We all have heard of people cribbing and wailing about how unorganized and time consuming DMV trips turn out to be and how much they loathe going there. The only good that comes out of these trips (No, not the work that gets done. Does it get done?) are the great dinner table stories. I’ve moved to Virginia a few months ago and since then, have spent many fine Saturday mornings at DMV. It is kind of fun if you can see the humor in it as I do. Or maybe I’ve just reached the point where you can do nothing but laugh at it.
We all have gone through the long wait in lines and the I’m-doing-you-the-greatest-favor-of-your-life attitude of employees. One such incident is what we call ‘the why she cares?’ incident. I had to get my driver’s learning permit so we went to DMV at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Virginia on a bright Saturday morning. Glorious! We had to wait more than an hour to get through the long line and another 30 minutes once we got inside. We waited and waited. Staring at those dull monochromatic walls I realised that they were of the same color in every DMV (atleast same in the ones I’ve been to). They must have just agreed on the dismal shade and decided to paint with it every possible DMV under their reach. Not to mention the same wall panels. Probably bought them in bulk at Wal-Mart and hung them all across Virginia. However, their aesthetic sense is something they can be excused of. I wouldn’t have mentioned anything of the walls if I hadn’t spent hours staring right at them.
After taking the learner’s test I reached the counter. Pablo, the man on the counter (yeah we’ve been there so many times that we know all of their names, needless to say that they know ours) was castigating this man for not having checked his name when the computer asked the first time. And on went his sermon…
“Sir, you should always check the spelling of your name when the computer asks you the first time.”
“I remember that my name was right then, but it is misspelled on my license here.”
“Well, you should have checked it the first time.”
“But I’m telling you I checked what appeared on the computer it was correct but on my license…”
“Well the computer won’t lie.”
“You mean I’m lying?!”
“I never said that. Sir, you should control your temper. You should have checked all your details…”
” I’m telling you I did”
Pablo continued in a stern and in a matter-of-fact voice,
“Now we will have to go through all our previous records which will take a very long time and will cause you as well as us a lot of inconveniences. If you find the slightest mistake you should tell us immediately”
I was watching all this as an amused bystander, waiting to get my permit. Finally, the man decided it was useless wasting his Saturday morning arguing at DMV. When he moved on I was handed my permit. Immediately, I spotted that my height was typed in as 5’6 instead of 5’7. Although it was no big deal I thought I should get it corrected. My husband pointed out that they had done exactly the same mistake on my state ID card too. We had spent a long time getting this done, we thought that we’d just wait a few more minutes and get this corrected too. When we approached Pablo, he made the zaniest face I had ever seen.
“Why would you want that?”
“Well, because that is incorrect and not what we filled on the form”
“I’m telling you it makes no difference”
“We would still appreciate it if you would change it”
“But why on earth? You know, you could just stretch your neck and you’ll be an inch taller”
“But, there was the same mistake on the State ID and we’d like to change at least this one”
“I can make it a hundred if you want and nobody would ask anything of it. Why you care?”
“My husband said, “We know nobody would ask for it but, we care.”
“But my question is why you care?”
“Actually, she cares”, said my husband pointing towards me.
“My question is why she cares?”
At this point, we realized what a lunatic argument we were having.
“We care because it is wrong.” I finally said.
After a short pause Pablo said,” OK OK, you know what, I’ll do it but it might take a long time. Are you willing to wait?”
“Take as long as you want. We will go get some lunch.”
Now every time I look at my learner’s permit I remember Pablo saying, “why she cares?” and it makes me laugh at how after giving a long lecture to the man infront of me he argued so much over changing my height on the license.
And for all of you reading this here is something to laugh about.