There are few things, other than sitting inside the DMV for a few hours, that illicit such feelings of dread. A necessary evil; describes this place best, especially when only one branch in the entire county handles all driver and temporary license issues. A whole swath a humanity comes through those doors and for better or worse, don’t you know, the stinkiest ones without fail tend to sit next to me.
I looked up at the welcome distraction; my doll standing next to my chair holding the driving manual. “Mom, we have to go…” She said. “Oh, okay,” I replied, a welcomed respite from the ghastly odor that kept assaulting my senses. Gathering my belongings, I stood and headed to the next line to stand in, when my doll said, “No, I failed the test and we have to come back later,” she explained. “When?” I asked, hoping by then that stinky person would be gone. “Tomorrow,” she said, and unhappily headed toward the exit. “Tomorrow?” I griped, knowing the last thing I wanted to do was spend another day waiting at the DMV. “Mom, stop making this harder than it already is…” She complained and began to cry as we approached the car. “You’d be complaining too, if you sat next to that stinky person,” I replied, getting into the car and then tried to console-not lecture my doll on her lackadaisical study habits.
“That test was dumb!” She said in anger. “Dumb or not, you need to pass in order to drive…” I said which went over like a led balloon. “Why did they have a question on bicycles? I mean, really, what does a bike have to do with a car?” I sat quietly, not wanting to get yelled at again for my reply. But then she looked over at me and said, “That wasn’t a rhetorical question”. “Damn, I can’t win for losing”, I thought. “Bicycles are not supposed to be ridden on the sidewalks. So you need to know their laws, so you don’t infringe upon them, while driving,” I answered, she grunted unhappily and wallowed a little longer in self pity.
“Ah, the tears of a teenaged doll” played in my head to the tune of “Tears of a Clown”, by Smokey Robinson, but again, gaining wisdom in my elder years, I kept my mouth shut.
The next day, Mrs. K graciously accompanied the doll and I back to the DMV where once again, we were confronted by a swath of humanity. “Why are there so many people here?” Mrs. K wondered. “This particular bureau handles the driver tests, as well as other normal licenses, so its always crowded,” I replied. “Am I here to renew my license?” She asked. “No, you’re here to help pray my doll passes the test this time, so I don’t have to come back here for another six months…” I said, and she immediately made the sign of the cross. Twenty minutes later, my doll appeared, much happier than the day before, almost jumping up and down. “I guess you passed this time?” I asked with a grin. “Yes, Woo, I’m so excited…” She replied as we moved to stand in the next line to pay for the test and license.
Twenty minutes later, as we walked out to the car with her newly minted temporary driver’s license she jokingly asked, “Can I drive home?” Looking back at her I replied, “Sure…” and held the keys out for her to grab. She stopped, split her time looking first at my face and then at the keys dangling from my hand and asked, “Are you serious?” as she took a tentative step toward me. “Absolutely not,” I said, gathering the keys up in my palm and helping Mrs. K to the car. “You’re mean,” She said, but smiled as she said it. “Considering, you’ve never been behind the wheels of a car, I think I’m being quite reasonable”. I replied and she reluctantly agreed.