Friday, January 17, 2020

My Afternoon at the DMV

I didn’t have to go. I could have stayed home gnashing my teeth while watching Cable News and count my brain cells sloughing off. But enough about Trump.

I received notice in early Dec. that my license is up for renewal on March 21st. 2020. Naturally I put it aside for two weeks. I was still digesting Thanksgiving gluttony. And naturally when I remembered to make an appointment the first available was April. 7th. I was forced to give up on-line in favor of in-line.

I saw myself standing behind fifty others at 7 A.M. in the brisk morning air to beat the crowd. However I got a hot tip from a dear friend which I shall now pass along. Don’t get there early, get there late. You might as well get a good night’s sleep. And don’t bother reading the manual. You’ll forget everything anyway.

I was there for two reasons: license renewal and a Real I.D. card which requires multiple confirmations. Several folks ahead of me in line had to drop out because they didn’t come with the requisite papers. Still one window shuffled me to another and I waited over an hour to watch the screen for my number to come up.

This was the sea of humanity I’d heard so much about. A cross section of America, Black and Brown, Asian, Anglo, Millennial, Gen X, Boomers and pre-Boomers. Faces registered agitation, annoyance and apathy in equal parts. These are also the voters who will either throw the man-child out of office or drive us over the cliff….a question which would not appear on the test.

I had no book to read. This would be my time to wonder instead of ponder. Just stare. Just be. I can’t say enough about clearing the head. It’s like cleaning the refrigerator, dumping that forgotten leftover, the green cheese in the back, wilted lettuce and stale bread.   

In by 2, out by 4:30. It could have been worse; I could have failed but I didn’t because I had an uncluttered head…uncontaminated by double yellow lines, which way to point the wheels when parking uphill or speed limits in a hospital zone. It was a triumph of common sense over rote memory. 

Here is another bit of advice: if you don't know the answer, skip the question. You are allowed three of these. I let one such nonsensical Q go unanswered. It had to do with the penalty for evading a police officer. Suspended license? A year in jail? or $1,000 fine. Who cares? If I ever run from the law I wouldn't stop to weigh the consequences. 

I must have been carrying a fair amount of tension because I felt lighter driving home. My neck was unstiffening, my hair didn’t ache anymore and I could enjoy the art of forgetting. Order had been restored. My unthinking body parts had been returned to preside over my cerebral cortex. As Queen Victoria said, Home James and don’t spare the horses!                                  


  1. oy, I was dreading this before reading about your experience. it's coming up in ny

  2. Loved your description of your DMV experience!

  3. Tis a humbling experience but now I'm prepared for a second career as an Uber a driverless car.