“I am recently widowed and I want to change the name on my licence back to my maiden name” I told the lifeless, bored young woman at the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) counter.
“Do you have your marriage certificate?” she asked without looking at me.
I produced a certified copy of the certificate and laid it on the counter in front of her.
“Oh” she said, finally looking at me “and I’ll need the divorce papers”.
“I don’t know if you know this” I said after a small pause “but you don’t actually need to get divorced if your husband is dead. Here is the death certificate”.
She looked down at the two pieces of paper in front of her and frowned “Where are the originals?”
“The courts have them because they are still deciding whether I deserve to be the executor of my husband’s estate. Apparently being separated for six weeks after sixteen years of marriage somehow puts my eligibility in question” I told her.
She wasn’t listening to me. She was fixated on the white photocopies in front of her and roughly pushed them back at me.
“We can’t do anything without the originals so you’ll have to get them and come back”.
So here I am filling in Births, Deaths and Marriages applications again for replacement certificates and paying another $80 for the privilege. Ironically, I’m using my licence to prove my identity so that they’ll send them to me. It is funny who makes such a fuss about this and who doesn’t — the bank, airlines and the passport office are completely happy with a certified copy but the old RTA wants to make sure I’m not a fraud.
Soon it will all be over — I will no longer be Mrs H on any of my documentation, I will be Miss P as I once was, and will be for the rest of my life.
(Some of the my responses to her questions were enhanced for dramatic purposes but ALL of it went on in my head!)