I enter the Department of Motor Vehicles and walk up to the front desk where a
"Hi! I need to get my license renewed," I happily tell the gentleman.
Without a word or any semblance of human expression, he hands me a paper with a number on it and points to his right.
"Thank you!" I say as head in the direction he's pointing.
I arrive in a waiting area of sorts and take a seat. There are twenty happy state employees just waiting on pins and needles to help me. So naturally, I sat there for fifteen minutes until one of them decided to do some work, and called my number. I approached a woman who was much too busy talking to her coworker to bother looking up at me.
"You should go to this bar with me. They play country music there. Oooo! We could call you Lurlene! I never give out my real name when I meet people at a bar. If a guy asks me my name, I tell him Maria and hope that my friends don't come by and call me Emily in front of him. I think we should go to the country bar and we'll call you Lurlene. Isn't that hilarious?"
"Hee hee hee! I never use my real name either! And if someone asks me for my phone number, I always say 588-2300. (You may only get this if you live in Chicagoland, but it's the number for a carpet company and for like 500 years, they've sang that stupid phone number on their commercials. Everyone has that number etched in their brains.)
"Hee hee hee. That's funny Lurlene!
I mentally thank God that I'm married (even if it's to a man who makes Kool-Aid fish and paints the insides of closets) because I cannot imagine being on the single scene with folks like these. Seeing that they have no intention of ending their exchange of dating tips any time soon, I cleared my throat and asked, "Excuse me. Am I in the right place?"
Anyway, I plopped my old license in Lurlene's friend's outstretched hand. She looked at it, typed on her computer, and asked, "Is your address the same?"
"Is your height and weight the same?"
This is the part where I snorted a little. I replied sarcastically, "Yeah, I'm still 125 pounds." I laughed hysterically thinking that was pretty darn funny as it's quite clear that I haven't seen 125 since Jimmy Carter was in office. Apparently Lurlene's friend wasn't amused as she looked at me deadpan, and said, "So it's 125?"
"Umm no. It's ummm, well, it's kinda, umm," I stammered, not really wanting to tell her the truth.
She rolled her eyes, as if to say, "Look lady, it doesn't matter what your driver's license says, you're a cow and no number you give me is going to change that. Now hurry up because I have bar hopping plans to make."
I decided that lying was the best policy and told her to put 150. Ha! I only wish I was 150.
She pushed a paper at me and, yawning with boredom, told me to sign it and then take my old license to the cashier in yet another line.
I stood in the cashier's line and encountered yet another friendly, smiling face. I'm not positive, but I think she said, "That'll be $10 and you suck for taking up my time." I paid her and moved on to line number four.
This is where I had the vision test. I'm pretty sure I could be legally blind and still pass. "Look into the machine. Do you see any letters?"
"Yes. G, B, T..."
He cut me off, "You don't need to tell me what they are. Do you see flashing lights on the right, the left, or both sides?"
"Good enough! Go over there to the update counter now."
OK then. I was able to bypass the written test line and the behind-the-wheel test line this time. I walked over to the update counter and stood in line there. Finally I was greeted by yet another fun, friendly, happy-to-be-alive DMV employee. I handed her my old license and paperwork. She directed me to take a seat in another waiting area. I waited there for my name to be called so I could get my picture taken.
The woman who called my name and took my picture actually smiled at me. I couldn't figure out how she ever managed to get a job there. I stood against the backdrop and smiled. After she took the picture (or so I thought), I relaxed my stance and made a goofy face at Savannah who was waiting for me. That's when she clicked the camera. She looked at the picture and said something along the lines of, "That's a terrible picture! You look like a serial killer. Stand back over there."
Now, I should have been ecstatic that she noticed it was a bad picture and let me have a "do-over", right? I mean, I'd hate to be caught speeding some day and have the police officer arrest me just because I look like a psychopath in my driver's license photo. But (and this is the really pathetic part) I thought to myself, "Oh bummer. If she made me keep the awful photo, that would make a pretty good blog post!" I know, I know. I warned you it was pathetic.
So I went to another waiting area until my new license was ready. It actually didn't turn out too badly. Well, except for the part where Savannah brought to my attention that I was only wearing one big, gold hoop earring and I had my sunglasses pushed up in my hair like a headband. I'm such a dork. But still, I was only at the DMV for 4 1/2 hours and I only had Savannah with me, and IL has pretty new licenses with red on them! So all in all it was good.