Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Predicaments of Imaginary People

For some time I have quipped when asked for an id, "You're not a real person if you don't have a plastic card." This was mostly to acknowledge the plight of illegal people, but I guess we're all illegal if we can't demonstrate otherwise.

Two fellows were trying to buy beer at the convenience store I visited at the end of my shift today. One had his plastic identification card. The other offered a card decorated with a hole punch. The clerk did not accept it for their beer purchase. This aspiring beer purchaser pulled out a second card, which the clerk examined and also declined because it was expired. I don't know if they ever got their beer, as another clerk appeared to take my gas money.

In the cab was my passenger with his own plastic card dilemma. I met him over a year ago, at the QT on Bell Rd. near Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix. He'd said someone had stolen his car, and he has been without a plastic card ever since.

This passenger can't order a duplicate of his Texas or Virginia plastic card because he's not in those states anymore. He'd order a birth certificate, so he can go to the Social Security office (to get a Social Security card, so he can work, and get replacement plastic cards), but those efforts haven't gone anywhere. It's tough to get anything done when you're stuck in survival mode. I have no idea how truthful the story is, but it seems plausible enough.

When this fellow reappeared recently, I knew it'd been at least a year since I'd seen him last, based on his comment about my change of vehicle. He is now traveling with someone, and has been bumping from place to place.

It's hard to register at cheap motels if you don't have a plastic card. A group of four went to ghetto-Motel 6 in my cab one day. One (or more) of them had been banned from that motel, so they waited in the cab while a non-banned person from their group got a room for the night.

Perpetually Expiring Plastic Cards

Another night I picked up two guys from an apartment/condo just south of the Christown Walmart. They gave me a $50 so I'd wait. After 10 or so minutes one of them came back to the cab by himself. They wanted to buy alcohol, but because his identification card had expired, the Walmart clerk was unable to accept it to verify his age. He returned to the cab, so his friend could purchase the alcohol by himself, with his non-expired identification card.

This passenger had gotten a series of "driving without a license" tickets, and now owes $10,000+ in fines. Because of the outstanding balance, the state issues him an identification card that expires every 3 or 6 months. People who don't have balances with the state get identification cards without an expiration date.

I think the government should offer the ability to work off one's court fines. $5/hour towards one's fines, with the balance of minimum wage paid to the worker. The woman who wrote Nickel and Dimed was on Alternative Radio a few months ago, and said the problem of the working poor have gotten much worse since the book was written. Kicking People When They're Down might've been what I heard.

The Predicament of A Genuine Imaginary Person

Months ago I dropped someone off at the Tower Plaza Walmart, and a random woman appeared and asked if I was available. Somehow it came up that this woman doesn't really exist because her papers are not in order. She can't get a new Social Security card from the Social Security Administration because her California birth certificate doesn't have her first name on it. She only has a birth day, a last name, and parents.

Was today's identification predicament just a setup?

This anecdote is not-at-all related to identification cards, but if not for my passenger's identification problem I wouldn't have told him to get off the motel's premises, and wouldn't have had to meet him at the QuikTrip just down the street.

While telling the passenger how he'd been threatened by the motel's patrol employee with trespassing if he was seen again (they are very serious about non-registered guests being prohibited), a woman passing by asked if I was available. She works nearby, had a blind date at the Hyatt downtown, and would have taken the bus if she hadn't seen me standing next to the cab at just that moment. "You're going to the rotating restaurant at the top!" Her blind date has a room at the Hyatt. Hmm.

37 years old, got out of a six-year relationship last September (ex-boyfriend left her for his dope-dealer), the blind date is her co-worker/Doppelgänger's (same name/same birthday) boyfriend's friend. I'm not much of a hypnotist, but figured that she was sent to me for irreverent comments. She wanted to stop at a liquor store for liquid courage, but I forgot.

(Originally posted to on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 06:05:58 AM EST)

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