As an employee of city government, I am theoretically forbidden from kvetching about the incompetencies overt within the system. But every so often I find myself standing in line in some local government office for three hours at a time, watching as precious minutes of my life pass me by, and think, “Seriously, G-d, is this regarding the time I lied in second grade about having a house made out of knishes? Because I thought we worked that out 15 years ago.”
Today was DMV Day. And true to Murphy’s Law, everything that can go wrong, did go wrong, including yours truly forgetting to bring critical paperwork with her and having to board a train to Mama B’s home to reclaim said paperwork.
And, of course, when I finally had gathered together all my documents– proving I was neither an illegal alien nor a convicted felon– I was forced to wait in three separate lines. The first– to have my photo taken. The second– to have someone review the validity of my identifying documents. And the third– to inform me I would not receive an actual copy of my brand spanking new license for 7-10 day business days. Or as the DMV lady phrased it, “Good luck trying to get into a bar this weekend!”
Now I ask you, were three separate and distinct lines really necessary to carrying out the simple task at hand, which was renewing my license? If not for the assortment of colorful characters who both work and frequent the DMV, I might have gone entirely mad. But between the Chinese man who seemed uncertain of his permanent address (red flag!) and the old Jewish grandma, who had forgotten her glasses, and had therefore filled out her forms incorrectly, there was lots of noise and distraction.
My personal favorite, a.k.a. saving grace, was a seven year old boy who must have sensed I work in childcare, because he ran up to me as soon as I entered the DMV and announced, “You are my new best friend.” We talked about legos and Star Wars and the right age to introduce your children to coffee (I said 7, he argued 5). And at the end of our schmooze, I was already through line one.
His mother, sadly, had just completed line three. Hayden, my saving grace, was forced to depart, but not before bidding me farewell and asking his mother if I could “come over and play Risk sometime.” She winked and whispered, “I think someone has a crush on you,” oh so conspicuously pointing in the direction of her hyperactive son. Now if only I could attract men my own age…