Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wait is why we hate

Neil would look at the paperwork and then look at his computer screen. Then look at the paperwork and then look at his computer screen, scratch his head then look at his paperwork. Then look at his computer screen. Then look at his paperwork and maybe, get up and walk in a circle, look at his shoes, look at the fat ass of the Samoan manning the next booth, circle around like a lost moth but s - l - o - w, almost backwards. Then look at his paperwork.

Again.

All I needed was Motor Vehicle Record. The people consigned to the "renew your license" circle camped in the torture seats, starved and hollow-eyed, had a zombie stare saying "Movement... brains... eat...yummmmm."

Watching him work was like standing and waiting for my house to sink another inch into the ground; knowing it's going to happen and knowing I'd never see it happen yet having to be there to document something. Instead of doing something enriching like watching a penny jar grow into a decent weekend in Juarez.

When I was a kid, I'd capture tadpoles and put them in a big bowl out on the patio, just to watch them do tadpole things and turn into frogs. Some wouldn't make it and man, they'd stink up the entire patio. I never knew when they’d jump out and run away but for the longest time they’d just swim around and eat the flies I fed them.

The next time a Jehova’s Witness or Mormon pops up on your doorstep, you can scream at them and declare, truthfully, “I’ve been to hell and it stinks like dead tadpoles! It’s the DMV!!!”

He’d stop and try to count the change in his pockets with his fingertips and then sit back down to look at the paperwork then look at his computer screen. Then look at the paperwork, look at his computer screen, scratch his head then look at his paperwork again. Touch his computer screen and mumble, “Wait.”

“What’s that?”

“Hmmmm…”

“That.”

“Hmmmm…”

Look at his paperwork and then look back at the screen.

“Hmmmm…”

Then pause,



“Your driver’s license says you’re ‘Wilford Smith’ but the computer says you’re ‘Wil, then something that looks Daffy Duck wearing a World War One German helmet and then Ford and then Smith.”

“Hmmmm…”

Touch the screen and then look like he was really concentrating. Then rise back from his screen, hold up his finger, look, really look, a flake of dandruff that had drifted off his head had stuck itself across a zero or an eff, then think about snow and how he liked to scoop it off of things and eat it, well, except the snow with dog poop in it, definitely not that snow, especially not the snow that makes it hard to drive, no that’s bad. Bad.

Then look at his paperwork and try to remember what the point was. Then look at his screen and wonder where all the snow went.

This is Colorado after all and the snow melts fast, what with all the sun and the dry air and the crazy drivers turning snow into red pellets of death. Yelling and honking and giving him the bird, then coming into the DMV to get their shit straight only for more yelling and honking and giving him the bird.

Then take one more look at the flake and carefully place the flake back on his head.

In my field, I have to provide criminal background checks and those can be had for six bucks on line, in a tenth of the time it takes to examine a flake of dandruff. “Murderer, yep. Rapist, uh hmmm, yep al queda, sure. Shoplifting, too.” All on line and quick as electrons can fly (depending on your internet connection, of course). Painless and requiring no patience. The last time you got caught speeding or that bogus ‘failure to use turn signal’ ticket is another matter; laying in a lake of fire and having your genitals flayed is apparently the only punishment for those sins.

“Hmmmm…"

"Dandruff."

Eventually the earth would shift, East Africa a little closer to the Indian Ocean, and Neil would call the next stone in line. The stones sang and they sounded like this:

“Hmmmm…"

2 comments:

Eileen said...

This is the funniest thing I've read in a long time!

vicki said...

This is uncanny. Neil works at the Lincoln Park Post Office on his days off. He rearranges his stamp drawer and counts stamps while dozens of people wait in line.

Actually, I know the DMV is worse. I'm terrified of whatever is involved in signing up in a new and different state so I renewed my old tags online without changing my address. I'm hoping that forwarding address system works. But then we're back at the USPS. Damn.

How you been, dear friend? Your darlings sent me mucho love and happiness with their art and letters. I have them on my frig, since there is no longer any from my children. Well, I have a CD cover up there but still-yours are a breath of fresh innocent air.