© — For too many this is true, but I had never before witnessed it personally: I accompanied my friend Laura to the DMV, where we stood in a long line to a get her assigned a number, called, a full three hours later (180+ minutes), telling her that her time had come, only to have Laura be told by a desk administrator that she had been placed in the wrong line, that they were closing and she would have to start over from the beginning, tomorrow, and that it was Laura’s fault. That may have driven some to create a national news story, however, we were fortunate enough to find humor in the stereotypical absurdity.
Making someone sit in the mind-numbing environment of the DMV, for three-plus hours, has its practical advantage: absolute compliance. After one finally gains an audience with the DMV, even the most Spartan of characters will easily obey: “Coming back tomorrow and starting over will be just fine, and I apologize.” The DMV could tell a 6’-4” biker that if he wished to get his commercial license that he would first have to do The Worm on the carpet, and it would happen.
Of persistent note was the blistering announcement of random numbers. “Now serving ticket A2485 at Window 32…Now serving text 4815 at Window 17…Now serving ticket C7451…Now serving text 6739…Now serving ticket A5638…Now serving Prozac at Window 27…Now serving anyone left who cares…Now serving those with only mild DMV-induced coma…Now serving those in a coma and in need of wheelchair assistance…Now serving those in a coma that can be lifted onto a gurney…
And it’s not like the DMV couldn’t make the citizens more comfortable. I suggest a Keno-style game whereby one gets a slip of paper at check-in, with random four-digit numbers on it, and a black crayon. As the drone of numbers is called, a person could cross out the numbers with the crayon. There is really no need to suggest or obtain prizes for winning: there is no winner…ever. DMVeno is only designed to distract us from thinking about all the many useful things we could be doing. Free drinks would be nice, too.
After 2 ½ hours, Laura and I could be found sitting together, in chairs we had managed to slide away from the throng, and in the full throws of texting each other. Finally, Laura’s number breaks into our exhausted conversation, and she runs to Window 26. After over 15 minutes of carefully reviewing documents and computer data, Laura finally receives instruction on her next step toward becoming a freshly licensed driver: …go away…and it’s your fault.
How I wish that were only fiction.
Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2012