Friday, August 28, 2009

Department of Public . . . Safety?

I had to go to the DPS the other day to get a new license - I had lost mine a year ago so I thought it important to get it replaced quickly. I decided to go to the Walker County DPS office because it's right down the road from my office so I hopped in my car and popped over there for a quick renewal.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then I remembered it was a DPS office and they never do ANYTHING quickly.

There were two ladies working the counter and about 15 of us waiting in the line. And let me tell ya, friends, they were taking their sweet time making their way through us. Then, after I'd been there for about 20 minutes, one of the ladies got up and went out to take a smoke break. How do I know she was taking a smoke break? Because she was standing behind a glass door and staring defiantly at all of us while she smoked.

Then another lady came out from the back and sat down. I thought "Where the HECK were YOU? And why aren't you helping anyone?" She typed at her computer and looked busy and then got up and asked the other ladies if they wanted any coffee. I wanted to shout "It's 3:00 in the afternoon . . . in AUGUST. Coffee can wait!" The other ladies said no and Coffee Girl walked out. Then the two remaining ladies started laughing about how she's so strange because none of them care about coffee. I rolled my eyes and stomped my foot. That's about all you can do in a DPS office without getting arrest.

To help make the time go by, I decided to distract myself with people-watching. There was a young girl in front of me whose boyfriend was with her. She did all her paperwork, waited on the DPS lady's record-breaking slowness, smiled for her picture and then walked toward the door. As she got close to the door, I saw the DPS lady give someone behind me a high sign and point to the young girl who was leaving. I turned around and saw a State Trooper standing there. He walked up to the girl and said "Are you Ms. Ruiz? I need to talk with you over here for a minute." I thought "Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn! Homegirl sold her OUT!" Then I thought "Why am I talking that way?" Something about the DPS office makes me go all gangsta and stuff.

Ooooooooooooooookay, I'm gonna stop.

ANYWAY, I decided at that moment that I would do my best to NOT make that DPS lady mad.

There was a lady in front of me who appeared to have consulted the stylists at Glamour Shots for her big day at the DPS. Seriously, I haven't seen hair that big since my mom's in the early 90s. I couldn't take my eyes off of her hair.

Until I saw who she was standing next to: a man who had consulted George Jones for HIS big day. I didn't know if I should give him a crash course in hair trends since the early 70s or ask him for an autograph. I just opted to watch him. George stepped up to the counter and went through the license renewal rigmarole: paperwork, fingerprints, picture, and waiting for the DPS lady to type a novel. Seriously . . . WHAT are they typing?? ANYWAY - the best part of George's renewal process was when he had to do the eye test. This was the exchange I was so lucky to overhear:

DPS lady: Put your forehead here and look in and read line 3 to me.
George: 3 . . . 0 . . . 5 . . .
DPS lady: Sir, they're letters. Not numbers.
George: Oh. Ok. E . . . P . . . R . . . T . . . J . . .
DPS lady: There are actually 6 letters. Try it again. You got the first one right.
George: D . . .
DPS lady: No, you had the first one right the first time.
George: Oh. E . . .?
DPS lady: Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm.
George: E . . . B . . .
DPS lady: No . . .
George E . . . D . . .?
DPS lady: Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm.
George: E . . . D . . . F . . . you said these are all letters?
DPS lady: Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm. Try it again.
Catherine: WHAT??
George: E . . . D . . . F . . .ummmmm . . . .
Catherine: Seriously? Department of Public SAFETY, people! SAFETY!!! Take his license away until he gets glasses!!!

Finally, it was my turn. I walked up to Smoke Break Lady and breathed a sigh of relief that Sell Out Lady was busy with George. I gathered that she was in a hurry suddenly (it had been 20 minutes since her last smoke break) because she was "rushing" me through the process. I did my fingerprints and my paperwork and she typed away. Then she motioned me over to the blue screen so that she could take my picture. I had barely gotten into place before she snapped the picture. I'm not sure I was smiling or looking in the right direction and I'm POSITIVE that I hadn't had sufficient double-chin reduction time. But I was brave and said something like "Oh! That was faaaaaaaaaast!" and made a joke about her making sure that it was a good picture of me. She didn't laugh. I looked around to make sure there was no DPS officer waiting for me.

Feeling dejected and filled with dread about seeing that picture in 8 to 10 weeks, I slumped my shoulders and walked out, visions of double chins dancing in my head. What else could I do? Nothing but get in my car and head back to the office.

But you better believe I was driving 10 and 2 and looking around for George the whole time . . .


Unknown said...

One time I got a really nice DPS lady but she said she was new, so that explained it - clearly she had not had time to learn the DPS way of transacting business. I can sympathize a little bit though I guess. I mean, I wouldn't want to spend every day for 60 years (yes, I think some of the younger ones have been there that long) saying a hundred times a day: "Put your right thumb here, No, the other hand. No, just your thumb. No, your thumb, the one that goes a different direction than the rest. No, nail side up..........." I'd be slappin' people and takin' crack smoking breaks!

Phyllis Eddings said...

Who can follow up that comment, Nora?

Emma said...

Catch, that was too funny! I can't believe they were helping him like that on the eye test!! Can't you use your lawyer resources and find out why the interest n Ms. Ruiz???

Erin said...

OMG...I can't believe that about George! I kinda feel like I would do the same thing though. I wouldn't have even corrected him..I just wouldve said GREAT JOB and hoped for the best! I have no spine.

Momza...your comments made me LOL for sure! It's all about shock value!