Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fear and Loathing at the DMV

I gave myself the not very fabulous birthday present of forgetting that my driver's license was expiring and thus not renewing it online a month earlier like a normal person.  So yesterday I turned 51 and today I remembered about the license and discovered the very sad making reality of 30 days to renew your license online.  And I remembered this at about 9:45 a.m. so I couldn't even go early.

If you show up this late at the Boulder DMV during the week that the students come back you will have a nearly 2 hour wait.  Luckily I live 7 minutes away so I went home, did stuff and came back a bit early on the impossible chance that they would be running early and I would miss my number being called.  I know, I love making people spit up onto their computer screen.  Of course they weren't running early.

Lots of students there.  Most of them fairly patient and docile despite the hostile environment of the DMV and the energy of the unfortunate people who were not having good days at the DMV.  The students had their noses in their gizmos, I was the only one there reading a real honest to goodness in the flesh book.  From the library even.  Very Old Timey.

Until I was jolted from my book by a very modern problem.  One of the students found himself slipping into the 'Not Having a Good Day at the DMV' crowd.  And he responded with much screaming and swearing and aggression.  And even at the Boulder DMV it doesn't matter if you are rich or your mother never taught you Manners or you came from California, these days if you start scream swearing at the government workers they are going to threaten to call the police.  Or 911.  Or somebody who will make your day even worse.

But it doesn't stop there.  Because even if you're a rich, pompous Boulderite you still have to lower yourself to go to the DMV to take your teenager for his driving test.  And you just can't help pointing out the obvious.  'This young man has an anger management problem,'  blurts out Captain Obvious.  Which as anybody who is not a pompous Boulderite knows is the last thing what you want to say to some impulse control challenged crazy guy losing it at the DMV.  So of course his anger escalates and he turns on Captian Obvious.  Who is sitting across the aisle from me.  And while I'd like nothing better than to see this throw down from a distance, I'm all too close to the action.  Thankfully I have a clear shot to the exit doors but before I need to bolt it finally occurs to everybody that the best thing to do in this situation is to shut up and not start punching each other.  Or worse.  That 'No Firearms' sign I was laughing at earlier suddenly doesn't seem so funny.  Because of all the ways that your life can end I think losing it in the DMV to some crazy guy who needs to learn how to take a deep breath is one of the worst.

Thankfully I emerge unscathed with my temporary driver's license and a sworn oath to myself that I will never ever forget to renew my license well in advance online.

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