At 3:22 p.m. I returned to work. Ex. Haus. Ted. As I complained about my 3.5 hour wait to the world, the question kept coming back to me:
"Why didn't you go when it first opened or when it closed?"Followed by:
"Everyone knows you should expect to wait that long if you go in the middle of the day."Ahem, I am not everyone. I am an Oklahoman. And we don't do things this way. We complain if we have to wait at the DMV for more than 30 minutes. So no, I did not know to expect such insanity. Rather, I patted myself on the back for thinking ahead and aiming to miss the lunch hour rush. Much to my demise, apparently every hour at the Texas DMV is the lunch hour rush.
My visit to the DMV took place as follows:
11:18...Approach front desk and realize I left my car insurance in the car.
11:20...Return to front desk with car insurance, car registration, birth certificate, social security card and passport.
11:21...Get my ticket, #311, and sit down in the most uncomfortable plastic chair imaginable.
11:23...Send my boss the following picture and tell her my errand could possibly take a little longer than expected.
11:28...Hear mumblings of people who have been waiting for over two hours. Become slightly concerned.
11:29...Begin writing a letter to one of my Australian friends.
11:33...Try to sneakily watch the Spanish version of "The Three Little Pigs" that is entertaining the kid in front of me on his mother's phone. (I was unsuccessful.)
11:38...Begin texting complaints to my friends.
11:57...Lady stands up with her grandma and says:
"I'm from California and I've never seen it this bad. Waiting over two hours is ridiculous. We're out of here. If we come back at 4:56 before you close you have to serve us, right? We'll see you then."11:58...Exit Cali lady and Gma.
12:03...Finish letter to my Australian friend. Proceed to twiddle my thumbs.
12:07...Smoker #1 sits down next to me. I hold my breath.
12:07:37...I start to turn blue from lack of oxygen and lean forward to try to find fresh air that doesn't have Smoker #1's scent attached to it.
12:08...Smoker #2 joins Smoker #1. They talk about Facebook.
S1: Hey dude, how many Facebook friends do you have?12:09...I. Can't. Breathe. Plus, I'm getting really anxious and starting to sweat.
S2: Aw man, I don't know.
S1: Well Sally has over 400.
S2: 400? No f***ing way.
S1: I'll be lucky if I can get 400 friends by Christmas.
12:38...Decide to call my mother during her lunch break, giving me an excuse to leave the vicinity of Smokers 1 and 2.
12:42...Front desk lady tells me "I know it's crowded honey, but you can't stand there."
12:43...Find new seat away from smokers.
12:56...Begin writing a letter to my sister.
1:16...Overhear a man on the phone yelling at what I assume was some sort of government agency.
"I'm here with my Los Angeles ID, my New York passport, and several dozen other taxpayers. WHAT IS GOING ON?!"1:16:23 Angry man leaves the building to yell at whatever poor soul is on the other end of the phone.
1:18...First number called in the 300s! Hooray for 306! Only 5 more numbers until it's my turn! I feel a glimmer of hope.
1:33...Another angry lady stands up and yells:
"If you think I'm going to sit here for over two hours wasting my whole day here...I've got better things to do with my time! This is STUPID!"1:33:27...Angry lady sits back down and mumbles "stupid, stupid, stupid" under her breath repeatedly.
1:43...Angry lady asks if she can speak to a supervisor. Apparently the supervisor is trying to expedite the process by working behind a computer to sign people up for driver's licenses. Angry lady says she'll wait.
1:44...There is a line of five people waiting to speak to the supervisor.
1:53...Angry lady's angry husband bursts through the door and proceeds to berate front desk lady.
1:55...Exit angry lady and husband.
1:58...Finish letter to my sister. More thumb twiddling follows.
2:12...Sweet, nice, understanding Becky is gone. I've been here for 3 hours and it's time to start complaining. (But I plan on being a much nicer complainer than angry lady)
2:13...Approach front desk lady and ask her what's up with the 300s (which I've figured out is the category of numbers for people who have an out-of-state license) getting no love. Front desk lady doesn't know.
2:14...Front desk lady "goes to talk to her supervisor" but I witness her walk to the back, stand there, talk to no one and return to her desk without speaking to me or acknowledging my existence.
2:16...California girl, who is apparently #310, complains to front desk lady.
2:17...Cali girl and I hover next to the front desk hoping for some sort of positive progress while complaining about how our home states would never allow such madness.
2:23...Ask to speak to the supervisor. Learn that the supervisor is outside testing the driving skills of 16-year olds. Translation: there is no one supervising the shenanigans taking place inside the DMV, and therefore no one for me to complain to.
2:34...Front desk lady takes pity on our souls and calls someone to tell them to call us next.
2:37...310 is called and Cali girl leaves me.
2:39...The heavens open up and I hear the magical words I've been waiting to hear for three and a half hours:
"Number 311 to window three."Finally reaching the other side of the wall that I've been dying to see behind for more than three hours feels very Wizard of Oz-esque. Only instead of looking behind the curtain to discover that it's nothing but a little man pushing buttons and turning knobs, I look behind the wall and find that it's nothing but five people seated behind a long counter typing on computers and making copies.
No matter. This is the home stretch. I've finally made it to the end of my DMV yellow brick road! (Excuse me as I continue my cheesy metaphor.) 13 minutes later at 2:52...I'm outta there.
The last words my friend behind the counter said to me as I was leaving?
"Welcome to Texas."Gee, thanks so much. My new license expires in 2017 and I'm already dreading renewing it. Despite all of this, I'm choosing to see past my DMV incident since I really do love Texas. It's just that...
I still (and always will) love Oklahoma a little bit more.