I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Friday, March 06, 2009

Who am I, how do I prove it to you, and what do you let me do once you know?

I got my driver's license today. It was actually the first time I can remember going to the DMV for a renewal. I've had to get new ones when I've moved, but have either moved before a renewal, or lived in a state with fairly loose renewal rules. When I was 25 I moved to Arizona, I handed over my (soon to expire) Texas license, and they handed me back a new one good till I was 60--that was a little scary actually. And that TX one had been renewed by mail a few years before that...In fact my mother was allowed to renew over the internet when she was 65. I guess at least Connecticut confirms I can walk in the door of a DMV office every 6 years. Pretty amazing when you think about it, this little card not only gives me legal permission to drive, gets me on airplanes and once upon a time bought beer (no one's asked for that in a while).

And I have another photo ID, for work. This one carries an RFID tag, which codes what doors I can open and tracks my comings and goings (except for when I follow others in or out without scanning my badge). Recently a security guard in a different building tried to insist that I had to replace it because it was the old style. I decided it wasn't worth the argument to explain that the outer style of the badge has no effect on its validity as long as I can scan in the door. Noone looks at the picture.

In the spirit of full replacement of IDs today I gave in and had a new pic taken to get a new badge at work too. Wonder if it will still open all the same doors?

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