I've suspected for some time now that state governments have a secret bargain with Murphy.
You know... the one behind Murphy's Law?
In an attempt to make the task as painless as possible, I took a number of steps in advance to smooth the way.
1. I looked up the website, printed out and fully completed the necessary form.
2. I called the office, verifying directions and what documentation I ought to bring.
3. I planned the trip for a day when my husband could go with me. (I'm not a fan of driving downtown by myself.)
4. We left the house 15 minutes before the office opened, planning to arrive bright and early to avoid lines and delays.
Do you think that any of this helped at all? Of course not.
The GPS told us we had "reached our destination" in the middle of a road with nothing on either side. Asking for directions en route (twice) got us to the correct building, although we never did figure out how to get to the free parking lot supposedly available behind the building. (God forbid someone just point out that it's in the giant, blatantly labeled Lotto building which anyone could find with ease!)
After waiting patiently to be called and wondering with slight annoyance why the office had a useless, expensive digital sign inside advertising it's hours (which anyone who had managed to find it and get inside clearly already knew), it was our turn to go talk to the nice lady behind the multiple layers of bullet proof glass.
I handed over my paperwork, agreed to tell the truth under penalty of perjury charges, and hit a brick wall. Because I haven't had a card issued since my marriage, it constituted a name change rather than just a card re-issuance. Thus, I needed my marriage license... facts they failed to tell me when I'd called previously.
To top things off, the woman completely blew me off when I explained that the marriage certificate I was issued does not have my married name on it, only my maiden name. The town clerk who issued it has refused to issue a new one because she swears I can legally go by either surname at my sole discretion and therefore the document I have is sufficient.
Only it's obviously not. And the woman at the Social Security Administration insisted that I just didn't know what I was talking about because she "sees marriage certificates every day".
At this point, we just left because if we stayed I would probably have punched someone. Yes, I know. Not very Christian or ladylike. But we'd wasted over an hour and had nothing but headaches to show for it.
Later, when we'd eaten and unwound a little bit, my husband asked what I wanted to do about the situation. I told him they can all go screw themselves. I've gone ten years without a card and I can keep going without one for another ten years. If someone wants one for something, they can figure out an alternative. I'm not wasting another minute of my life on pointless bureaucracy.