We all have bad days. Days you wake up on the side of the bed that’s not just wrong, but fuck all to hell done with this earth. Today was mine and it started at the DMV.
Oh, yas mothafucka, we’re going to the DMV.
I recently moved over 120 days ago which is longer than the 90 days the great state of Idaho requires you to hand in your licence, registration, and first born potato. As such, after I waited over an hour I was told I needed something a little more current than my lease agreement. Fine. My fault. It happens.
A drive home, and I’m back. You know that feeling. It’s like coming back from the bathroom when you were in Kindergarten. “Hi, just back to see you all again. What are we doing and does it involve maccaroni?”
There was no maccaroni at the DMV.
In fact, the DMV had not shit. Little to no shit as in the thirty minutes it took for me to go out, search my car for something with my name, address, and date within 90 days, fail to find that something and drive home for a pay stub and come back, well, folks, the DMV’s computers in that time had chosen to go down.
Two hours later, I am chosen. The computers are back from being down. The lady has a nice smile and is happy to help me as the first lady was. Except her camera is not working. In case you have noticed, creation of a photo identification requires the ability to take a photo. She restarts her computer. Nothing. Unplugs and plugs things. Nothing.
Then the camera comes back on its own. Just to fuck with me.
I take a decent picture. I should have known at this point things were not right.
In Idaho, if you have never had a driver’s licence in this state, you are required to take a written test. If they feel you’re impaired, they may also make you drive around with someone telling you to “check your mirrors.” These tests cost, the written the princely sum of three dollars, plus three percent and some more if you pay by card.
Fun fact: the night before I had left my debit card at a restaurant that serves all night breakfast and discovered this fact in front of the nice, smiling DMV lady. When you discover you have forgotten your mode of payment, three things happen right away. First, there’s a draining feeling. Like you’re a balloon that just shit the bed. Next, a frantic searching starts because it has to be there somewhere. Then you remember where you left the fucking thing and those all-night breakfast eggs were a little damn runny, you know?
Relax. I had a credit card. I went into four dollar and some change debt for this driver’s licence to take the test. As I waited the three hours before, I had read the driver’s manual. The DMV gives out these manuals from a rack last used to hold Highlights magazines and old Sports Illustrated's at a dentist office. I was prepared by this test by that three hours of reading and twenty plus years of not dying while driving around the United States.
I failed the written test.
As I went along, I got cocky. I also skipped questions I didn’t know. I could miss six questions out of forty and pass. No problem as I marked red stop signs and said “of course the car on the left should yield to the car on the right when they meet at a four-way stop in the middle of a field surrounded by cattle and various cold weather fowl. It’s just the right thing to do.”
The skipped questions, though, when they came back around I could not skip them again. There were eight of them. I got one right by guessing, something about how far you can see at night when the car in front of you might be a horse. With seven left, needing only one correct answer, I missed all seven. One by one.
I went back up to the smiling lady who smiled like a lady and said, “Oh, you got so close there. Come back on Monday, okay?”
I vowed to her right then, saying, “Madam, as the gods above and the gods below and the gods who make little baby’s laugh as my witness, I will come back on Monday. I will pay three dollars plus thirty percent plus some other thing I don’t know. I will take your test again and I will know the correct speed at which I am supposed to pass a yellow car on a two lane road in the snow after Labor Day. I will be a licensed driver in the state of Idaho and all shall know as the thunder will split the sky and the land will roll with the joy of all creation.”
Then she handed me back my old license and said, “Thanks. See you then.”