It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t easy. It sure as hell wasn’t fast, but I got my damn CT license. Boo-ya! And midway through this post, you will see my first emphatically positive and grateful thing to say about the burbs.
At 9:42 a.m. I arrived at the scene of the crime armed with reading, sustenance, a to-do list and a naive sense of optimism. DMV employees, bring it on. First glimmer of hope was when I pulled up, the line was barely out the door. At least 45 minutes less of a wait than my first trip. I was inside in a matter of minutes and when I went to get my number, there were- count ’em- THREE people working the counter (last time, there was one and that’s giving the woman waaay too much credit). I received my destiny within 60 minutes of arriving at the DMV. #C422. (At this point, I would like to credit a friend for noticing that the DMV has actually miss-spelled the NAME of the town on the actual ticket below… not like too many people are getting these tickets or anything. A nice metaphor for the institution as a whole.)
It was not even 10:30, and this was going to be cake. I took my seat and cheerfully looked to the screen. “C409, Counter 11.” Four-oh-NINE!!!!!!! Last time, the C numbers took 20+ minutes for the next one to be called. By my quick math (thank you Ms. Curtis) that means a wait time of approximately 4 hours. After being dumped by Tanya at window #12 last week, I was not going to cave. Like the Karate Kid hobbled on his side of the mat, arms in the air, and foot poised for my face smashing crane kick, the DMV was going down.
I purchased a cup of coffee, took my seat and hunkered down. What did I learn today, you’re asking yourself? Here ya go:
• Were you so inclined, you too could have your phone say, “Hi, Sexy!” whenever a text message comes through. Or, “It’s your mother. Answer.” I’d just need to check with the woman sitting next to me on how she set it up.
• There’s a lot of ink [tattoos] at the Bridgeport D M of V. A lot. A dolphin. Some form of animal print. A skull (huh?)…
• If you’re a small business owner or wanting to get engaged in a clever way, there is lots of ad space available on the Motor Vehicle TV Network. Could be your big break.
• 11:00 appears to be lunch break for DMV employees.
• The MOST important piece of information I learned today is that if you happen to have an oxygen tank that will run out after 2 hours, you get to go straight to the head of the line and no one will even challenge you and your walker.
Here’s why the suburbs were wonderful today. My sitter needed to leave at 12:15. Three “C” numbers were ahead of me as of 11:45 and that was just to take care of the first step. There was no chance that I would be home by 12:15, and likely impossible for 1:00 camp pick up as well. Thanks to the joys of the cellular Verizon network, I put out a rapid SOS text to anyone I could think of. You can cobble together what needed to happen: kids at home watched, child at camp picked up, baby fed, Oliver napped, etc. Here’s the complicated choreography of how it actually came together: I called my sister-in-law who was busy, but she called a friend who could come and relieve our sitter. But our sitter had to leave so her MOM came over to help out. How awesome is that?? Mark’s cousin, who shall now be referred to as our lifesaver, was also able to pick up Eleanor from camp; she even offered to take Eleanor back to her house! You could NEVER pull this many last-minute logistics off in the city without flagging down a UPS delivery guy to help watch the kids. Beginning to heart the suburbs…
Back to the anti-utopia in Bridgeport. Fast forward to 12:50, and I am finally the next number to be called. My heart started racing. I had every piece of mail that had been delivered to our house in the last 2 months… most of which was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. which I suspected would be a problem. (Spoiler alert, that mail wasn’t acceptable.) Tanya, the same lady who had been haunting my dreams since last Thursday, sat down at her seat and I heard my number called over the loud speaker. ‘C422 to Window 13.’ Of course, window 13. Today Tanya had a little Christian radio playing which felt apropos to my situation. I said a silent prayer and laid out my social security card, my passport, my marriage license, my 2 DMV forms, and my stack of mail. A forwarded Banana Republic bill worked. The aforementioned Mr. and Mrs.mail did not. But… my People Magazine was good enough for the win. She sent me around the corner to get my vision screening, and I skipped off to read me some letters. (Side note, in the 10 minutes I was praying with my new best DMV friend, 3 more “C” numbers were called… huh?!)
On my way to the vision test, I passed a man that normally wouldn’t have made me pause even a little bit. But in this situation, he evoked such fear and horror that I stumbled and clutched at my chest. (Not really, but it’s a good visual, right?) Purple shirt guy had been called to his “C” window right after I sat down with fresh coffee in hand. He. Was. Still. Here. Holy sh*t. With shaky knees I walked around to the next desk for my eye test and was called up within 10 minutes. “EKL DON PDR. The square with the #2 is red.” I passed. Trying to make my voice sound easy breezy, I asked the woman if she thought it might take another few hours to get my actual license; expecting her to chuckle and say, “No way, honey, it’s coming right up!” Sadly, she casually nodded and said, “Probably about that.” For those of you keeping track, the present time was about 1:30 making my visit to the DMV officially 4 hours long already.
Guess what I did next? Yeah, I sat and strained my ears for my name to be called. When purple shirt guy got his license, I felt the slightest bit of hope that I would actually be released from the DMV at some point before my children went to bed. I enjoyed watching the teenagers collect their first driver’s license with a sense of stoic pride. Adolescents certainly couldn’t act like they were stoked about such a thing, but that quiver in your lip, gives you away, kids! Congrats and drive safe. And don’t text and drive.
At 2:18, I heard the sweetest sound I could imagine. Trying to restrain myself from doing the moonwalk to the desk, I sidled over and said, ‘hey.’ They took more money from me, I sat for my second picture and bada bing bada boom, 2 3/8 x 3 5/8″ of gold fell from the printer and into my sweaty trembling fingers.
Breaking it down to the numbers: 8 total hours later, $120 in babysitting money, $120 to the DMV, $1.50 cup of coffee and 16% on my kindle, I am a legal CT driver. I’d like to thank my suburban village for picking up the slack on this one and making sure my children were all fed and napped and entertained and transported and loved. I’d like to thank People Magazine for counting as a first class piece of mail in the eyes of the DMV. I’d like to thank the CT DMV for making all of the other DMVs to which I’ve been look like Justin Bieber caliber rock stars of efficiency and prowess. And I’d like to thank my family. (I will respectively keep God out of this as I don’t think He needs to get pulled into anything having to do with the DMV.)