— 2:47 p.m.
Happy Birthday from the State!
Well it happened. Last month, I entered my late 30’s. No, it doesn’t mean I’m 36, it means I’m 37. For me it’s all about the 3’s. You see, when you turn 30, you’re 30. Then 31, 32, and 33 are early 30’s; 34, 35 and 36 are mid-30’s, then 37, 38, and 39 are late 30’s. *sigh* it seems as though I was just turning 30 a few months ago.
I received many fine birthday wishes from my friends on the JREF forum, (www.randi.org) and I also received a nice big bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon, (which is one of my very favorites), some barstools for the basement remodel, and a bunch of cards, emails, and phone calls.
The state of Colorado gave me a gift too, though it wasn’t quite as nice as the bourbon. The state gave my gift one day after my birthday, and it was…wait for it…an expired driver’s license. Oh, it’s truly a joy to behold, let me tell you.
Now the DL office is very near my house. I’m sure I could walk there in 40 seconds or so. But today, I drove the few hundred yards to the place, because I had to go to work immediately afterwards.
I arrived at 7:46 am, anticipating being close to the front of the line for the 8:00 am opening. I managed to make it to 4th place in line, and 2 of the 3 people in front of me were there to renew their licenses as well. No problem, right? There were 4, count ‘em, 4 women behind the counter. When they finally unlocked the door (at 7:58, miraculously) there were nearly 20 people waiting to crush there way inside to voluntarily submit themselves to the torturous frustration that only the DMV can accomplish.
The first thing they made us do is to pick number out of the little punch-machine. The machine barely worked, and you really had to depress the little red plunger handle forcefully. It was like a miniature strong-man test at the carnival. Since we were all funneled into the same area, I thought it was ridiculous to get a number, but the ways of government workers are a mystery indeed.
After I got #83, they insisted that we sit down. I elected not to, because I assumed it would be quick. It wasn’t. They called the numbers of the first two people (both getting renewals) then paused. One woman a few minutes later asked if there was anyone there who only needed a license renewal. Up I went, then straight over to her counter space. She was actually pretty nice, relatively speaking, and we even chatted mindlessly while she was verifying my information.
So she told me to sit down and they would call my name to get my photo taken and get my temporary extension. I noticed at that point that the room was roughly square, and the counter area was another square within it, towards the right rear. All of the seating area was on the left side, and all of it faced towards the door, which is on the bottom of this mental geometric diagram that I have been describing to you. None of the chairs faced towards the counter area. “Don’t look at us! We’ll call your number, then you can look!” So I sat next to the first couple, whom I’d been conversing with off and on earlier. We sat for maybe 5 or 6 minutes and the first one’s name was called. Whiz! Bang! Flash! She had her photo taken and was done. Then his name was called. Whiz! Bang! Flash! He had his photo taken and was done. I was on my feet and elated! This line was moving fast!
At that moment, no seriously, precisely at that moment my hopes were instantly dashed. There was a guy at the counter who was…just not getting it. He started asking silly questions, making demands, and although he was not ill-tempered, the resounding crash of his ignorance against the indestructible wall of the DMV employee caught the attention of the woman who was just getting ready to call my name. Arrgh.
So she went over to help her co-minion, and I was left hanging, trying desperately to remain patient while they both tried to educate the poor sap who was trying to ruin my day. Sigh.
After a few minutes, she came back to her original post, and started back on my license. My hope began to swell like a pressurized bag at altitude. Yay!
My hope exploded once again as she got a phone call and retreated into the office. Twice in the next 6 or 7 minutes, she came out and went back into the office. Finally she called me up, took my photo, had me sign my temporary license (they don’t give them to you on the spot anymore, they have to be mailed to you), and sent me on my way.
Total time to renew my license: 43 minutes. And I was 3rd in line. Shit.