Yesterday we went to the DMV to make a second attempt to get Henry a learner’s permit and make him into a driver of cars. We had already been once, but this is Texas. You need multiple forms of ID to get an ID. After all, we might be trying commit voter fraud like those other eight people somewhere in the U.S.A. (Former Governor Perry assures us they exist and are a major threat to the Constitution and our FREEDOM.) So we brought a folder full of potential proof that my son exists and is currently present in this State, not including DNA evidence, but realizing we would probably need it.
I have been there before. I do realize what kind of an alternate universe the DMV actually is. They pack in 3,ooo people, including children, babies, Tia Carmen from Honduras, and random homeless people that the DMV applicants needed to provide moral support. Then they tell you that everyone needs to take a seat because of fire codes, and they provide a generous twelve chairs for that purpose. You have to be given a number to proceed. But they don’t call those numbers in order. And the time you first enter the infinite waiting room has no bearing on the time they finally call you out either.
So, a wait of three hours gave me plenty of time to observe, well… not stupid people exactly… but people displaying much of the basic and endearingly non-smart simplicity of the species.
Like the guy who pulled up in his sports car while we were still part of the 35-minute outside wait line still waiting to get in the door to be told by the officer guarding the twelve chairs that everybody had to take a seat because of the fire code.
This simple citizen asked us, “Is this the line you have to stand in just to get in through the front door?”
Somebody gave him the more-polite version of, “No, Duh!”
“Oh,” he said, “Frog that!” Or possibly the less-polite version of that… and proceeded to back his car out again, nearly running over the young Asian lady being dropped off behind his car. He roared out of the parking lot, apparently not needing a renewed license anyway, because white guys are obviously Republican enough that voter ID laws don’t really apply to them. (I have wondered if a “heart Trump!” button would be enough ID to get you in to vote in Texas in the upcoming elections?)
Of course, there was also the lady with the five… or possibly seven… or thirty-two kids in tow who put her baby stuff on seven of the twelve chairs as she took her horde of non-license-getting little ones to the restroom and drinking fountain. They have the lovely side-effect of extinguishing all nostalgic feelings for when my three kids were that small… or did I have thirty-two of them back then too?
And of course there were numerous random wandering folks who didn’t bother to read signs, or listen to the angry officer tell them where to go or what to do next, or even understand a word of English, because they all thought that even though they had no earthly idea what was going on, they were going to be given a driver’s license in Texas, and they were probably next at the counter.
After almost three hours of this we finally got to the counter. There the exhausted and impatient lady that was working the desk took all of three minutes to discover the two things we still didn’t have to qualify. It turns out you have to enroll in the driving school before you get the learner’s permit. The opposite of the way it was five years ago when we got my older son his permit. But possibly because last time we asked the driving school first. So, I ended the very exhausting day at the DMV secure in the knowledge that I would have to do it all over again the next time I work up the courage to tackle the whole issue.