Well folks, my 15-day fast is now over. Yesterday I went to my local DMV (Driver Motor Vehicle) to receive a copy of my license. I am not sure if anyone has ever had to endure the painful trip to his or her local DMV lately but let me tell you, if I had to be stuck on a deserted island or have to sit at the local DMV, I would take the island. Truthfully, the DMV is where most people are most challenged to practice self-control.
In Pennsylvania, you enter through the “one way doors” and walk up to the front where there is a ticket machine (like the one you get when you are the super market) and then you sit… You wait and then you wait some more while the people behind the counter tell each other jokes and play solitaire on their computers. The walls are always that “eggshell” white color and rarely have any pictures anywhere. The floors are tiled a cream color to off set the eggshell walls. The only entertainments are the large signs that are everywhere (in case you can’t move your neck or something). The signs are always large letters, bold and sometimes even underlined. They belt out the instructions and proper DMV etiquette for visitors. In between the large signs, a slow wall clock hangs as a reminder of how long you have sat in that hell. Finally, the cheap blue “cafeteria” chairs are lined in a perfect line and harder than a stone to sit in. Needless to say, there isn’t much going on in your local DMV these days. As I looked over at those behind the counter, I saw they had nice leather chairs to sit their rear ends in while they made us wait for our number to be called. That bothers me. If we have to sit in those rock-hard chairs, they should as well. We are all there for the long haul; we might as well sit in the same kind of chairs for the duration of our time together.
I was number “C840.” As I looked up at the numbers on the scoreboard, I noticed that we were at “C836.” No problem, I thought to myself. There were only four people ahead of me. This would be a quick “in and out” experience. I was wrong however. When I sat down on the rock provided for me to sit on, it was 12:15 PM. My number was announced by the sound of a timer-like bell at 12:50!
While I sat there, there were so many other people sitting, waiting for their issues to be resolved or for new ID’s to be issued. There was a Gothic-looking guy, probably about 30 or so with long brown hair who was sick and tired of waiting around. He would crack comments about the DMV. Sometimes it would be louder than others and people would laugh in response. There was also a younger woman with her young daughter in a stroller. I did not see a wedding ring on her finger and thought perhaps she was a single mother. The little girl had brown, curly hair with pink ribbons. She announced to everyone that she wanted to go home and watch Sesame Street. Her mother told her that they had to wait until her number was called so they can do what they needed to do there and then they could go home. With that, the little girl yelled to one guy behind the counter who looked as though he had fallen asleep, to call her mother’s number so they could go home. She asked more than once, making the people around me laugh even harder. Oh, the innocence of a child!
Now, I am not sure if hell actually froze over but the little timer-bell rang and my number appeared on the scoreboard. Nervously I jumped and hurried to the front of the room where a red light was flashing, letting me know that the individual behind the counter was actually going to do his job and help someone. I told him that my 15-day fast was over and I would like my license. He looked up my information on an old Pentium 1 computer and found my statement to be true. I would in fact receive my license today.
I only needed to give him a 10.00 Dollar check or money order. I just looked at him and asked, “You don’t receive cash?” “Nope” was his response. So I had to run over to the shopping mart across the street and get a 10.00 money order from the service area. After receiving the check, I ran back to the DMV and had to wait another 10 minutes until the guy I had just spoken to be free to receive my money order. As I handed him the check, he said it would “only take a minute for it to print out and I could wait until my name was called.” So I anxiously waited for my name to be called. A new rock was waiting for my rear end to sit and wait until this nightmare was over. 20 minutes later (yes… It took 20 more minutes. Way to go big guy), my name was called and I ran up front, kicking my rock to the side and received my license. Before the man could change his mind, I rushed out the door and smiled to those who were still there as passed them. I was free. With my license in my wallet and the sun in my face, I returned to my friend’s car and we went back to school.
What have I learned from this experience? I have learned several things: 1 – Drive the speed limit. If you must rush, call your employer and let them know you will be a little late due to circumstances you cannot change or avoid at that time. 2 – If you are caught, check the “not guilty” box and go to court and try and fight your ticket. Apparently in Pennsylvania, lying allows you to keep your license and not go through the hell of losing it for 15 days. 3 – If you plead guilty, pay your ticket on time, and are required to go to a district hearing, do not fill out any forms (DL-15, etc…) they are false hopes of being able to drive and you end up losing 50.00 in the process. Keep your money and figure out how you are going to get to work. 4 – Be willing to remain humble. We need people to get us through the times in our lives we cannot do things on our own. Do not allow pride to be your nemeses. Just ask. 5 – Stay in contact with your Penn DOT people and find out when you can receive your license again. Write down that date and wait. 6 – Avoid the DMV if you can. It is like the bubonic plague – it could kill you. Finally 7 – Thank those who have helped you make it through your fast. Without them, you would end up losing your job, fail school, or become a hermit. All of these choices are not acceptable. I hope you have learned a few things through my experience. I know I have. Thanks for reading along. God bless