Another horror story about the MVA

This Just In...

September 02, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

Of all the stories from the floor of the Motor Vehicle Administration -- I got a million of 'em by now (especially since last week's columns on the subject) -- Lori Britton's is the one I chose to relate. It might prompt an MVA supervisor to issue a memo that says: If you see a woman with a cast on her leg and crutches under her arms, don't make her wait in line almost two hours for a new driver's license! You got it?

Three times Lori Britton has had surgery to reconstruct ligaments in her right ankle. She has a neurological disorder called reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The most recent surgery took place August 6. While hospitalized, Lori lost her driver's license. As soon as she could, she went to the MVA in Glen Burnie to get a new one.

She hobbled into the place on crutches, right leg in a hard cast.

"I knew what I needed to bring with me for identification," says Lori, who's 28 and lives in Columbia. "A birth certificate, my marriage license, my Social Security card."

After a 45-minute wait in line, she presented all this to a clerk. The clerk wouldn't accept it because the birth certificate was a photocopy. It didn't seem to matter that the birth certificate, issued in Lori's native state several years ago as a replacement for the original, bore the Michigan state seal. It didn't matter that Lori had used this same certificate successfully in 1990 when she first applied for a Maryland driver's license. Nope. Didn't matter.

"So then a [MVA] manager asked me for a passport or some sort of military identification," Lori says. "Neither of which I had."

She offered a Visa card, a bank card, a Giant courtesy card. Bingo on the Giant card! "That'll do," an irritated MVA employee told her. "That will be accepted along with your marriage license."

As strange as that sounded, Lori didn't argue. She got in the next line. Stood there 15 minutes. When she reached the counter, the woman behind it announced her lunch break.

So Lori hobbled to the next line, waited 10 more minutes and had her application validated. Then she went to the third processing station, to pay for her new license. She waited there 10 minutes. She waited another 20 to have her photograph snapped. She waited another 10 for her license.

And at no time during all this -- close to two hours -- did Lori Britton ask for special treatment. At no time did she ask to be ushered to the front of lines.

She didn't dare.

'Radar,' the artist

Gary "Radar O'Reilly" Burghoff comes to Baltimore in a couple of weeks, and not for a "M*A*S*H*" convention. Twelve years after the last bug-out of the 4077th and the end of one of television's most popular sitcoms, one of its most popular characters has established himself as an artist. Burghoff, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of the cuddly company clerk in "M*A*S*H*," has been painting for years, mostly with oils but sometimes in watercolor. His specialty unites a love of painting a love of animals. Radar, who slept with a teddy (Klinger used to sleep in one), is a wildlife artist. Look for him, along with original paintings and limited editions, at Bendann Gallery in Towson on Sept. 14.

If you see. . .

If you see Dorothy Talbot, high priestess of the Hot Sauce Festival on Sept. 15, tell her I'll be glad to be a judge again -- but this time Mencken's Cultured Pearl pays the cleaning bill if I get shpritzed by exploding sauces. . . . If you run into the Morgan State Choir, lay some high-fives all around; the choir's "Silver Celebration" special raised $45,000 in one telecast for Maryland Public Television. . . If you see Jonathan Palevsky, congenial host of WBJC-FM's "Face The Music" and other classical programs, ask him about his recent trip to Russia -- and the soldiers who smashed bottles on their heads. . . . If you see William Donald Schaefer, ask him about his new house in Fells Point; we hear he closed on the deal. . . . If you see Chuck Ecker, encourage him to run for governor. . . . If you happen into Patisserie Poupon on East Baltimore Street one morning, try the brioche; it's great. . . . If you see City Council President Lawrence Bell, ask what he intends to sing next Saturday night at the variety show benefit for Arena Playhouse. (The cast is loaded with local pols. For ticket information, call 728-0666).

Friends School benefit

The Baltimore-Hollywood connection grows stronger -- this time with native son Holter Graham (Friends School, 1990) in a Columbia release entitled, "Fly Away Home." Surpassing the tired old boy-meets-girl tale, "Fly Away Home" is a girl-meets-geese story. Goes like this: Girl finds eggs. Geese hatch from eggs. Geese think girl is mother. Geese can't fly. Girl's father builds plane and teaches geese to fly. Stars Oscar-winner Anna Paquin ("The Piano") as daughter, Jeff Daniels as dad and Graham as dad's best friend. A special showing Sept. 16 at the Senator will benefit the Friends School Scholarship Endowment. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for kids under 12. Family max is $50.

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