A flawed life is a life worth remembering.
I hope you find my journey is a trip.
BM and the BMV
I think we all have a horror story to tell about a visit to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
The horror for mine started with opening mail upon returning home from a 4,000 mile driving trip across much of the country and back. The letter informed me that I was driving without a license. It had expired unbeknownst to me. The expiration date is printed right on it but I never paid any mind to that. Another letter said to take my vehicle in to the car dealership because of a recall. They would give me a loaner (rental) car due to the warranty.
The plan was to drop the car at the dealer, get the “rental” car and renew my license. Oh, and my six and eight year olds would have to tag along since my wife had to go to work and I was still off.
The day started out fine. It was all smiles at the car dealership. After we said bye to our vehicle, a gentleman whisked us down the street to the car rental place they did business with. That’s where I’d get the complimentary loaner wheels before rolling over to the BMV.
At the counter, I was met with more smiles. I handed my paperwork over to get the car.
“Sir, your license expired.”
“I know. Here’s all the stuff for that. I’m headed straight to the BMV from here.”
The dude’s smile turned upside down.
“Sir, I’m sorry but you’ll have to come back after you do that. We can’t sign a car over to you until you have a valid license.”
I tried to plea that I had merely been late in renewing it and that doing so was merely a formality. But he made it clear that he couldn’t budge on the matter and I understood. The problem was that the nearest BMV was not near enough to walk. I was stranded with two young kids. Then, once my predicament sunk in behind the counter, another smile stretched across a kind man’s face.
“I can give you a lift.”
Whew! I thanked him up and down.
When we arrived at the BMV, he said he was going to grab a bite to eat nearby and that he’d be back before I was done to take me back to the car rental place.
I stood in line and when I was the next person to be the next person…
“!%^$#@)(*&!!!!,” echoed from both sides of the counter.
Translation… The computers crashed.
What does that mean? How long before they’re back up? These were the questions murmured out loud throughout the crowd. Quickly, the place cleared out as most of the people grew impatient and realized another BMV was up and running. They streamed out of the door leaving behind me – because I was stuck there – and two other ladies who thought the downed computers would rebound and they’d finish more quickly here than cutting bait and running to the next BMV.
Silence and time grew thick until one of the two remaining ladies’ patience burst.
She did her best to slam the glass door but the hydraulics of the door refused to give her that satisfaction.
No sooner did the hotheaded woman leave, did my ride return. When I explained the situation, he quickly resembled a deer caught in the headlights. He had to get back to the rental place so we agreed I’d hang out and just call him once things were back online and I could get my license renewed.
Time ticked away and my kids grew restless.
“Folks, we don’t anticipate this getting fixed before we close, you’ll have to come back.”
Wow. Really? I had no idea what to do from there. As I grunted out my predicament, under my breath but not really, the lady ahead of me in line stopped at the door.
“What?” She asked turning her attention on me.
I repeated myself and she took pity on me and my kids.
“Come on, I’ll give you a lift.”
I couldn’t believe it. In today’s day and age, I did not expect that!
Without hesitation, the kids jumped in her backseat and I sat shotgun. She thought we could get to the next BMV in time. I hoped so because I was thirty minutes from home during a workday so there would be no rescue by anyone I knew, not for several hours.
We small talked, asking what do you do and that sort of thing.
When I told her I ran OhioTraveler.com she took her eyes off the road and whipped a look right at me and asked loudly, “Are you Frank Satullo!”
I was shocked.
She smiled and said her name and that I had been purchasing freelance articles from her.
We laughed at what a small world it was and then there was silence as to where the conversation should turn from there now that strangers weren’t such strangers after all.
As our mouths hung open waiting for the words to come, they suddenly zipped tight and an awkward silence followed. A repugnant odor hit our senses snapping our heads as if we hit a wall.
I wondered if she snuck one out – silent but deadly. And knowing I didn’t do it, I knew that if it wasn’t her, she would definitely be wondering if I dealt it. I wondered if maybe it could have been from one of the kids in the backseat but DAMN! It was strong. And if it was this lady, I couldn’t embarrass her by cracking the window. So we all rode quietly for a few minutes, breathing as little as we could.
When we arrived at the other BMV, windows rolled down as if to get a better view (wink).
The line was 30 deep outside the door with 10 minutes until closing. Long story short, we bailed and she drove us 30 minutes out of her way so we could at least get home.
When she left, I asked my kids if they “tooted” in the car.
My son giggled and said, “I didn’t think it would be that bad!”
Indeed, everything was breaking bad!
By Frank Rocco Satullo, author of “HERE I THOUGHT I WAS NORMAL: Micro Memoirs of Mischief and editor of OhioTraveler.com
eMail Frank Rocco Satullo at firstname.lastname@example.org