So on Friday morning I was a proud card-carrying resident of the state of Maryland, despite the fact that I have not actually spent more than 3 consecutive weeks in Maryland in almost 8 years. But Friday afternoon, I took the deepest plunge of my life and procured myself an Illinois driver's license.
I am now a resident (and voter) in the state of Illinois. This fact fills me with a whole bucket of emotions - Depressed, and kind of excited, and a little nostalgic with a dash of underwhelmed.
I was fiercely proud of my Maryland license. For silly reasons, sure - but it tied me to the place that I think of as home. It also made me a little different and gave me a conversation starter. And it meant that somehow, someway in my little mixed up brain - I didn't live in the midwest, really. I was just kind of here on an expedition - exploring untapped resources and building a pile of experiences to write a book on how I went to the midwest and still came out okay.
(Obviously - this is not to say that there is anything not okay with the Midwest. I live here, my friends live here, my boyfriend is from here, I really do love the midwest, but...well...its an east coast thing).
But now its for keeps (sort of) - this is my proclamation of really doing this - of becoming a grown-up (sort of) and going out on my own. And it ties me to something that has nothing to do with my family, which is kind of exciting in a sad, bittersweet sort of way.
Also - now I have to vote in Chicago. Which is kind of cool - to get to vote in an actual polling place and for people who make decisions that affect me. Naturally, voting in Chicago is kind of like voting for the Prom Queen, I am not a hundred percent sure it actually counts for anything and if maybe the people in charge just pick their favorite. But especially since my ward is a mess and whoever is my alderman gets to decide if my building gets torn down to make a hospital - and also Chicago is a hot, poor mess right now - I am kind of excited to at least feel like I am part of the change.
Although, while Maryland almost always goes blue in elections, my county is extra-red so there was something to be said for having a vote that felt like it counted more. Also, my love for Barbara Mikulski knows no bounds and I'm sad I can't be involved in keeping her tush in the senate.
Anyway - this weekend brought a new Rachel to the field, one who likes identical to her license picture and has an ID that bouncers are familiar with so they no longer spend 20 minutes scrutinizing and judging. A Rachel who lives where she says she lives. For the time being.
You're braver than me. I refuse to get a Louisiana license, not only because I hate it, but because I don't know what that would say about me to people at home. I don't want to go home and tell people I'm from there after flashing a Louisiana license. I don't ever want to not be from there. It might be easier if I lived somewhere I liked, somewhere that made me feel a part of it, like Chicago has for you. But not New Orleans. I'll never be from here.
I forgot to tell you that I shook Ms. Mikulski's hand at our gala last month. She made me feel tall. :)
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