I hate to title this “my day at the DMV,” but it is what it is…
What I should be doing right now? Analyzing a piece by Schutz called “Saul was verfolgst du mich.” I’m sure I’ll get to it. I always do.
Today I had to get my tags renewed. Just typing the line, I feel like its a set up for the best/worst DMV story ever. The thing about the DMV is this: They’ve gotten a bad rap over the years but really, its our fault. Think about it. You show up to the DMV and you have all the stuff you need, you get out of there in no time! The problem exists when we as normal humans forget to bring personal property tax forms from TWO years ago. I’d put money on that little 5×8 square of doom being the culprit of most terrible DMV stories.
The DMV has become a punching bag of human society. I’m ok with it, we need punching bags; a common enemy to unite us as a society. It’s not so bad. I was in and out today in a matter of minutes. Sure the lady who helped me was lacking some of what I would consider the most basic of social skills, i.e. speaking to me in a quiet room at full voice for God and everyone to hear, or answering the phone while I’m sitting there and then mouthing words to me. Sure the place was poorly lit and there is always the couple there and you can’t quite figure out if they’re together or brother and sister but if they’re brother and sister, whose baby is she holding? And is the middle aged woman with that couple one of their moms? Or is that the mother of the baby and we’ve got a nanny situation? Then there is the impatient guy in the back who forgot to take a ticket when he first entered so now he’s behind droves of people that got to the DMV after he did (including me). But what is the etiquette in that situation? He didn’t have the wherewithal to grab a ticket when he first walked in even though its damn near Vegas lights and arrows pointing you to the ticket machine. Either way he was mad, and each time a number got called he would sigh loudly and watch the person walk up to the teller and do their business. You all know that guy, he’s the same guy who gets up and tries to get off an airplane first, even though he’s sitting in the 10th row. Yeah, that guy. He goes to the DMV too. There was the obligatory middle aged lady who was rocking the Farrah Fawcett hair with the tight mom jeans and eye make-up that hadn’t been removed since her senior prom when she danced to “Time after Time” with Rodney (why is his name Rodney?) and he broke her heart the next week when he left her for Shelly. Poor gal. She got turned away at the window today. I’m guessing it was her tax forms from two years ago, but I could be wrong. I’m probably not. I saw her leaving, tucked in long-sleeved t-shirt and reeboks. She went home to her husband who is way better than Rodney who was a turd, but I’m not convinced that she’s in love with life. There was the 16 year old girl who was getting her license for the first time. I saw her walking in from the parking lot with her mom. She was smiling. She had no idea what was about to happen to her when she walked through those doors. I kept an eye on her as she took her number from the pull-tab that everyone but Dude saw, walked over to her seat, still excited and then she sat. Her mom knew the DMV drill and immediately went in to Zen mode, mentally checking out. The girl was looking around, looking at the faces and the random Microsoft Word documents that were unevenly stapled to the walls here and there, reminding people of the checklist of thing needed to get a license, and to make checks out to MODOT and that service could be refused to anyone for anything. The girl’s spirits were high, but I knew she would leave that place like the rest of us, having taken the red pill and her eyes being opened to the true nature of the DMV. Behind the long row of tellers is an equally long wall, filled with notices, warnings, and random vintage license plates from maybe 20 or so states. Give it to the DMV, they’re trying to make it look good. Right in the middle of that long wall is what looked like a knitted sign, the kind that is sitting in your grandma’s extra bedroom and suspended from a piece of yarn tacked to the wall and holding on for dear life. This piece of 1960’s America struck me so that I actually laughed out loud for a second when I saw it (which earned me a stare from airplane/sigh guy). It summed up the bleak nature of the DMV in almost the same way that I sum up the college experience. It said “Relax, it doesn’t get better than this.” I love it.
I did my business and walked out. As I made my way out, I did a final look around the place. The couple/family/where the hell did the baby come from people were at the window, about to be turned away for not having the proper paperwork (my money is on 2011 tax receipts), the stray hairs from Ferrah were statically sealed to the chair that she previously occupied and will be stuck there forever. Airplane dude who managed to miss the sign that punches you in the face, calls you by name and begs you to take a number before you even walk in the door, he was still sitting and waiting. He looked at me when I looked at him. I did the head nod. He… he didn’t respond. I stopped at the door because I just had to know how my new friend, the first timer, the wide-eyed girl was coming along. She was still waiting, but her expression of excitement was gone. She had her phone out, because that’s all they know how to do anymore, and she was staring blankly into the screen that we always hope will give us something in return to be excited about, but it never does. I hope she got her license and that she looked beautiful in her picture because that’s a big fucking deal when you’re 16.