before work this morning. It was no root canal like yesterday, but honestly, working with these people IS like pulling teeth. out of a bear. with bad breath and an attitude problem.
I came prepared for everything. No let me rephrase that-- I came with the naive belief that it was possible to come prepared for everything. A hundred and twenty dollars cash burned a hole in my pocket. I had the car's registration, bill of sale, title deed, my brand new license, and confidence that I would be in and out in a jiffy. No, I'm kidding, of course I wasn't quite that naive, but I did expect it to be, if not efficient, at least straightforward.
And it all started out well enough: "Fill these two forms out, and take them to the registration desk." Ok, fair enough. I started filling them out, and after a few hiccups (calling home for the expiration date of the insurance policy, wtf?), I proceeded to the desk with almost half the forms filled out. The rest of the blanks I would need some help with, as they asked for my PL1J code, the Vehicle Constancy Reticential Didacticism Enrollment number, and I think the UPC for my soul. Luckily, these were all available for the paraprofessional at the desk (since I mortgaged my soul to the Secretary of State's office yesterday to get out of standing in another line). And I pulled out my wallet to hand her some cash, because I knew these offices only take the cold hard stuff.
"I'm sorry, sir, we don't accept cash."
I laughed politely at her clever joke, but I was a little impatient. Let's put the jokes aside.
"We only take checks and money orders. When you go to pay the cashier the $143 fee, you can use cash, but we can't take it for the transfer tax."
My laugh withered on my lips, and drifted through the stuffy air (can't we have some AC, people?) to the floor, where it was immediately swept up by a guy with one of those long-handled dustpans, to be taken in back and pinned up in their large collection, in an exhibit entitled "The DMV: where happiness goes to die."
"There's a 711 only a mile down the road. You can pick up a money order there."
Yeah, thanks. I can also hit up the ATM because I didn't even bring enough cash in the first place. A few minutes there, a few seconds asking for and paying for my money order, and then a long awkward pause while I waited... do I need a receipt? I've never gotten a money order before... Will this large man with the vanilla-ice-cream-twirl turban yell at me if I ask him, or just shake his head and laugh. Then he started helping other customers, and so I dumped a bunch of change on the floor so I would at least have something to do. At least I wouldn't be standing there awkwardly, I would be awkwardly scooping forty-six cents off the weird black rubber-velcro mats that 711s always have. But forty-six cents only takes so long. I was looking around, thinking I might have to upend a magazine rack, when he suddenly turned to me with a slip of paper and a here-you-go. I heaved an uncomfortable sigh of relief, which he might have taken for impatience. I kind of hope so.
I was pretty zombied out when I got back to the Department of Motor Vehicles Facility, resigned to whatever cruel fate Jesse White, with his sickly grin, might assign to me. I'm afraid I blacked out somewhat and lost track of time, but my next conscious moment I was outside on the way to my car with my new license plates under my arm, and a bunch less money in my pocket. It might have been an hour, it might have been five minutes. No, no, it wasn't five minutes.
But I was only an hour and a half late for work. I feel fine, but I have the sneaking suspicion that if anything unexpected happens, I'm just as likely to murder someone as eat lunch today. I guess we'll see.