An experience my wife Linda and I had at the DMV
|Visit to the DMV
Yesterday I lamented about getting my Yamaha trail bike titled and registered at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Anyway I decided it was time to stop sniveling and just go down and get the job done. Not only that... but I have two other old bikes in the garage with titles in various stages of completeness. On one the buyer information was not filled out and on the the other it was filled out improperly. I was worried because I wanted to work on these bikes as well as my latest acquisition, but I didn't want to get finished only to discover it was impossible to get them titled.
While on my morning walk with the dogs it occurred to me that a good strategy might be to take my wife along. When I meet people for the first time I make a bad first impression. I do this without opening my mouth... I won't tell you how many fights I got into as a kid because of bad karma. My wife, on the other hand, is a real sweetheart... people love her. They come up to her in Walmart and just naturally strike up a conversation. I can honestly say that never in my entire life has anyone approached me, out of the blue, at Walmart and tried to do that. So you might understand why I anticipated trouble at the desk of the DMV. I knew these old titles were full of glitches and incompletions and envisioned a "No, No, No" response as the clerk examined each one and flipped it back at me.
Then I had a flash of sheer genius...if Linda was standing next to me and I kept my mouth shut and let her do the talking, my chances of succeeding, with at least one of the three, increased exponentially. Allow me to digress and expand this line of thought. I come from a long line of worriers... My mother worried so much she was in and out of the hospital and yes they used to give electric shock treatments and all that... Now my affliction with worry is not nearly the cross my mother had to bear, however, if you subscribe to the acorn and tree hypothesis, you can understand that being a "Worrywart" comes naturally. There is another aspect to being a worrier that I have discovered. This is that the things I worry about never seem to materialize. If I worry enough the bad things never happen. Now, why do you suppose that is? My take is that through worry, God, knows what is bothering me and takes steps in his eternal kindness to prevent them from ever seeing the light of day. It's the things that I don't worry about that bite me... You know those that are totally unexpected....those completely unanticipated disasters that rear up suddenly and knock us flat on our asses. Hold that thought.
So when I got back to the house I asked Linda if she'd go with me to the DMV. She smiled that radiant smile... the one that melted my heart over fifty years ago and said, "Sure, but when we finish I get to go to Target... and I don't want you hovering and sending vibes that it's time to go home." If you'd seen me grovel in appreciation, you'd have witnessed the whole shameless scene, but take my word... So off we went.
When we arrived I was on edge. Linda stood next to me playing on her I-phone. The guy in front us, at the prescreen booth, was applying for a Driver's License. The clerk asked if he had any proof of residency.
"No," he said. in an irritated tone of voice, as if this was some kind of unreasonable request.
"How about a utility bill with an address?"
"No nothing like that with me..."
"Sorry, no proof of residency... no driver's license."
There was some hem-hawing and I could feel the frustration radiating off his body as the line of waiting customers got longer. Finally, he shrugged, shook his head and walked from the building, a look of total failure on his face. I could sympathize because I expected to soon be wearing that same look. With a deep breath, I stepped up to the desk,
"I have three old motorcycles I want to register...,"
Linda stepped up crowding the space intended for a single person.
"Are you going to register them in both your names?" He inquired, shifting his attention to my wife.
"Heavens NO!" Linda answered, "These are DIRT BIKES, Fifty years old... you won't get me on one. They're a waste of money if you ask me... then nobody ever does. NO, this is all HIS doing and I don't need my name on any of the paperwork."
(She sounded like my caregiver...)
He gave us the once over "Just though I'd ask... fill out these three forms, one for each title, where you see the blocks highlighted in yellow.
With one hand Linda took the forms and the other my arm... guiding us over to the form filling out counter.
I started to complete one and she snatched them away... " I'll do it." (Form filling is not my long suit). "You write in what you paid for each bike, sign there and date them."
When I finished she surveyed each completed form until coming to the last one. With a voice of dismay she gasped... "You paid $2600 for these three bikes?"
I winced... "It came from my mad money account."
"I didn't realize the full extent of your latest hobby." she answered, expressing her thoughts out loud.
She guided us over to a bench in front of the video call screen. When our number came up we walked together up to the window. There an even more formidable bureaucrat sat with this I hate my job look.... Maybe if I transfer some of my angst to a customer I'll feel better.
"I want to title and register these bikes."
"You want plates for all three?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
Linda spoke up... "Yes, and if it keeps him out of the tavern, it'll be worth it."
"Tell me about it," the clerk answered with unspoken sympathy.
What followed was an efficiency born of long experience, as she processed the titles and without further ado issued the plates.
"That will be $468." My jaw dropped. (This was the unexpected part.) Linda wrote out the check without hesitation.
The clerk hit the send key and the titles printed off. "Have a nice day."
I gathered them all up and tried to appear casual as we walked out... In the parking lot I did the happy dance... Will wonders never cease...? I kissed my college sweetheart on the forehead and gave her an endearing hug.