August 22, 2007

Present! At the DMV

I needed a picture license renewal. So I prettied myself up, grabbed a funny book and headed out. New Jersey's DMV used to be horrible in mythical proportions. Even Tyre Iorn, the god of fixing big problems, couldn't fix it. Somehow, though, over the years, they've gotten a lot better. I'm assuming by accident. But I practically wanted to have lunch and go shopping with the lovely lady who greeted me at the door and gently took me over to the table to get my affairs in order.

You need so many points, you know, for them to consider giving you a new license. You can't just waltz in there with that shoddy piece of identification they gave you the last time and think that it is worth the $24 worth of psychedelic plastic they hologramed your picture on. The fact that the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles issued you a license four years ago means nothing, do you hear me? Nothing. Don't even think it does. Because it does not. You are nothing all over again this year, in need of proving your very existence and identity with many sheets of important documental paperage. So start scrounging through bills, lock boxes and assorted wallets, if you'd like to continue your driving privileges.

So this nice lady sorted through my paperage and was satisfied that I am who I am. Just like I was saying I was. She pointed to a beautiful woman in the corner, typing on a laptop. I grabbed my documents, now neatly paper clipped together in an efficient pile and carried them proudly over to the woman. My presence had just been confirmed and verified. Now I awaited further acknowledgement of some sort. She stared at her laptop for a few moments, which I certainly did not mind at all. I am not the impatient type. We expect delays at the DMV, so we are not disappointed when they occur. However, after a few moments of acting natural, I couldn't help feeling like a dog staring at t-bones. I waited, holding my papers, neatly, responsibly, trying not to stare or look too anxious or clear my throat by accident. Take Your Time. Eye contact. Please. She took my papers for a moment, told me to take a seat and paper clipped a number card to my documentational stack. Number 68.

68. 68. All I have to do is hear the number 68, then the aisle
to which I should report and things will be A-okay. How am I going to squeeze into that bank of tight seating? Where's my documentational paperage!? There it is. Do not worry. It is tucked nicely inside your book. Why don't you read and relax. There's a guy's head directly behind mine. I mean directly. If I nodded, I'd conk it. Remain still, look down and read. What IS UP with that lady's TOES!? Never mind. It would be rude to try and figure that out. Read. Why in the world would they put all these chairs so close together? It can't even be healthy. Do they want a whole state of sick, toe-problemed people driving around endangering other people? What! Did she say 68?!

I reported to aisle 5 where my lady had turned in her chair and was talking to another lady about another case. So I stood there. Fine, whatever.

Left leg....right leg....both. No, that makes me look too eager. Sniff...pant. Is that a t-bone? You know, I believe they think they're doing me a big favor. No, that's not the way it is, sister. I pay for this crap. She is basically working for me, in reality. She needs to turn right around and not be so rude. How far is this going to go? She acts like if she felt like going to get a granola bar at this very moment, she would be well within her rights to just slide her duff off that stool and wander over to the snack cart and - What did she call me for if she was so busy? I could be reading. I have a very funny book.

She turned around, did something official, took my number, gave me back my marriage license and my birth certificate and told me that she was not going to take my check in that line and to sit down and listen for my name.

None of this number stuff anymore. You little minions, still waiting for your number to be called. I have passed on to the name level, people. How hard can that be? Sit up straight, you know your name well. Jennifer. ~Whistle~ I'm just sitting here chillin' waiting for my name. Hee hee. This book is so funny. I could sit here all morning and just read.

I was sitting across from a nice little old man who was glancing at me in a friendly way. I'm not sure where the lady with the toes went. When I left her, she was performing the obligatory DMV grumble to a lady sitting across from her. Someone has to. You got the businesswoman sitting on the edge of her seat text-messaging, you got the big guy who just took an hour off working in the stockroom taking deep sighs, reaching his hands up into the air checking his watch and sinking back into the little red seat he's dwarfing, you got the announcer/helper type who's always keeping people abreast of progress - "Oh, I think she called your number, sir. Aisle 8 is behind that wall. Do you have your number card? The water fountain is over there, Sweety." And then you have the woman with the toes and the watery St. Bernard eyes, grumbling about the state of things at the state DMV to the nice woman across from her with the words "Cry on my shoulder" tattooed to her forehead. And then you have the middle aged mom, trying to look like she's reading and practicing her manners.
When you have that toe problem, you do not wear sandals.

A beautiful little girl sat across from me at her mother's direction and touched her shoe to mine. I smiled at her. She licked her lollipop and gave me one of those, "I don't really know if I should smile at you. Give me another reason to and I'll think about it" looks. The old man caught me chuckling at my book and asked me if I was reading a funny book. I showed him the cover and said something droll like, "Well, I thought I might as well read something funny, if I had to be here!" I kill me. He asked, trying to be friendly and make conversation, "Did you get that new book out now...?" I looked at him with squinty eyes, head cocked, trying to look like I just might know what he's talking about with just a tad more information. He tried, "The, um, one with the guy's name...It's a man's name." Hm. No, I was sorry, I couldn't quite figure it still. I was wondering if he felt embarrassed, struggling with his old forgetful brain. I wanted to tell him that I can never remember anything either with my younger version. He was wearing a veterans shirt and I wanted to ask him if he was a veteran. But we were all so tightly packed in there and I didn't feel like holding a public private conversation. So I dropped it, wishing I were braver. Then he looked down and appeared to be thinking and then I looked down and appeared to be reading.

She called my name. My glorious name.
I have a great name, if you think about it.

Then she took my money and my picture, proving my presence and whoage once again. I didn't look down at the spot on the camera she pointed to this time, because last time it made me look mean and sleepy and I'm not saying I'm not mean and sleepy, but I don't want it to be memorialized in hologram for four years. So I looked directly into the camera, rebelling against DMV law. Then she handed me my old and my new license.

Then I decided that it is time for a new hairdo. Or just a hairdo.


'B' said...

How freaky is that, I am amazed that you were not wearing the same top!

Here from Michele's on an overcast and cold Sydney afternoon...

Paul said...

I like this Kansas' way of doing DMV bidness. 6 year driver's licence; on-line or mail-in car tag renewal. And I can donate my organs, too. Ah, peace in the valley.

Ooooh look! The word verification is UDAHHNICE

rosemary said...

You didn't have to take a test? That's not fair. They make our cute little licenses right there while we wait too...all laminated and pretty. I agree with the toe thing...and you know someone has a toe problem when they wear sandals and sox!!

gina said...

Rosemary is right - you ARE a very talented and funny writer! This post was GREAT! We don't have to take tests here either (c'mon Rosemary, you knew that, right?), and we can get a license that is good for EIGHT years! They are now on that hard plastic with a digital photograph - no more laminating (clearly, Rosemary hasn't renewed hers in a while ;)). When they asked if I wanted an 8 year license, I said "but what if the picture sucks. I'm stuck with a sucky picture for 8 years." She replied, "in 8 years you'll probably look at it and say "dang, I wish I still looked that good!" I got the 8 year license. I think it's pretty Twilight Zoneish that you look almost exactly the same. You're not from Earth, are you? How can someone not change one whit in for years? Where's that fountain you're hiding? Or that time machine.