I feel like I am on top of the world. I feel like I can accomplish anything. I feel like I can run another marathon (if I decide to). I feel like I can climb Mt. Whitney (when I’m ready). I feel like true love will overcome all. I feel like I can overcome all the ridiculous obstacles being constantly placed in path on this rocky road of life. Do you know why? Because I successfully registered my car today at the DMV.
Now, I know what you are thinking. Most people leave the DMV angry and bitter and defeated. Mad at the world and government and the governor and bureaucracy and their boyfriends and their not-boyfriends-but-wish-they-were-their-boyfriends and everyone else. But that is not even remotely how I feel right now after this day of DMV hell. I have happy little pop songs running through my head. I’m on top of the world! I am Happy! I’m Brave! This is going to be the best day of my life! And all because I got my new car registered at 4:52 this afternoon. 52 minutes after DMV closed. 4 hours and 52 minutes after I initially arrived at the DMV today.
So in case you haven’t been to DMV lately, let me fill you in on what is going on there. I have a child who is trying to get his learner’s permit so I’ve been to the DMV more than most lately. But that is not why I was there. Let me fill you in on my life too. I recently bought a new car. I haven’t really talked about it much because my new car is too good to be true. Some people say it’s a mid-life crisis but it isn’t. It’s practical, fits in every parking spot, gets great gas mileage and gets me where I need to be in half the time any other car in the planet would get me there. When you bill by the hour that is important. And this little car and I were made for each other. It reads my mind. When your soul mate on wheels is in front of you, you just have to go with it. True love is true love. You have to fight for it and drive the hell out of it when you are lucky enough to find it. Despite what anyone thinks or says. Despite any judgment attached to it. Forget the judgment and follow your heart. And if you think this is materialistic you have obviously never experienced zero to 60 in 4.5 seconds. If you have, you get it. So, after a weekend of deep reflection and driving my dream car I bought the dream car. This was a month ago. And of course, reality struck today and I had to go register the dream car and make the final commitment. I had to go to DMV.
Since the first of the year, for reasons that make very little sense to me and I really get angry when I elaborate on, the DMV has turned into a nightmare. As I understand it, in an effort to make people less angry and frustrated with the DMV, and I’d like to think in an effort to make life a little less soul sucking for us all, the DMV has implemented–on a trial basis–a concept where you go, you check in, and they take your phone number. They then will text you and let you know your estimated wait time and how many people are in front of you throughout the day. The idea being, that you don’t have to sit there and let your resentment towards the government and your boyfriend fester. Rather, you can go out and accomplish great things like going to the grocery store, getting your new car washed, and running a few loads of laundry. Meanwhile, you get an occasional text message updating you on your status in the line. This sounds kind of awesome right?
Well, awesome it is not. The DMV becomes a stalker and it gets a little stressful. You hear the delightful chime of your text message signal and think it might be someone you actually want to hear from. Your best friend, your not-boyfriend-but-wish-he-was-your-boyfriend, your mother, your running partner…anyone. Isn’t your text message chime one of your favorite noises? It is for me. Instead it is the DMV telling you that your wait time is now 227 minutes (up from the 211 minutes they told you 15 minutes ago) and there are 169 people ahead of you. You get this text message about every 15-20 minutes for the next four hours. It becomes a little bit of a game. I had one friend of mine actually texting me periodically to see where “we” were in line now? Oh you know, only 72 people in front of “us”. “This is fun!” he responded. Eventually you get one that literally says, “please head back to Nevada DMV, Reno” when you have only 19 minutes left. The problem here though is that if you are not at the Nevada DMV, Reno at the time it closes–today that was 4 pm–they won’t let you in. So you have to be paying attention to not only your remaining wait time but what time it actually is. I knew this, so I was fine. I got the “please head back to Nevada DMV, Reno” text while I was in fact sitting at Nevada DMV, Reno. Others did not know this and were not fine and consequently not very happy.
When I got the text message that said “You have reached the front of the line! Please proceed to Window 31. Thanks for waiting!” I was elated. And relieved. I almost wanted to cry and hug my DMV worker. I was elated and relived and wanted to cry and hug strangers because there were so many times during this day that I wanted to give up. I wanted to say “screw you DMV, I’ll do this Monday”. I wanted to quit. I was having resentment that I had chosen to spend my Saturday dealing with bureaucratic bullshit that I was perceiving as ruining my peace, love and happiness. But I didn’t. I didn’t quit. I read every text message they sent me with a very sad heart that it wasn’t from someone else. I did the calculations to try to figure our how having 116 people ahead of me with an estimated wait time of 130 minutes related to the 4 pm time when I had to be back at DMV and locked in or risk having to start all over again. I sat in the waiting area, I took deep breaths, I thought positive thoughts, and I persevered. My adorable and fast as hell little car now has license plates. I know that there will be hard times. The magic will fade in the winter when I can’t put the top down. There will be speeding tickets and higher insurance rates and more soul sucking trips to the DMV but we love each other and we will be fine. That’s what love is. You have to fight for it and dig deep.
Now some of you may think that this situation is unique to a Saturday DMV experience. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that is not the case. The people who work there, who are actually really nice, told me it has been like this every day all month. And the chaos that resulted from the changes at the beginning of the year has not subsided at all. So if you can not have a mid-life crisis, not find love on four wheels, or not have a teenager who needs to get a learner’s permit, you should maybe hold off for a few months. If you are like me and arguably dealing with all three, I would say just think of this as a challenge and a metaphor for your life. You can’t quit no matter how much you want to. You can’t let anyone or anything steal your peace no matter how hard they try. You might miss your yoga class but just let it go and take the long way home. You have to be positive, and cute, and nice, and believe in the power of true love, and work hard and good things will happen. You will get your license plates!