sure I want to try to get it back or not. And the DMV, at least the one where I got it, is hard if not impossible to get to by public transportation.

It kind of makes me feel naked not to have ID on me. That probably reveals a lot about our society, or at least on my lifestyle. While right now it's worse than usual because I need ID just to get to work, even back in Vermont where everyone knew me I drove everywhere and always had my ID on me in case I got pulled over or in an accident. If I can't prove who I am, then it's like I'm not a real person.

Just today, at least, I'm looking forward to the development of cyberpunkish IDs that are implanted under your skin and work for every place you need ID and stuff.

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