Well, here’s one more thing you should probably know about the new pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. I would have mentioned it sooner, but I only just found out myself.
I went to get my new Virginia driver’s license several weeks ago, but didn’t notice until after I left the Department of Motor Vehicles that right there on the front of the card, just under the word sex, was a small capital “F.” That’s right: Female. I laughed about it and thought I would ignore it until a few weeks later when I was going through airport security. The security officer looked at my driver’s license, looked at me, and then looked back down at the license. She didn’t say it, but I could almost hear her thinking, “She looks like a man but it says here she’s a woman.” It happened again on my next trip and since the airport is not a place you want to arouse the suspicions of security officers I decided to get it fixed next time I went to the DMV. That turned out to be today.
I recently bought the car I’ve been leasing for the last three years and needed to get it registered. So, I went to the DMV with a sheaf of documents in my hand, got my number (B148), and sat down to wait. When they called me up a little later I showed my papers to the man behind the counter and explained my situation. “I want to register my car and get some Virginia license plates,” I said, eagerly. I had been looking over the options while I waited and was excited about the possibility of getting one of those “vanity plates,” although I didn’t know what I would put on it if I did. I need not have worried. After looking over my papers the man behind the counter (who had some very interesting tattoos) said I was missing the crucial document and that I would have to come back when I had it.
“Well, while I’m here,” I said, “can I ask you about this?” And then I showed him my driver’s license. “It says I’m an ‘F,'” I said, “but I am not now nor have I ever been an ‘F.'”
“Hmmm,” he said, looking at the card and then looking up at me. “Hold on a second.”
And then he went to talk to his supervisor. When he came back a minute later he gave back my license and apologized. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but you’re going to have to come back with your passport or birth certificate…something that identifies you as a male.”
I looked at him in disbelief.
“You’d be surprised at some of the people we get in here,” he said, smiling.
I took my driver’s license and left the building slowly, still shaking my head over what had just happened. In the end I wrote it off as just another encounter with the DMV. I’ll get my documentation together; I’ll go back on another day; I may even get one of those vanity license plates. But I’m glad I didn’t get it today. If I had it would have read: