1. My driver’s license expires this year, and a couple of months ago the Secretary of State sent me a letter letting me know that thanks to my safe driver status, I’d be eligible to renew without going into a Secretary of State office. (Pretty easy to be a safe driver considering I had driven maybe a grand total of 20 miles since I got my Illinois driver’s license, ha.) That was great news! I had zero interest in going through the whole Secretary of State rigamarole, so renewing without having to take time out of my life to go there sounded fantastic.
And then I tried to renew without going into an office.
You have a couple options when renewing remotely, including renewing online or by mail. The by-mail form gave you space to write down a new address if yours had changed since you got your last license, which was super great considering my recent move. But the letter never specified who exactly to make the check out to, and I didn’t want to make it out to the wrong entity and have to go through everything again, so I decided to renew online instead. That was all well and good, until I got all the way through the form and realized they never once asked me if I needed to change my address. That made me especially nervous because the letter I got reminding me to renew my license in the first place specifically said that your new license wouldn’t be forwarded, so you had to put down your current address to receive it. I hoped that somehow the Secretary of State would know what they were doing and send my new license to my new apartment.
Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen. Instead, I got a letter last week telling me that they had tried to deliver my license to my old apartment but it got returned, and they wouldn’t forward it onto me. The only way for me to get a new license now would be to go into a Secretary of State office.
I was so annoyed, particularly because this was all their fault in the first place. If they had just asked for my mailing address on the online form, all of this could’ve been avoided.
I had time to kill on Tuesday and had heard rumors that the Secretary of State Express Office in the Loop is about as good as Secretary of State offices come, so I decided to go there to see if I could get all of this nonsense cleared up.
Guys. It took 12 minutes, start to finish, to get my new license. I was STUNNED. I expected to need to allot an hour, minimally, to deal with all of this, and it took TWELVE MINUTES. The Express office in the Loop truly IS as good as it gets!
2. I’ve been interested in Come From Away ever since I first learned about it during the 2017 Tony Awards, and last Sunday I finally got to go see it!
(In typical recent-show-seeing fashion, I went on its last day in Chicago, so once again it’s too late for you to go see it. BUT Broadway in Chicago just announced earlier this week that it’s coming back from August 25-September 6, 2020, so you could go see it then! You could also see Six during that time frame, because it’s also coming to Chicago from July 8-October 25, 2020. Plenty of advance warning for both shows!)
Ugh, it was amazing. Come From Away is about the town of Gander, Newfoundland in the wake of September 11. The U.S. airspace closed after the attacks, but hundreds of planes were already en route to the U.S., and many of them were too far into their flights to turn around to their origin. That meant all those planes needed to land somewhere outside the United States, and many of them went to Canada. Gander, though a rather small town, has an unusually large airport due to the fact that it’s so far east and, prior to modern airplanes, was the last available place to stop to refuel (or the first available place to stop to refuel, depending the flight’s direction) before/after crossing the Atlantic (back when planes couldn’t get across the ocean without refueling). Because of the airport’s size, it took 38 diverted flights on September 11, effectively doubling the town’s population over the course of a few hours. Because the U.S. airspace didn’t open again for a few days, all of these people were stuck in Canada until their planes could leave. The musical tells the story of how the town of Gander dropped everything to host thousands of people at a moment’s notice, and for being a musical that only exists because September 11 happened, it’s about as heartwarming of a story as I’ve ever seen.
I’m not unique in feeling this way about Come From Away, but I was overwhelmed to the point of tears at seeing this story of people taking care of other people play out in front of me. I feel like so much of what we’re exposed to is people being awful towards other people, so to see a musical about people caring for others, no strings attached, because it’s the right thing to do was really moving. I definitely, definitely recommend checking it out when it comes back next summer.