Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day at the DMV - a short play in three acts

Act 1

After a normal day of errands, work and shuttling kids home from school a road weary mom, in remarkably good shape for her age, walks to the curb to get the mail. Always hopeful that today I will be getting the 1 million dollars that Ed McMahon has promised to ME for the past three decades I carefully pull the bundle from the box. Quickly rifling through the "junk mail" I discover a plain white envelope with the return address - Dept. of Motor Vehicles aka DMV. Allowing only a few seconds to elapse, I rip open the envelope and read the short letter. " You must renew your license on or before your birthday" Okay. You must bring a valid ID and $26 dollars. Okay. You must get your picture taken AHHHAAHAHAHAHA.

Act 2
Realizing the magnitude of the problem and it's long lasting effects I devise a plan.

1. Read and re-read the letter for any errors or loop holes.

2. Schedule appointment online to avoid hearing, "Hold please", which we all know is code for, "Suffer fool".

3. Post appointment to calender and carefully pin letter to bulletin board - so that you won't forget and it won't get lost.

4. 10 days prior to appointment get hair cut. 7 days before color hair. 3 days before get a facial.


Act 3

Rising early on the big day, I decide to go for a run, believing that I will accomplish two things; work off my nervousness and get the blood flowing so that my skin will glow. After a long relaxing shower I carefully apply my make-up, put hot rollers in my hair and drink a cup of green tea. Everything is going as planned. The phone rings - Yes, NO, Yes, well no, NO, No, NO gotta go. Okay Okay The wardrobe selection proceeds with no problems.

Out the door and on the road with the DMV letter and the navigation set. Everything is going as planned. Until - What happened?

Where is the DMV??. The nav. keeps saying, 'recalculating, recalculating. I'm looking at the map. They moved?? Must follow voice commands. Must do as I am told. Must not be late. Arriving at destination on left. Re-check face for signs of terror, re-apply lipstick. Good, Good.

There are 150 people here. Excuse me , Excuse me, I have an appointment. Fill out form and WAIT. NO NO NO NO! I sit down in the molded plastic chair that can't possibly be comfortable for any human and my heart sinks. I have not brought anything to pass the time. I don't have a magazine, I don't have a book, I DON'T HAVE MY KNITTING???? Why didn't I pin that to the bulletin board?

I slyly check the other peoples faces. I hear a lady arguing with the clerk. She must be crazy. They have a robot voice announcing over the loud speaker, "now serving number 273 at window c14" Where am I? Have I left the planet? Am I in tomorrow land? Must stay calm. 10 minutes, 20 minutes. I check my purse for an emery board. I clean my wallet. I sort through the receipts. 30 minutes. There are no magazines anywhere. Not even an old Car and Driver magazine. Shouldn't they have that one? I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT!! 33 MINUTES. "Now serving 315 at window c17" Hey that's me. I'm cool. I'm walking through the sad people waiting, and I am trying to find window c17, only I'm lost. It's way in the back and unlabeled. I decide not to complain.
Yes, Thank you. Okay. Yes. Wait a minute those people in the corner are taking a test. Do I have to take a test? I thought it was bad enough that I have to get my picture taken
No, next time. I consider this an act of mercy. Do you take a debit card? Yes, Good. Okay. Thank you., wait in the next line.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. I am watching a lady grade tests. She stamps the forms as if she were killing a large bug and then calls out names, you passed, you passed, I'm so sorry you didn't pass. I have now been standing in this line for 15 minutes. There isn't a mirror anywhere and the bathroom is on the other side of the building. I don't dare get out of line. Even my vanity loses to standing in line. Must remain calm.

The lady finally calls my number and I step-up. This is the moment I have been suffering for a month now. The five second challenge that lasts for five years. Yes I got 5 seconds to stand on the line, smile please, click. You should get your new license in the mail in about a week. Thank you - NEXT.
My only clue was that she smiled after taking the picture. She looks like a nice lady and has a sweet voice so I decide that she isn't evil and secretly laughing her head off at my goofy picture.
Today I got my license in the mail -
Although the picture is very good I couldn't get a picture of the picture that was good. :(
I have overcome the might DMV forces and I can now live in peace whenever I am asked to show my license. Bartenders, policemen, store clerks and other strangers that I never see won't be able to make jokes, snickers or sneers about my bad picture. I feel mighty!

I have a suggestion and a way for the state to make a lot of money.

Have two picture lines. One with the regular lady who gives you 5 seconds and another line with a professional photographer, lights, mirrors and a computer to show you the pictures. For a mere $20 one could have the option of guaranteeing a successful picture before they walk away. Now wouldn't that be money well spent? I am certain that added revenue would balance the budget, pave that bumpy street in front of my house and buy school lunch for a lot hungry kids. It could be called, "Vanity for humanity at the DMV"

17 comments:

Yarnhog said...

I think that is a fantastic idea! The last time I had to renew my license, the horrific hassle took a distant second to my dismay at having to give up the (relatively) good picture on my old license. I would happily pay $20 not to carry an ID with a picture of a drunken mutant on it for the next ten years!

Olga said...

I still cringe at my photo, which was 3 years ago RIGHT AFTER a haircut disaster and I still have 2 years to go till I get another one. The only redeeming thing is my husbands is much more worse than mine and still makes me laugh when I look at his!

Me7of11 said...

Only $20? Hell, I'd pay $30! The DMV is a hellish place to spend any amount of time. I'm always happy to hear about people who make it out alive and relatively unscathed. Congratulations.

Haley said...

i just got my new license photo. i was 7 months pregnant, badly in need of a haircut and wearing a stained maternity sweater. oh well. i guess i'm not going to be impressing anyone with that one. my favorite part was when the worker asked if the weight on my license was still correct--i looked down at my very pregnant belly and said "not currently, but i hope to return to it in a few months." i guess that was good enough as she left the weight the same. anyway, lovely photo! happy belated birthday!

janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
janet said...

this is another test

Deborah said...

I think you should have been a writer! When I moved to NY I was amazed how easy it was to get a NY license. I haven't had a new picture taken/nor step foot in a DMV here since I moved here in 97. We renew by mail and they use the same pic. I guess they don't care if your appearance changes.

Mary Beth said...

Oh my...gasp, GASP...roflmbo! That was so funny. We have the same awful system hear at the beach. I dread DMV time. I am loving the "Vanity for Humanity". Thanks for the laugh!

Shameka said...

Thanks for checking out my blog. That DMV story is hilarious. I too get real antsy if I don't have my knitting. I have heard that there is a fine line between hobby and addiction. Well there, I have said it... I am addicted. LOL!!! Can't wait to se some of your future knitting projects.

Krissy said...

Cute experience. I've decided that if I can't take a good first picture, I'm probably not going to get a better second picture. Oh, well. Either way, knitting is a must for the DMV.

jaime. said...

This is so entertaining! I was google searching for a reference for MY blog regarding how inefficient many govt. agencies are and I stumbled upon this! Glad your picture turned out well :)

xx

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