I personally visited Hell, otherwise known as the Texas DMV and barely survived to tell about it. It was beyond bad. You know how people always joke about the lines at the DMV? Well, I have been in lines at the DMV before and while they were a pain in the butt.... I am a patient person and they were not too excruciating. I think the longest I have ever waited was maybe 2 hours, in the air conditioning, and that was on the South Side of San Antonio on a not so nice side of town where nobody spoke English and everybody and their seven cousins were in line for a driver's license or a state ID card. I thought waiting in that line had made me tough and seasoned...but apparently I was wrong.
You may remember my fear of failing the vision test (and I may or may not have downloaded a cheat sheet off of the Internet, but we won't discuss how stupid of an idea that was).....well, I never made it to the eye doctor. I have been so busy lately that time has just gotten away from me. I had to pull out an old pair of glasses that I have had for like a million years and I was just hoping for the best. Due to my fear of failing the test and thus looking like a fool and possibly having to bum rides from people until I could get to the eye doctor because yes, I am a big law abiding chicken and if I even thought about driving with an expired license, it would be my luck I would be hauled off to jail where upon I would just die right on the spot. Whew! Broke a lot of grammatical rules with that sentence!!!
Anyway, I put it off until the last possible minute and managed to take a day off from work to go get it renewed. I looked online to find the closest DMV office and everything within a 30 mile radius was "temporarily closed due to budget issues and the need for new equipment." Great! I had a choice between going into the inner hell of Houston or staying out in the country and driving about 30 miles north. I got up early and carefully applied my makeup and straightened the hell out of my hair so it would look decent because damn it, I did not want to have a crappy driver's license picture. When I got there, about 9:30, the line was out the door and ALLLLLLLL THE WAY AROUND THE BUILDING. Apparently since all of the local offices have been closed... this one is the closest one available to the zillions of people who live out in the sticks like me.
I stood in line and stood there some more, in the same spot, for almost an hour. I estimated that there were about 40 people in line in front of me which is not too bad I guess, but based on my calculations and the rate at which people were coming out, I was in trouble. They were only processing people at the rate of about 6 per hour. You do the math.... it was not looking good. Basically, I stood out in the full sun until about 3 o'clock. Did I mention that this is Houston? The armpit of the world where the heat index has been hovering around 108 degrees and the humidity is about 99.9%? Did I also mention that I was wearing jeans and a heavy cotton shirt that was sucking the life out of me with each passing minute that I stood there? I seriously thought that heat stroke was imminent. Seriously. I kept telling myself that I was not going to pass out and die in front of a bunch of strangers. No way!!!
At one point, some wonderful man went to his car and came back with an umbrella and offered it to me. He was at the back of the line and was still in the shade so he did not need it yet. Nice people do still exist!! I am not sure if I was delusional at that point but I swear that the man looked like Ed Begley Jr. It could have been his twin brother. That whole chunk of time is a little fuzzy but I do remember finally making it to the back door, giving my umbrella back to old Ed, and squeezing my way into the tiny, tiny space that was barely available right inside the door.
There was only room for about 6 people inside the building but luckily there was air conditioning. Wonderful, wonderful air conditioning!!! After getting inside the door, I grabbed my mirror out of my purse to inspect the damage to my hair and makeup, and there I was greeted with the sight of all of my mascara and eyeliner having slid onto my cheeks. I looked like I had been out all night and had woken up without washing my face. Lovely!!! My hair was now a giant poof ball of frizz. Guess what? I no longer cared. I wiped off most of the remains of my makeup, swiped my hair with a brush and said fuck it. I just wanted to get it over with and go home.
I finally get to the first desk and the lady asks me to step over to the eye exam machine and read line 4. I looked into the machine and saw total blackness. Great! Now I was in serious trouble. I was blind. I finally realized you had to press your forehead against the machine to activate it. My first thought was Gross! How many people have used this and how often do they clean it? My second thought was oh shit... these were numbers, I had memorized letters. I guess it does not pay to attempt to cheat. Thought three was that I could not read line four. Finally, after what seemed like 5 minutes... I was able to squint and make out the numbers, or at least what I thought they were. I yelled out 4 6 8 3 4 5 9 and she stamped my card and sent me to wait in the next line. There is no way I got those right. She must have taken pity on my poofy hair and sunburned face. Finally I am about two people away from the last part of the process. All I needed was my fingerprints taken, my picture done, and to pay when dum da da dum. THE FREAKING COMPUTERS SHUT DOWN AND THEY CAN"T GET THEM REBOOTED!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOO! All I am thinking is Hell No am I doing this again!!! I passed the eye test for cripes sake. Odds are I would not be lucky twice!!!!! After about 30 minutes of going back and forth with the help desk, they were able to get the system up and running. I got through the rest of the line, had my picture taken, and GOT THE HELL OUT OF THERE. They give you a paper copy to use that has your picture on it but I did not get to get a good look at it until I got to my car. My picture looks like the female version of Bret Michaels..... minus the bandanna. I kid you not! Fucking Bret Michaels! Are you kidding me???? Crap!!! I folded the paper into a teeny, tiny square and told myself I would worry about it later. Serenity Now!!!!!!
I honestly was not feeling well so I broke my no fast food rule and went to Jack In The Box (my only other choice was McDonalds) and ordered a large orange soda and a grilled chicken sandwich. That soda was almost gone before I even left the parking lot. I swear there was steam coming out of my throat as I guzzled it down. I don't recommend drinking that much orange soda at once. I almost barfed. I get halfway down the road when I pull out my sandwich and I found they had given me some 12 pound super burger with onions only. Kill me now! Damn you JITB!!!! I did not order that crap!!!!! That is when I looked at my receipt and saw they had charged me 8 bucks for something I know I did not order!!!! Story of my life!!! I did gag down about three bites of the burger since it was either that or nothing. Lesson learned. never put getting your driver's license off until the last minute.... and avoid JITB. Serenity Now!!!!!!