stranger things have happened

This is a long one, so sit back and relax.

I had to get a new driver's licence since it had been the requisite ten years and I guess they think I forgot how to drive or they had a dire need for $15.40. Probably use it to paint stripes on the road.

And I actually still look quite a bit like my old photo, though there's less of me and my hair is lighter. I didn't have to lie about my weight this time, though I added two inches to my height. What the fuck, everyone thinks I'm taller than I am anyway. I put light-brown hair on my licence instead of dark-brown, like usual. I felt like I was deceiving the state of Colorado, because my true color is light brown. It was a good feeling. I'm thing I'm like one chromosome or something away from being a criminal. I dispensed with guilt a long time ago, if I ever had it in the first place. Oh, I can fake it if I get caught, but if I get away with something rest assured it's with a clear conscience and followed up by a sound night's sleep.

So of course I was number 093 and they were on like number 05. Good thing I had a book with me. I'm reading Blink. It's got this cool rambling beginning (rather like this one) about this debate over a statue where some experts say it's old and other experts glance at it and say in like two seconds that it's not, and then it ends with, "Blink is about those first two seconds." Instantaneous, unconscious decision making. That's what it's about. Ironic, that, since I was in the DMV--a place where absolutely nothing happens in two seconds.

I sat down and started to read and realized that someone was tapping their foot. Not out of annoyance, or because they have to potty, but tapping out a tune for crissake. At first, oh, like for the first two seconds, I'm thinking they're being funny. But then it went on. And on. I turned and it quit. I gave the crowd behind me my best teacher glare and went back to my book.

It started tapping again. It gave me that sort of knee-jerk reaction where your neck sort of shrugs and cringes into your shoulders. It was starting to truly piss me off. Think cigarette smoke on an elevator. Think loud cologne on a fat has-been golf pro. Think Napoleon Dynamite at his most annoyed.

"Gah. Idiot."

Fortunately his number was called. Who knows, it might've been a good strategy to speed things up. You know, if you don't get your ass beat first.

Then I start to cough. I'm at the tail-end of this little cold and it's at that coughing stage where you get a tickle. There's nothing in there but a fucking tickle. You cough, but the tickle doesn't go away. You smile apologetically at those around you. They smile back sympathetically. Meanwhile you can't stop coughing and your eyeliner is running and it's going to fucking ruin your picture on your driver's licence for the next ten years because of a fucking tickle.

Your entire world becomes about the tickle.

You can't stop coughing and the coughing turns from a mild annoyance into some one else's blog-fodder about this chick at the DMV today who was hacking up a lung.

I had to go out to my car to get a drink because the bathroom at this public mall is locked. I guess you're supposed to get a hall pass from a shopkeeper or something. Or a validation so you can pee for free. I don't get it, but locked it was.

It did give me the opportunity to look in my side view mirror and realize that my bra was showing. I fixed it, out there on the parking lot. I went back in. I sat back down.

I was wearing this cute little ensemble, a tye-dye orange halter top in which I pretend to have cleavage, and this long necklace that drops down between where cleavage would be if I had any. To my utmost amusement it makes guys look at my boobs (or in the previous few moments, at my bra), because, you understand, that I'm using "boobs" in the loosest sense of the word. Anyway, so my deliciously tanned back was bare.

And I feel a tickle again, but this time of another sort. I'd been listening to someone who shares my birthday talk about getting a shot at the liquor store today (three guesses how old she was and the first two don't count. Woo. Hoo.) while this other chick behind me is on the phone with someone. I'm desperately trying not to pay attention; I'm making a supreme effort to stay focused on Blink , and then her hair--nice hair as it goes, I suppose--starts to tickle my back.

Shudder.

I have a couple of weird quirks. I think they're relatively cool eccentricies as these these things go, though no doubt that's a purely false romantic notion. One is that I don't like to be touched by strangers, and sometimes even by people who know me. Not by their hands, God forbid by their feet, and not even by their hair. Not even when it's soft and it smells good. Just keep your hair to yourself and I'll keep mine, thank you.

Finally her number was called. I think it was number eleven. I glanced at my number. Still 093.

I went back to my book.

