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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Department- of -Motor- Vehicles-a-phobe

I have an illness. It was finally confirmed yesterday. I know this because the last time I was in the same situation, I faced the exact same symptoms and side-effects. What am I talking about?

Department- of -Motor- Vehicles Phobia, or DMV-a-phobe, for short.

It happens when one is forced to sit in close proximity to strangers of all backgrounds and questionable hygiene standards on hard black plastic chairs while waiting for your number to be called at the DMV, which usually takes about 2 hours.

The symptoms: quickened heart rate- usually irregular, some chest pains, fear of breathing in, dizziness (usually caused by not breathing), the constant need to wash hands with hand sanitizer, shifty eyes, and nervous jerking away from anything that moves.

It all started about a year and a half ago. I had to go to the DMV for a new registration for my hubby's car. (the original had been lost.) Sitting there among the... how shall I put this... well, let's just ask, why would a prostitute need a car, can't she just hitch a ride, and get paid at the same time? Why would a homeless man be needing to renew his vehicle registration? Is Salt Lake City the only place for people who don't speak English to get their cars registered? These are questions I asked myself as I sat there packed like a sardine in a sea of loud, smelly, coughing, hacking, bizarre rash scratching , itchy-headed people. Oh, and I had forgotten a book to read!

The man next to me reeked of tobacco and cheap Rite-aid aftershave, wearing a very squeaky "leather" jacket. He kept bouncing his left knee at the speed of light and making comments like, "Wow. This is ridiculous!" or "I've got somewhere to be, I can't just be sitting here!" Hmmmm..... unlike the rest of us, you mean? I wanted to whack his knee and tell him to chill out!

The woman on the other side of me had either been crying non-stop since she got there, or had some weepy-eye problem, because she kept dabbing at her eye with a tissue. She also had some severe eczema or something, because her hands were all rashy and dry looking. I had recently seen a show about a woman who's brain fluid was leaking out of her eyes and nose, and thought of her. I tried not to make any physical contact with either of them, so I sat with my shoulders squeezed in to my chest, and my hands in my lap, trying not to breathe.

A kid with a sticky sucker and incredibly dirty face came up to me and offered me some soggy, dirty fishy crackers. No thank you, but go tell your mom to blow your nose.

The last straw was right before my number came up- 2 1/4 hours later. I looked across the isle at a man in a suit who's number had just been called. He was one of the few people dressed nicely- albeit a cheap suit, but had been sweating profusely the entire time. Yes, I had thought about sitting next to him, but didn't want to have to towel off when I left. As it was, I'd already be taking a very LONG shower!
Anyway, he got up and left, shall we say, a long damp streak of something on the seat. I dry heaved.

A man came to take his seat as there were no available seats and people were standing around the edges. He noticed the damp streak on the seat and... this is repulsive... ran his finger in it! My heart stopped! Then, he brought his finger up to his face and smelled it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I dry heaved again! I wanted to scream to him STOP but no sound escaped my lips- it was like a bad horror movie when the girl is being chased by the extremely slow scary guy and she gets cornered and just looks horrified, but can't scream or run. I was in this state of shock when my number came up. I must have looked pretty bad because the bedraggled lady at the desk asked me if I was ok. Ok? Me? No, I'm not ok! I just spend the last 2 1/4 hours of my life in a cess pool of filth and trolls!

I ran home and immediately took a shower. Oh, and I came down with a horrible cold the next day. Coincidence? I think not!

So, yesterday I had to go to the DMV again to get plates for my hubby's new car. The things I do for my sweet husband..... anyway, when I arrived I immediately began twitching and experiencing shortness of breath. The room was packed! My heart pounded in my ears and my head began aching. I quickly searched the room for an acceptable available seat- one preferably not directly next to anyone, but if that wasn't possible, one that was next to someone who wasn't wearing pleather, had combed their hair, didn't have a green haze of cheap cologne or parfume clouded around them, and... well, my options were drastically narrowing. I chose a man wearing a nice button up shirt and long shiny black hair. I figured, if it was shiny, maybe that meant clean. Luckily, shortly after I sat down, his number was called, and a woman immediately took his seat. She was younger, and smacking her gum louder than a whip crack, but she didn't stink. I prepared myself for the 2 hour wait by bringing my book.

I tried not to look around me. I figured what I don't see won't hurt me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the man in front of me had about 3 teeth. He liked to laugh a lot, but I don't think he spoke any English. A woman with a baby was nearby, and was oblivious to the fact that a crying baby isn't a soothing sound to most people. I wondered if there was a disaster and we were all stuck in the DMV how long it would take for people to start eating eachother. I know, sick thought. I was wondering how long it takes for a person to get Strep throat from another person, if head lice can migrate via the plastic chairs, if....

What? There's a new DMV opened on 14800 South???? There's no waiting???? Who cares if it's raining cats and dogs outside and I have lots of stuff to do that day! I'm outta here!!!! I drove all the way to Egypt and guess what, there was NO WAITING!!!! The people were friendly and clean, and didn't look like postal workers about to leave an unmarked package in the middle of the building. I even think I heard angels singing as I walked into the almost empty room!!!!! The workers might as well have been dressed in white playing harps- it was heavenly!!!!

So, lessons learned? I am a DMV-a-phobe, class 1! Also, it is sooooooo worth the drive to go to the new DMV. I will do it again and again!!!! I think I'll even take my son there for a fun day. It is a happy place!

"No honey, don't get me anything for Christmas this year, just take me to the 14800 South DMV. That's all I need! And maybe some more hand sanitizer. I ate all of mine."


Anonymous said...

I too don't understand this? Where are all the normal people in DMV's? I always sit there completly afraid knowing that when I leave in my car, these people will be driving on the road as well! Freaky!

Shantell said...

Did this happen at the Rose park DMV? That place always gave me the heebie jeebies.

família Wallis said...

My disdain of the DMV has been transferred to California. When we went to register our car here they charged us $250 of extra taxes even though I told them that wasn't right! They also spelled my name wrong on the application! I've noticed that when most government employees are wrong they still try to make YOU seem like the idiot. Luckily, we got a refund (about a month later) after I made a call to the state board of equalization. Argh! DMV!
But hey, now we're officially "California drivers" :)

Andrea said...

For all the reasons you just described in detail, I haven't gotten my driver's license fixed. Last time they renewed it, they took it upon themselves to make me 3 inches taller and 15 pounds heavier. So maybe my license isn't legit, but I just can't go in there.

Janelle said...

Erin- you are hilarious! I'm laughing so hard I almost pee'd my pants! Thanks for the laugh! And thanks for the advice. Let's not tell too many people though -k-? I don't want it to start getting busy! :)