Thursday, August 19, 2004

28 minutes.

Today was reserved for automobile paperwork. A day spent at the DMV mostly. About 5 hours total. I first got temp tags, then went to bring my car for inspection and then went back for the permanent tags. I could have waiting another month with the temporary tags but I wanted to get over with this nightmare. Done. Fini.

So at first I am waiting in a small room with about 20 people waiting. The woman who announce the numbers has a strong voice and she is very cheerful. Quite the opposite of what I expected. I am not the only one to notice. One man leaves with a "You're just a dream to deal with, ma'am" as he is exiting the room. Another woman has been waiting there for at least 1 hour (I had been there about half an hour when I overheard her mentioning that she had been already there 30 minutes in her discussion with the clerks). It's a question of insurance. She can't prove she has any, her agent was supposed to fax the paper to the DMV but obviously someone is not doing what they are supposed to do because the fax has not come yet. I hear her discuss the problem over her cell-phone. She too does not lose her temper with the DMV employee but keep thanking her for her patience. The DMV employee, a plump woman in her 40's, thanks her by calling her by her first name. "Don't worry about it, Andrea, we'll just wait until they fax the paperwork". Her colleague is puzzled. She is right now processing the tags for an Andrea. The other woman laughs. "We have two Andreas today". Indeed, the young woman next to me raises and goes to pick up her tags. I wonder how the woman keeps track of all the names of people in this room. Everybody looks at each other. There is joy in the room.

After the car inspection, I am back at the DMV. This time in a large room with about 100 people and TVs showing the news. Olympics games coverage. I forgot a pen and asks a woman sitting right next to the entrance. Instead of answering me, she asks me "Did you ask at the counter?" which strikes me as odd. This is a yes or no question. She either has or has not a pen that I could borrow. What's with the Spanish Inquisition?
I turned to a woman sitting next to her and the answer comes right back "huh,huh. I have a pen alright, but you seat right next to me". The air on the first woman's face tells me that this is the reason of her question. She nodes saying "Yes. I too lost so many pens that people borrowed!".
I almost laugh and tells the second woman that it will be my pleasure to sit next to her. I fill the form and give her back the pen.
We start to speak and she says that she has been waiting since lunch time. She was here this morning, forgot something and had to come back. It's now well into siesta time and I wonder if this is not what the clerks have indeed been doing.
My estimated waiting time is 28 minutes. I get a book out and shut myself from the world.


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