I was pretty proud of myself last month when I discovered the ultimate method for evading jury duty. I'm still pretty proud of myself because, even though the Erie County Commissioner of Jurors was a sore loser about it, I think I've won the battle.
The original summons was sent to my parents' house in Buffalo. By the time it had been forwarded to Kars, the period of time I had to reply or suffer the consequences had almost expired. And by the time the letter I wrote declining their kind invitation reached them, it clearly had expired, because a second notice was sent to Buffalo, forwarded to Kars, and emailed to Sydney. This one informed me that I'd ignored a summons for jury duty and would face a $1000 fine and/or 30 days imprisonment if I didn't provide a damn good excuse and provide it right now.
Which my Dad did for me. And since no one has turned up on my doorstep looking to lock me up, I think the whole thing has sorted itself out. This means it's time to move on to the next problem associated with fleeing the country of your birth - that of the driving license.
I'd like to have a driving license. Some of the most amazing sights in Australia are completely inaccessible unless you have a car (or a whole lot of money and a desire to see the country from the inside of an air-conditioned coach with a few dozen American retirees). My New York State license is not valid because a) I don't have a NYS address anymore and b) I'm no longer an official NYS resident.
And unfortunately, I can't get a New South Wales license either, because I've left the country in the past six months. The logic there is somewhat unclear to me, since before that trip to Seattle I'd been here for over thirteen months straight, but hey. I don't make the rules. Clearly. Or competent drivers who happen to be residents of Nowhere could exchange their international licenses just as easily as competent drivers who are residents of the USA.
That, it seems, is the problem. Somewhere between my move to Australia and my parents' move to Canada, I lost my resident status. I am a resident of Australia for tax purposes, but for all other purposes, I am a resident of Nowhere.
Or Neverwhere, as my Dad suggests. And I think that's what I'll go with. If I have to be a resident of a non-existent country, you can be damn sure it's going to be a magical one!