Two days ago I stopped by the DMV to get one of those study sheets that has all the pictures of street signs and their meanings for the driving test. I find it shameful that I needed to study road signs, but I did, so I did.
You see, my driver’s license, apparently, expired in August. Where was I when that happened? Oh yeah, I know, not paying attention.
Anyhow, I’ve been putting it off for a little while (NOT for the past eleven months but for a little while) because I was dreading the DMV experience. You know, the camp out all day, argue with people, all-consuming frustration that is everything associated with getting what’s needed to make one a legal driver. It’s always the same thing for the tag office, the car place for the inspection, the tax office because I never seem to pay the car tax on time either, and the DMV. It always eats up major portions of the day. However, one can only handle so much anxiety over whether or not that cop car is just cruising along or if there is actually some sort of flashing sign over my car saying “Stop her, officer! Her license has expired! Eleven months ago! And she keeps putting it off, so give her a ticket!!” So, as I was on my way to the Big City to get some crafty things for this week’s crafty pastor, I stopped in at the DMV which, I recently discovered, is about .2 of a mile from my house. At least this way, I reasoned, if I was stopped by a police officer, I could show them the sign study sheet as proof that I was working on getting it renewed and, therefore, look a millimeter less like an idiot.
Bracing myself, I went inside. There was no one there. And by that I do not mean that they were not open or that no one was working. I mean I walked in the waiting room–the room that in the Really Big City where I grew up would have been wall-to-wall people, all angry, all sweating, all in a hurry to go somewhere else, all certain that whoever they were and whatever they were doing was far more important than anyone and anything else–and there was no one. No one was waiting.
I was unsure as to what to do. I thought: perhaps I’m in the wrong place. Maybe the door was left unlocked by accident but they’re really closed. Nope. They were open. There was just no one waiting.
I searched for the little sign study sheet among the far too neatly displayed items, none of which were running too low or dirty or messy. No empty spot where the sign study sheet should have been. Nope, there it was, waiting for me. It had to be just me it was waiting for because there was no one else there. It all felt like the Twilight Zone.
Then I heard a voice from the next room. “Can I help you?” I peeked through the open door and saw two DMV men sitting at desks typing away on their computers. There was, thankfully, one other driver’s license seeker in there at one of the desks and he was chatting away with his DMV guy like he had all the time in the world. “Well, umm,” I started, realizing that I sounded quite anxious, “I just wanted to get one of those sign study sheets.” Immediately I felt like an idiot once again for needing a study sheet. “Ok,” my DMV guy said, ” they’re right on that table where you are. Just come on back whenever you’re ready.”
Come on back whenever I’m ready? MY DMV guy? What? I wasn’t prepared! I wasn’t expecting this! For heaven’s sake, I didn’t have on makeup! !
But I did go back and I did take the sign test…..which I passed perfectly, thank you very much. And I even passed the eye test which was, if I’m honest, what I was even more worried about. You know, you can’t study for an eye test. And I had the world’s worst driver’s license photo taken in the history of all driver’s license photos. But I do not care because when I got back in my car it had been eight minutes—EIGHT MINUTES—since I had gotten out of it and walked into the Twilight Zone DMV Office.
Small town life is amazing sometimes. This month, my car tag and inspection expire and I’m not even planning on procrastinating and plan to take care of them on time for a change.