Hartsel: Part I


Do you ever forget certain parts of your life? Sometimes it feels strange like a dream, like a different cloudy world, another dimension. Sometimes we just plain black it out. We all have our reasons – rage, jealousy, heartache. We cover certain memories with a nice down comforter, tuck them in, turn out the light and never go back again.

I recently went to the DMV to obtain my Colorado state driver’s license.  When my number was called, I walked up to the window and sat down. The dialogue went something like this.

DMV: Have you ever had a Colorado state driver’s license before?

Me: Nope.

DMV: Please fill out this form.

I fill out the form and hand it back to the lady. She looks it over and starts typing.

DMV: Are you sure you have never applied for a Colorado state driver’s license?

Me: Absolutely sure.

DMV: Could you please check this form again and verify the information?

Me: Yes…it is correct.

DMV: Well, we already have you in our system.

Me: That’s impossible…did somebody steal my identity?

DMV: The address on file is a P.O. Box in Clifton, CO.

Me: I’ve never even heard of Clifton, CO.

I start to worry as she rattles off a random post office box number as my address and I am in disbelief. What was going on? I’m annoyed and she is definitely getting irritated with me.

DMV: Let’s look at the driver’s license photo on file…

She looks it up.

DMV: It sure looks like you.

As she turns the computer monitor in my direction, she presents to me a photo of myself from around 1996, a time period when I practically ran away from home with my boyfriend. Glancing back at the photo, I remembered a time when I was a hippy rug rat living in the back of an Astro van we had bought off a random old man in Sun City.  My hair was naturally dreading, I had no makeup on, my eyebrows hadn’t been plucked in months, and if pictures could smell – this one wouldn’t have been pleasant. I was wearing a worn-out snowboard T-shirt and it all came rushing back to me. The down comforter had lifted.

Me: Oh. Wow… Yeah that’s me. I forgot about all of that.

What I really wanted to say was I had forgotten him.  She must have thought I was on drugs. I had looked horribly homeless, and I was horribly embarrassed.  Surprisingly at the time of that picture, it was a new start. Freedom. We were free and detaching ourselves from “the man.”  But there is no getting away from the man and some things always come full circle.

Stay tuned for Part II –