My Recent Adventure at the DMV

A few days ago I received a timely notice from the Virginia DMV. In case some of you haven’t had the pleasure, DMV stands for Department of Motor Vehicles. Anytime you want to strike fear into the heart of any individual who owns and/or operates a motorized vehicle, just mention the DMV (which is right up there next to the IRS).

They were requesting the honor of my presence at one of their “service” centers. I use the term, service, loosely here. My experiences over the years at those fine institutions have made my infrequent visits somewhat less than pleasant sojourns.

If you’ve never lived through such an occurrence, let me just say this. Visits there can be excruciatingly long and often arduous.

Knowingly, I girded up my loins, packed a lunch, printed off five fresh crossword puzzles, and made sure my will was in order. I arose early that day (before the sun) and prepared myself for the worst. When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed two gentlemen standing outside the entrance. It was a very cold day, so I immediately assumed the line was out the door. UGH…

“My defenses immediately arose…”

Much to my surprise, I was able to walk right by them. As it turns out, they were merely conversing with one another (why they were doing it in the cold was beyond me). As I walked through the door, I was cheerfully greeted by a pleasant gentleman who said he wanted to help me.

My defenses immediately arose, and I prepared myself for the onslaught I knew was forthcoming. When I told him I was there for a vision screening to renew my license, he checked my credentials, handed me a paper to fill out, and said I would be served at window ten. He also handed me one of those deli numbers with a preceding letter that make you feel like you’re playing bingo. I was B34.

As I turned to take a seat, the automated system chimed, “Now serving window ten.” I knew that call couldn’t be for me, but my reflexes caused me to glance up at window ten. At that station, there was a pretty, young lady—and she was intently gazing in my direction. I attempted to stare her down, but she won. I pointed at myself and hopefully said, “Is it my turn already?” She nodded and I made a beeline for the window.

“I made an appointment…”

When I reached her position, she looked at my blank form and said, “Go ahead and fill that out. I’ll wait.” I”LL WAIT? I’ve never heard those words at a DMV in my life. I’ve only heard, “You’ll wait; wait over there; you’ll have to wait two weeks,” or other words to that effect. This was obviously a sign of the end times.

Not only did I enjoy a pleasant conversation and received an inordinate amount of help, she told me it was okay to say, “Merry Christmas!”

I made an appointment to go back next week.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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