my fianWHAT?

Last week I decided to check into getting us a land line at the house. It's nice to have a phone number associated with us as a unit and not one or the other of us as well as nice to have a line that will ring all over the house at 3am if there's an emergency and not just in my purse. So I went onto Verizon's web site and filled out an order for a land line with caller id, voicemail and unlimited long distance. It seemed super easy and they were supposed to install it today. Yesterday, I got an email saying I needed to verify some information on my account before I could complete the order. I had put the order in my new married name of Surname* and thought maybe they had a question about that. If only it had been that simple. The woman on the phone told me that since the previous account was under Genevieve Grumble* (the placeholder for my previous married name) and this new account was for Genie Surname, I needed to fax them proof of identity for them to complete the order. I explained that Surname was a new name for me and I don't have anything yet with that name on it. I could put the phone in the name Punky* and give them some proof of that as my current name, but that I don't have any thing to prove that Ms. Grumble became Ms. Punky other than my divorce paperwork which is many pages long and not something I'm interested in faxing to the phone company. *(Surname, Punky and Grumble are silly pseudonyms of actual last names.)

She assured me that this was all for my protection and that they have no way of knowing that Genevieve Grumble and Genie Surname are the same person and that I just need to show "proof of identity" over a fax and it would be all set. I explained that I wasn't sure how faxing my driver's license (providing I had one that said Genie Surname or Genevieve Surname or anything other than Genevieve Alisa Punky) would prove what I look like over the phone or who I am. It sounded like they needed a trail of all my marital statuses and how I changed names over the years and I'm not sure how to prove that other than with a marriage license, divorce paperwork and second marriage license, all of which were things I wasn't interested in sending the damn phone company. I also threw in a jab that I was fascinated that the phone company required more stringent policies for identification than the airports do. That got me more assurances that this was for my protection.

Then I asked the pressing question of if I had filled out the form online as Genevieve Grumble, would they have just let me have a phone and I could have suffered with mail coming to the house in my old name to have a phone already instead of arguing with her. She explained that even if I had filled it out as Grumble, I would have had to contact them since they would have required a deposit from me because of my previous balance.

Me (getting pissed): "Hunh? What balance?"

Phone lady: "We show that you had a balance that went to collections, so our policy is to require a $200 deposit before activating a new account for you."

Me: "You're telling me I owe you money now? I haven't had a land line in years."

Lady: "No, we sent it to collections. We don't know how much it was for or if it was paid, just that we sent it to collections for non-payment so we would need a deposit from you."

And then everything clicked into place. I did have $300 worth of a phone bill from Verizon go to a collections agency. It was the $300 of phone bill that Brian ran up after Jeremy and I both moved out of the house. I left the phone in my name because they wouldn't let me transfer it without killing that number and Brian would have had to apply for a new line all over again (after several days of no phone). Since he was my friend, I just left it for the last 6 months he was going to be there. Later after going through my mail at the house, I found out that he hadn't paid the bill when I found all the cut off notices sent to Genie Grumble for the phone. So I paid Verizon to try and save my credit rating since the phone company had already disconnected the phone. But over five years later, I was being told I can't get a Verizon phone line without a deposit because I was apparently a credit risk to them. I could probably shake a DUI faster than Brian's $300 phone bill in my name.

At this point I explained that I was not angry at the woman since she was just the messenger. I also explained that I sounded very agitated because I was mad at the person who ran up a phone bill I had to pay off and has caused me grief years later. I told her that I might have my husband call back and get a phone in his name or I might call another phone company that didn't have such high standards, but that I was done with this conversation for the moment. She thanked me for calling and hoped I had a wonderful day.

If I were ruler of the world, there would be a simple one page form that allows you to list all aliases on it, with date ranges when that name may have been used. This form should also come in credit card format, so I can easily show it to any phone company, DMV, airport TSA agent or other individual who might question who I am who I was or who I might like to become. It should be a legal form of identification just like a passport or driver's license. You could even elect to include internet usernames and/or reenactment persona names as alternate names and all of these would link back to the name on your birth certificate which would be the primary key in the table of your aliases. You can choose to get paperwork using any of the aliases on your card so long as the site had a file of your original name for reference. And then it wouldn't matter if you went by Casper or Sparky or Tripp so long as you had a reference card.

Needless to say we don't have a land line yet and I'm too mad about the whole thing to move forward with it. Maybe in a week or two I might find a company that doesn't treat me like a criminal with multiple aliases.

In addition to all that, today I called to find out how much it would cost to get a copy of our marriage license so I could start the ball rolling to change my name. The clerk told me our license hasn't been returned yet and that our pastor must not have mailed it. I explained that we were married over a month ago and that if there were a weak link in this whole process Kevin was not it. A quick email to Kevin verified that he had indeed mailed it registered mail and had a photocopy of the completed form before he sent it, but the circuit court had lost it. I called back and they "checked around" again but they don't have it. For my convenience, though, I can get a reprint and have my pastor fill it out again and take it back in person.

Clerk: "You and your fiance just need to come back and sign a form and get a reprint and then your pastor can fill it out again and you can do this in person."

Me: "You mean my husband?"

Clerk: "Um, your uh ..."

Me: "Nevermind. Rich and I will come back tomorrow when I'm not so irritated, but our pastor lives over 3 hours away so it will be a bit before we can get it back to you. I'm sure you'll let me know if you happen to find that envelope of registered mail lying around your office."

When I hung up I realized that today is the anniversary of when Jeremy and I were married nine years ago. It probably was best I stayed away from the courthouse today after all.

This is why people just jump over a broom and be done with it.