Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The DMV Again

Cascading tidal waves of dread washed over me, growing more powerful with each mile as I hurtled toward my doom… OK, that’s a bit much, but still… I was not looking forward to my destination. I was going to the DMV.

Like any American with a pulse and an IQ above room temperature, I avoid the DMV like the plague. Literally, I think if there is another outbreak of the plague, it will start at the DMV. Have you seen some of the people in line? Seriously.

But, alas, I had to take care of something that could not be handled through the mail. The last time I was forced by bureaucracy and bad luck to go to the DMV, I made an appointment. Appointments are really the way to go. Last time, I was in and out of the building in eleven minutes, and luckily, plague-free.

This time I could not make an appointment. This time I just needed to go and get it over with if it took all day. This time I would have to sit in the plague section and wait with the masses. This time was going to suck. I just knew it.

The DMV office opens at 8:00 A.M., but the school won’t let me drop the kids off any earlier than 7:30. Something about not having anyone ready to supervise them, blah, blah. At 7:30:01 I sped past all the idling cars to the front of the drop-off line, shoved the boys out of the car, threw their backpacks out the passenger window onto the pavement, and squealed out of the parking lot. I could see one of the teachers on parking lot drop-off duty in my rearview mirror, running after my car with her hands in the air shouting something. Probably, “Good luck at the DMV!” or something like that. A few of the parents parked in the drop-off lane gave me the good luck thumbs-up. At least, I think they were thumbs…

Who cares, I’m late.

With a string of broken and fractured traffic laws behind me, I wheeled into the DMV parking lot at 7:55 A.M. There were already twenty-two people standing in a line that stretched from the door all the way across the lot. Just for a split second I contemplated stepping on the gas and removing the back half of the line, but decided against it. I just parked instead.

The first guy in line up by the glass doors has a sleeping bag. He's a pro. Or homeless and just needs to use the restroom. Maybe there’s only twenty-one people in front of me?

I reluctantly take my place in line as plague victim number twenty-three.
More people arrive every minute.
The guy two people behind me is very chatty. It’s almost as if he doesn’t mind being here. He is obviously deranged.
In very un-DMV fashion, the doors open promptly at 8:00 A.M.
The line surges forward three feet.
We wait.
Chatty guy is a personal trainer. He’s excited about fitness and all things fitness-related. If that’s the case, why would he come to ground zero for the plague?
I am finally at the glass doors.
I make it to the front desk at 8:10 A.M. and get my number.
I am number B012.
Twelve. OK, twelve is not bad.
I sit down in the least plague-looking seat I can find.
Personal trainer guy is questioning people on what gym they go to. He is looking for new clients. Does he not know this is the DMV? Look around, dude. Most of these folks look like they can’t even spell gym. Or Jim. Or DMV. I don’t think “get a personal trainer” is high on their to-do list.
They are now serving G002.
I am B012. What does that mean?
I am momentarily distracted from my number confusion by the signs attached to the counter. All of them are missing letters. One says, “Please ot leai children unattended.” There is also “lease do e c ildren on counter,” and “as do o hld e ate d.”
That last one looks more like an eye chart now than a sign.
They are now serving B006 at Window 11. OK, I think that's good, we’re in the B numbers again. Although I don't really know how many people are between B006 and B012 with this system.
Personal trainer guy has found someone who has an actual gym membership.
We are now on B008. Excellent.
I need to use the restroom. Not excellent. I am scared to leave the lobby and miss my turn. I am also scared of the bathroom at the DMV, or Plague Central, as it’s probably known. I will hold it.
They just called another G number. What does that mean?
Personal trainer guy is explaining to gym membership guy that he doesn’t have any actual clients yet, but he does train his little brother. Hmm… I worked out with a family member once, too, but I never called myself a personal trainer.
They just called A001. What does that mean!? We went from G’s to A’s? I’m a B. How many people are in front of me? Are there people who were left over from yesterday that slept here in the chairs? That guy over there looks like he might have.
B009. OK, good. I think.
Family fitness guy is still working the room. He’s just begging for the plague. He still doesn’t have any clients besides his brother.
B010. OK, we’re staying in the B’s. This is good.
I really need to pee.
B011. Sweet, I’m next.
G008. Dammit!
Someone behind me just coughed. Plague alert! I’m moving.
A004. How in the hell does this number system wor…
That’s me!
Reporting to Window 7!
Here’s my forms. Here’s my check. Everything is in order. Boom! Three minutes at Window 7 and I’m outta here!

A mere twenty-eight minutes after the doors had opened, I walked out of the DMV plague-free (to the best of my knowledge), and with a solid lead on a new personal trainer with a very positive outlook on life.

Maybe the DMV isn’t so bad these days?

Well… let’s not get carried away.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2015 Marc Schmatjen

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