Friday, June 05, 2009
COLUMN: DMV Redux
Irresponsibility, thy name is Shane.
You know that one person in your clique of friends? The one who's usually good for a laugh but little else? The one who's your friend but NEVER your best man because you wouldn't trust him to keep hold of your ring for even the minute-and-a-half walk down the aisle? I'm starting to think that's me.
Case in point: Food Days. If there's one thing to be said about the journalism industry, we don't go hungry. If there's an excuse on Earth to eat, our gang will find it. It's your birthday? FOOD DAY! The anniversary of your hiring date? FOOD DAY! It's Cinco De Mayo? TACO BAR! True story. I'm writing this column on, err, Quatro De Mayo, and we're taco-ing it up tomorrow. Too bad it's gonna slip my mind between now and then.
In my office, we are in a near-constant state of Food Day. And I, concidentally, am in a near-constant state of Forgetting About Food Day. Tomorrow I'm expected to bring in taco-tastic ingredients to share with my journalistic brethren, and I'm the clod who'll once again forget, walk in empty-handed, slap my head, say "d'oh," and then spend the rest of the workday sheepishly apologizing while eating my body weight in free food.
I'm fed up with being the forgetful, irresponsible one. But I have NO idea how to fix it. Actually, I've figured out part of it: be lucky enough to score a responsible girlfriend. She just showed up at my apartment bearing chopped tomatoes and black beans. (Isn't she awesome? Everybody say "aww" on three - ready? 1, 2, 3... aww!) Perhaps I'll be lucid enough in the morning to remember to bring it to the food day.
Someday I want people to look at me and go, "Wow. There goes Shane, the most responsible guy I know." Oh, and I forgot, "plus he's got a super sweet booty." Hey, it's MY dream.
Anyways, I'm on a mission to become more responsible, and it started with one simple task. Every May, my license plate sticker renewal comes up. And I usually remember it mid-July or so -- occasionally with the help of a friendly police officer. THIS year, though, Responsible Shane remembered. I even put a note in my calendar. On May 1, I would strut into the DMV a changed man. A responsible man.
I was beaming with pride. No more would I be the poster child of immaturity and irresponsibility. I was turning a new leaf, and May 1st was the day that leaf would flip. Good timing, then, that on April 30th, I just happened to glance at my driver's license and realize in terror that it had expired on my birthday -- all the way back in January.
For the past 4 months, I've been cruising about the QCA with an expired license. Awesome. It's official -- I would forget my brain if it wasn't attached to my spine. Suddenly, my journey to the DMV became a tad more critical.
Our local DMV is a grand and glorious place -- a one-stop for all of your transportation licensing needs. In fact, I can say with certainty that whenever I'm in the mood to spend $78 on a colored sticker, the first place I head to is the DMV -- conveniently located for your shopping pleasure in: the absolute middle of nowhere (I believe the locals call it 'Silvis.')
As I made the drive, I got to thinking. Since I was an idiot and let my license expire, would I have to re-take the tests? The written test was pretty cake as I remembered it, but to do so without first perusing the Rules of the Road might be risky. After all, if I come to a 4-way stop at the same time as another car, I have no idea who to yield to. Usually I yield to the driver with the grumpiest face, and somehow I doubt that'll be one of the multiple choices.
Same goes for parallel parking. If I parallel park on an uphill slope, I'm supposed to turn my wheels (a) towards the curb or (b) away from the curb? As a general rule, I choose (c) go park someplace flat.
After navigating my way into the labyrinthian parking lot (which I still say should count as the driving portion of your licensing exam,) I wandered through the doors into the epicenter of the H1N1 flu virus. At least, you would have thought so from the jumbo jugs of hand sanitizer beside every employee. It even looked as though the employees were quabbling over their ethyl alcohol stockpile -- the gallon bottle in front of me was rudely scrawled with a marker: "CAROL'S!!!!!" Suddenly I began to realize why DMV employees aren't exactly known for their cheeriness.
For what it's worth, it was a relatively painless experience. While no-one there was particularly personable, everyone was efficient and dutiful. And thankfully no testing needed. I just had to stand there while some lady pelted me with bizarre questions: "Are you prone to seizures?" "Do you have any mental health issues?" "Do you occasionally heed the verbal instruction of your cats and/or houseplants?" Etc., etc.
Once officially certified sane, it was just the matter of taking a quick pic. "Look at the smiley face sticker and smile if you want to," which was my cue to tilt my head 15 degrees, make the world's most awkwardly forced half-smile, and realize the fashion complications of wearing a blue jacket over a black shirt. CLICK. Ah yes, a moment I'll be happy to be reminded of every time I reach into my wallet for the next four years.
So once again, I am fully licensed to drive and basking in the glow of at least marginal responsibility in life. I'd dwell on it more, but right now I've got to focus. Don't forget the black beans... don't forget the black beans... wish me luck.