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Love at the DMV

December 2, 2018

I lost my driver’s license. I don’t mean it got taken away (though that lady who almost hit me in the parking lot today probably thinks it should be); I physically lost it, most likely somewhere between San Jose and Ventura. Lost for the first time in my life. Gah. I think I had it wedged between my room key cards at the Hampton and left the cards there, of course.

I went on the Department of Motor Vehicles website to order a replacement. Easy right? HA, no, this is the DMV, have you ever met us? You have to go to the DMV to get a replacement. Visiting the DMV, in California, is a task most people enjoy about as much as a colonoscopy (but at least with a colonoscopy, you get to be asleep).

I saw the first available appointment: December 26, also noting the large warning on the website: You MUST not drive without a license. Crap. I was going to have to go stand in line with no appointment.

People advised me when to go. Get there 90 minutes before they open. No, an hour is ok. You should be ok with 45 minutes, but you’ll probably have to wait an hour and a half once you get inside.

I decided I would arrive at 7 a.m., an hour before opening, and take my chances. ¡Bueno! I was first. It was a cool, drizzly morning and I was so happy to wait in my car as long as no one else was there. Another guy showed up and waited in his car. Yay. We were on the same wavelength.

Then about 7:15, a lady showed up and sat on the bench near the door. I was going to have to exit my warm car and sit outside. I walked over to the bench, clutching my fuzzy blanket, grumpy at this woman.

“Oh, you can go first!” she said. “I saw you were already here.”

Hmph. Ok, BE nice, then.

“Do you want to sit on part of my blanket?” I asked, pointing to the concrete bench.

“No,” she said. “I’m not really in line anyway. I’m waiting so my dad doesn’t have to.”

We got in a long conversation because her dad is 86 and needed an ID and she helped care for him. We talked, as dutiful middle-aged daughters tend to do, about the elderly and driving and caretaking and worrying and feeling like nothing you ever do is enough.. After a few minutes, I offered her part of the blanket again and this time, she accepted.

“Oh, my gosh, this is so much better,” she said, insulated from the bone-chilling concrete hardness.

Right before the DMV opened (when there were about 45 people in line), her sister drove up with her father. As the doors opened, dad and daughter changed places.

This is love. Getting up to be at the DMV on a rainy day so an 86-year-old man doesn’t have to stand in line. Coordinating with your sister so you can come early and then she can drive dad.

May we all have people who love us so much. May we all love each other this much.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2018 19:00

    Looking at the title I thought this will yet another post about the atrocities we face at the hands of DMV but you ended with such a warm message, something we all need in this frigid winter.

    • December 3, 2018 06:36

      The DMV, knock wood, was rather organized and speedy. They had a lady with a cart come out before they opened and ask what you were there for, then gave you the URL of the proper form to fill out on your phone. Then you just give the confirmation number to the counter person, they look it up and soon you’re on your way.

  2. December 2, 2018 20:17

    Beautiful.

  3. Gretchen permalink
    December 3, 2018 06:29

    This ties in nicely with a new mantra I’m trying out: Don’t be such a bitch. Hmm. What a concept. Be nice to people and do what you can to help.

    • Gretchen permalink
      December 3, 2018 06:30

      PS this refers only to myself, not you or any readers or the lady at the DMV in any way. Just me.

      • December 3, 2018 06:34

        I love that PS because we all know how the internet is.

    • December 3, 2018 06:34

      I try to remember this too. Sometimes I even succeed.

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