This past 7 July, I went with Dear Husband to the County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar to register to vote with our new, current and legal address. This building is enormous, and is part of a large office complex that has sprung up since my many visits to the Placer County Building Department during the early-mid 2000s. Those trips involved lodging successful protests against slip-shod plans approved to expand the hovels around my house in Newcastle.
Back then, the County Building Department looked like a quonset hut! Actually, the structure was a quonset hut of WWII-era construction. I am sure those vintage vibes helped me to write THE DAWN.
My, how things have changed for the buildings of bureaucracy!
I was headed for the Elections Division of the County Clerk-Recorder-Registrar on that bright, sunny morning. Please note that it was morning, sometime around 10 of the clock. I am not a morning person, so while this hour felt like mid-morning to Dear Husband, it was still early in the day for me. I was determined to get this task done and over with, and thereby return to the more frivolous matters of living life.
There were about a dozen individuals, waiting in line to perpetrate paper-work. The real crowd, however, populated the lobby of the building: a photographer and at least 20 people were gathered in a large circle, waiting for something to happen. Everyone was smiling, and so we smiled back!
Once we’d entered the huge room of multipurpose, I gazed around. No one was wearing a mask. Social distancing was still required, but no one was taking the moronic mandate seriously. I stood at the end of one long line that splintered off into three lines. This building houses the paper trails of many tortured paths that all end up at a plexiglass window with a friendly employee behind it. Her mission is any of the following official county functions:
The Clerk: Issues marriage licenses and records birth certificates. Performs marriage ceremonies. Confidential Marriage Licenses are also available. There are public marriages and there are confidential marriages, and that classification is just about all I want to know about that subject.
The Recorder: Maintains lawful contractual documents, and files constructive notice of transactions of real estate, as in “Is the deed recorded yet?” Title and property searches take place within this department. They also conduct genealogical searches. That one is news to me.
This county, and undoubtedly many others in America, must be putting a real financial hurt on those digital digging-up-bones of the family tree. Exhuming things better left alone has become big business for relatives wishing to re-write the ancestral past. I recall, during my first pregnancy, when a colleague handed me a set of the official genealogy forms from the Church of the Latter Day Saints. This woman insisted that I find out about my predecessors. She was terrified she’d find a horse thief in her lineage. I opined that I’d be grateful if that was all I found!
Speaking of digging up bones, and exhuming fictitious names, there is, last, but not least:
The Registrar: Registration of voters and ballot certification.
It turned out that Dear Husband and I were the only citizens in line who had to legitimize our voter registration. We exited the main line, and branched off into the Voter Registration Line. Someone soon showed up at the plexiglass window to give us our paperwork to fill out.
That’s when things got simultaneously intriguing and boring.
While Dear Husband sat down at an adjacent table and began to fill out his forms, I took a few phone-pix of the Official Announcement Board for the Recall. I then noticed that Gavin’s D-Day was slated for the date of my wedding anniversary. That nuptial day had to occur before the start of hunting season in our region of Northern California.
Dear Husband is still a bit touchy about this topic, although I was most cooperative about his prioritizing of personal activities. I’d say I was the one who did the hunting that year! But you cannot obtain a marriage license and a hunting license, using the same form. The State of California does issue the hunting license, in cooperation with various sporting goods stores.
I sat down next to Dear Husband at the forms table, and I started to fill out, line-by-line, the pertinent particulars of my previous addresses. My mind is so sequentially linear that I could not remember a zip-code if it was out of the timeline order, but I instantly recalled each zip code in the order in which I’d lived there. Just as I was entering my present address, I glanced up, and saw a woman standing at the Clerk Counter. She was wearing a form-fitting white dress, made all of lace, and was perched in very high, white high heels. A man in a suit stood beside her.
I whispered to Dear Husband: “I think that woman is wearing a wedding dress.”
Yes, she was the Bride. The guy next to her was the Groom. Who says people do not get married anymore?!
On the first official day of Partial Freedom from Lockdown, as declared by the Loose Lips that Sank His Own Ship, these two lovebirds had flown all the way to the Placer County Clerk to say “I do” in bureaucratese.
I finished filling out the form; and then handed it to the friendly employee. Dear Husband and I exited the room and walked into the foyer that was radiant with sunshine, bouquets of daffodils and smiling faces at this Wedding Reception.
“I feel like I’m interrupting the Event,” I said to the well-wishers awaiting the Newlyweds.
They laughed, and I laughed.
The world of Placer County just might move on to whatever “normal” used to be. I think we need to create our own normal, on our own terms, but without filling out any forms, or licensing any activities, or issuing any proclamations.
Living in the State of California, however, hasn’t even approached normal since the days of Governor Pete Wilson, profaning it out with Willie Brown. Those days likely pre-date the birth of those newlyweds!
More and more, I meet people in this state who are very unfamiliar with the most basic weather patterns of California, the various regions, landscapes, geologies, geographies, flora, fauna, especially the history, recent or antiquated. I am reminded of when I first arrived here in the Golden State. The shallow-minded rejected me, in very crude ways. The ones who gave me a chance at getting to know this state were the “natives”, the individuals who have been so snootily revered here (“a 7th-generation Californian”), but who have become more and more rare.
I now fully understand the gifts those old-timers gave to me, perhaps in the hope that I would pass on those timeless legends that go into the making of a legacy, a home, a place to call home.
The difference between then and now, between these newest newcomers and me, is that I wanted to learn those facts and figures, stories, myths and legends about the Golden State. The newest newcomers to California do NOT want to learn much about this state, except how to exit it. They’re here for now, to get what they can, and then they intend to leave ASAP — with a gripe and a grudge, the ill will of the little petty ruling class that rules only the resentments of what they didn’t get.
The spirit of the 49ers is alive once more among these latest opportunists who have come to California for the quick strike-it-rich. Dreams, no matter where you seek them, take time and work and patience and passion. The latest bounders are the ones who look to Government, and to a Governor, to do it for them.
Nope. Government has to get out of the way of anyone with even a half-hearted dream.
You truly do make your own luck. You must build your own dream. California rejects anyone who expects the riches to just start flowing, the gold to jump out at them from that coarse soil. Just look at what the You-Owe-Me attitude has done for the embattled and lazy liar of a narcissist called Our Governor.
Yesterday, I received in the mail my change-of-address voter registration form. This form has been RECEIVED but was REJECTED.
Due to all of that visual overstimulation of a wedding taking place in the County Office, I’d transposed two numbers in my physical address. The County Registrar is on top of any sleight-of-hand or sneaky certification! I crossed out the incorrect house number, filled out the correct one, initialed the change, circled my initials, and sealed the envelope.
I felt like tossing some rice into the air, just to celebrate the new state of being legally registered to vote. That’s not something every voter in California can say, even the ones who really do exist, and are verifiably alive and living in the Eureka state!