Before my number was called, I had enough time for another coughing fit, another trip to the jeep for a drink, enough time to get more annoyed by this guy who commented on everything and everyone he saw, non-stop, to his extremely annoyed teen-aged son.

"Why do people put such big holes in their ears? I just don't get it."

"Well, buddy, why don't you ask that guy with the big holes since he's sitting four feet away from you?"

No, I didn't say it, but I wanted to.

Oh, and I had time to hang out in the mall.

The mall. Eight storefronts including a closed costume shop, a closed craft store, a realty place with what had to be the oldest realtor alive--seriously, the man was selling homesteads back in the day--two insurance agencies, and a Chinese restaurant. Thinking of Krypto, I stopped to listen to the matron take a call--sure enough, "Fol-fiii mineeeeeh." I hovered outside the DMV, waiting for my number, reluctant to re-enter. It's a sad, drab place filled with lines of sad, drab people. The chairs are dirty. Lights are burnt out. The floor is permanently scuffed.

But then, what do you want for $15.40? The Ritz-Carlton?

When 091 was called I took a deep breath and walked back through the gates into Purgatory. I sat down, back to the wall (eccentricity number two: don't like my back to the room. Hey, I know it sounds weird, but what with the hair I wasn't taking any more chances.) and I opened my book again. The guy next to me had spit-shined black shoes with worn, frayed khakis and just-wrong brown socks. I don't know what the rest of him looked like cuz I didn't look any further than his knees.

Even though he talked to me.

Now, I have no problem with strangers, as long as they keep away from me. I just don't like strangers. It's not you, it's me. Well, unless you're weird or smell bad. Then it's you.

"How's that book?"

"Uh." I looked at the cover as if to recall what I was reading. "Good, I guess."

"It sounds interesting," he said. "I mean to buy it pretty soon."

"Yeah," I said.

"92!" the DMV lady barked.

A perky Asian chick walked up to the counter, hitched her flat ass to one side.

"Papers?"

Papers? I don't need no stinkin' papers.

A foreign national of some sort walked in the door next to me, scanned me up and down (I sank down lower in my seat, lifted my book and hoped my bra wasn't showing) and then embarked on a polite conversation with the bouncer by the door to this nuthouse about what papers he needed, and yes he had a European licence, but he didn't bring it.

Gah! Idiot.

"So you recommend it?" Black Shoe wasn't letting it go.

I know I'm tan enough that my claim to a Caucasion background is questionable, but I ain't Oprah, dude. Get off my case. I shifted in my chair and thought how I should have stayed out in the mall. I heard the numbers fine from out there.

Come on, I thought.

The Asian chick walked over and stuck her skinny ass in another chair to wait again.

And the DMV Lady proceeded to disappear. 12:30 pm on the button. Lunch break.

Fuck.

I don't know how much time passed. It could have been ten minutes. It could have been an hour. Black Shoe finally got up to find a magazine and last I know he was talking to some guy with one of those construction clipboards and dirty steel-toed boots. Nice ass in his Carharts, though.

"93?"

She punched a hole in my licence, adjusted my weight and height according to my switch in lies (got to keep them guessing) and told me to sit back down and wait to be called for my picture.

Never saw it coming, did you?

So I waited, again. I coughed, again. I read the same page, again.

Finally they called my name, and trust me, everyone took notice when they heard "Sex." The woman took my $15.40 and for some reason it felt weird to not tip her. I don't know why. But I didn't, because I think it's like against the law or something to tip government employees.

Then I went around and confirmed that all my information was correct (tee hee) and smiled for the picture, all the while hoping my bra didn't show. Meanwhile this guy was bitching about how the electronic signature thing didn't work, and no, that signature sucked, and he had to do it over like five times until they were satisfied.

"Your machine is clearly broken," he said.

"We haven't had any problems with it til just now," the DMV lady said, in a tone that clearly meant "til YOU came along."

Hah. I only had to sign mine once.

They didn't show me my picture and they didn't even give me my licence. It comes in the mail for god-sake. I sort of have this worry about the picture. I mean, I was looking pretty good that day. If only it's really, really bad, then I'll know that everything in the world is as it should be; balance is restored.

What do you want to bet my bra is showing?

later:
Got it today. The picture is actually pretty good. Armageddon is coming. I can feel it in my bones.

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