I’ve been to hell. I spell it…I spell it DMV
~ Les Claypool
A typical Monday morning for me is a lot more Bangles and a lot less Primus. But I don’t typically go to the DMV first thing Monday morning. Walking out of the house with my lunch, my kid, my dog, a piece of fresh fruit for school, the mail that needs to go out, both doors locked, alarm on, cats fed, do I have my phone… that’s enough for me on an average Monday. But as of this Monday morning I have been married for six weeks. I have had an expired driver’s license with the wrong name for five. It was time to take the bull by the horns.
But why Monday morning? Because I had already given the DMV four shots. The first time I went very early in the morning, just after they opened. I went first to the courthouse for a copy of our marriage certificate and then immediately to the DMV. Nope, I still needed a social security card. No problem. Went to the social security office. An hour and half in to my wait at the social security office the muzak was making me anxious. I elected to drive very carefully and under the speed limit on my expired license until my social security card came in the mail. I filled out the form, put my marriage certificate and my birth certificate (an original copy from when I was a baby, how proud am I for never losing THAT!?) in to an envelope and sent it on its merry way.
A week or so later my documents were returned to me sans social security card. This seems like a strange waste of money but what do I know. And three days later my card arrived. Back to the DMV I go. This time in the middle of the day, the day that Em graduated when I had an hour or so free in the middle of the day. I thought that was an appropriate way to honor the little graduate. “Congrats on your accomplishment, welcome to the real world. You’re going to the DMV.” We went in, we got a number, we sat down. The tricky numbering system of both Letters and Numbers means you never really know how many people are in front of you. But it was shortly after eleven o’clock in the morning. And when I overheard a woman say that she had been there since 8:45 am I elected to call it quits. I would never make it out of there before Em lost her mind.
Trip to the DMV number three . Seven am. They don’t open until eight. I am almost giddy with excitement as I pull in to the parking lot and round the corner to see…. thirty two people already in line. Yes, I counted.
Trip number four , the suspense is mounting can you feel it? 3:00 pm, two hours before they close. Packed to the gills and no longer handing out tickets. Sigh, another weekend as a daredevil without a valid license.
I was not to be defeated. Enter Primus. Trips one through four did not have theme songs. This was clearly my problem. (Special thanks to MQD for reminding me of this stellar tune.) Nor did they have beach chairs. Or refreshments. Or books. I was first in line. It was just almost 6:30 am. For the first twenty minutes I was all alone. It was almost like early morning at the beach, only in a strip mall. The sun on your legs, but you can still feel the chill in the air from the night before. And then I was joined by the second person in line. I mustered every bit of “Please do not talk to me” I have and kept my face in my book. Ten, twenty minutes passed. “I thought I would be first in line,” he said. I only smiled. Success. He went out to his car to get a book. At approximately 7:30 a man asked me if he could get in front of me for $20. “Sure, and in front of all these other people… at $20 a pop, I figure that will run you between four and five hundred bucks.” And another big smile. That conversation didn’t last long either.
Eight am, on the dot, the door opens. I get my ticket A101. “Now serving A101 at desk 1.” This alone was reason to celebrate. My personal DMV employee having come straight from the 1984 Police Academy cast of extras was the icing on the cake.
“How long have you been married? You’re the happiest damn woman I have ever seen at the DMV. ”
“Do you ever act like a total bitch? My boyfriend he just bought me four new tires and I was hateful to him last night, just hateful… I didn’t sleep at all thinking about it…”
“Only 35 years old, you’re real sexy. I’m not a lesbian, I have had the same boyfriend for 16 years, been with the DMV for 20. In Siler City for 17. But you’re really chesty for being so thin, that’s nice.”
She has me smooth out my pigtails before I take my picture. “Ooh, now that is a nice picture. You have a real nice face, m’aam. A real nice face.”
“You know this is a real stressful job, you have no idea. Now I need to read off of this card and quit cutting up… you practice writing that brand new name for a few minutes.”
I thought she was going to hug me when I left. With my temporary driver’s license in hand. At 8:16 am. The best Monday morning I have had in some time. And the very best trip to the DMV. Hands down.
In eight more years I hope to go back and say hello to her again. In the meantime, this happy gal with the nice jugs and the real nice face will be driving willy-nilly all over the place.