Naomi Alderman's The Power has been sitting on my bookshelf since Christmas. My husband bought it for me. It was bundled with Jesmyn Ward's Sing Unburied Sing; I think I reviewed this book in an earlier post as "excellent" and "horrifying." Which probably discounts me from ever getting to write a blurb on someone's book jacket.
Anyway, I started reading The Power this week. I'm not finished, but I was hooked from the first page. The premise is this: What happens when young girls start showing signs of an unusual power, when they no longer have to be afraid? Of anyone. Because they can shoot electricity out of their hands!!!!! "How did you find this book?" I asked my husband. "The author wrote Zombies, Run!," my husband answered. Zombies, Run is a running program my husband likes - you jog, listening to your music, when suddenly a voice interrupts, telling you where to get supplies, and hurry because zombies are headed your way. So you run faster because there are ever-increasing growls as the zombies are chasing you. And then there's a whole story line concerning the intrigues of the survivors, and Naomi Alderman is responsible for all this running goodness. It also explains why I've never heard of her. I twisted an ankle the last time I tried to jog, and now, just thinking about running makes me start mincing my steps like an old lady walking in clogs. I suppose I could talk with a sports psychologist to conquer my fear of jogging, but, eh... I just walk fast with ankle weights, and I'm sure it's just as good.
Tuesday I took Older to the DMV for a Learner's Permit. This may seem non-germane to my book review, but stay with me. I don't know when last you visited the DMV, but it is as bad as you remember. I thought I would celebrate this milestone with drinks and fries from Chick-Fil-A that I purchased before picking up Older from school. Much appreciated by Older, and I bought myself a large diet lemonade, so then I had to use the restroom at the DMV, not once, not twice, but 3 TIMES!!!!! OMG, DMV! The restroom is frightful. And then, THEN, after 2 hours of waiting we make our way to station 19. I start pulling out the paperwork, and The Lady asks for more proof of residence. What I have brought is not good enough. I pull out some papers. "No, I need something else. Do you have a gun permit?" Do I look like I have a gun permit? I really think I'm going to cry. I had read the checklist obsessively, but I still missed this. And so we leave. Older remarks, "Now I understand why grown-ups are so scared of the DMV. Also, that reference in Zootopia."
So, this is where The Power and the DMV come together. After being dismissed because of my insufficient residential proof, I was so wishing I could send some electrical currents their way. Not to really harm anyone, just to jolt The Lady into recognizing the proofs I did bring.
Of course, I am rendered completely powerless. As I explained to Older: The DMV is like a hostile kingdom. But we cannot ignore them for they, and they alone, have something we want, and so we must bend the knee to their Mother of Dragons in order to get this necessary prize.
Two days later we remount our invasion. I have all the paperwork I had on Tuesday, but now I am also armed with Homeowner's Insurance, Mortgage loan, bank statements, and my W-2. Would you believe not a single utility bill as arrived this month? I mention this to my co-workers. "Why don't you just go to the Rosenberg DMV?" They say this like it's a thing. I don't mean to be dense, but does everyone know about the DMV of Rosenberg, Texas? Is this some magical place, the DMV of Light? Does this tiny hamlet really hold the treasure we seek? My co-worker made it sound like Disney, complete with fast passes, "Just reserve a place in line on-line." I know, I know, this Rebel Alliance DMV sounds like a hoax. Or a trap. But I'm desperate, so off we go, me and Older. Yay - road trip!
Yep, waiting. The website would not allow us to book a spot in line, so we're just waiting. Older and I visit the bathrooms - much nicer in Rosenberg, we both agree. The wait is about an hour, and then we are seated (seated!) at a desk with Marianne. Who very nicely assures me that the proof of residence requirements are spelled out quite clearly on the website. I still contend they are not, but I do so in my head. Just because this fiefdom is friendlier does not mean I should feel too comfortable. Marianne writes down all the requirements needed for when Older gets his actual license. "You won't need to bring proof of residence to that," she says. Whatever. I'm laminating my W-2, and it will go with me everywhere! When Older turns 16 we will return to this magical land of friendly, helpful folk. And then maybe we'll tour other parts of Rosenberg; if their DMV is this good, imagine what the rest of the town is like!
And, boom - we have a Learner's Permit!
I text my friends and family. My college roommate who hosted a baby shower for this kid texts me back, "I had not realized that 5 year olds were allowed to get their permit in Texas." Because it just can't be that Older is really and truly 15 years old. Do you know that I would pay good money if I could have 5 year old Older for just one day?
Of course, then I wouldn't be able to afford my new car insurance...