I’m gonna be honest. It has been a stressful week for me. Anxiety is real and sometimes I need time to be a potato, think about life or not think about life, and not punish myself for not accomplishing my long list of weekly goals (like an extensive post about Taiwan).
Someday I will write about my anxiety and such. It is a thing that many experience and I want this blog to be an open space. A space where I can share my stories and talk to others who have stories to share.
Today’s story is going to be part of a series that I want to call “Becca’s California Adventure…” *insert glowing letters and a echoing booming voice* Which will be a series of adventures I have while exploring life in Southern California.
If you do not know, I am a person who feels like she gets herself in strange and sometimes painfully funny situations. Whether they be self inflicted or just the universe gifting her more stories to tell . I feel that I am a character on a comedic sitcom. Just imagine Jess from New Girl and you’ve got it (or so I’m told.) I may share some older ones from my life pre-blog, but today will be one that happened just this week.
As part of the “things to do when you move” list, enduring the DMV is one that I wanted to check off as soon as possible. My goal was to take the written drivers test, receive a new license, and register my car – all in one go.
*WARNING* Government websites tend to give conflicting information. So after four hours and $300 lighter, I found myself with a new license but one signature and smog check short. Although they (the lovely DMV employees) did assure me that my next visit would be much shorter.
*WARNING* Government employees tend to give conflicting information. I showed up a few days later with more papers in hand and the idea that I would only be there for maybe an hour…
During DMV Round 1, I was told to come back and drive up to “Lane 1” where they would take the rest of my papers. I did not need to come inside…
I pulled up to “Lane 1” and sat there for about 10 min watching teenagers in the cars next to me practicing their hand turn signals and nervously watching the door waiting for the next test instructor to emerge. I rolled down the window and turned off my car. Another 10 minutes pass and I decide to go inside.
I wait in line to check in with the DMV Greeter, as I like to call them. He immediately hands me a number. I try to squeeze in an explanation of what I need. He tells me to wait for my number.
I will say though that majority of the DMV Greeters and Employees were generally pleasant.
I go out despite the number to sit in “Lane 1,” again watching anxious teenagers with their anxious parents. My car is turned off, I have the window down, and I read a good 20 pages of my book. Which I don’t mind in all reality. The DMV employee finally emerges after about 45 minutes of waiting, inspects my car, just gathering information that is on every other sheet of paper and she tells me to go inside.
I sit inside again reading my book for two hours. I watch the numbers climb slowly to mine. I hear a loud conversation that a woman has on speaker phone. I watch a teenager walk back and forth studying the drivers handbook. I reach the last 20 pages of my book as I get the text that my number is 15 min away. I start reading faster and faster, feeling the pressure of the clock. That anxiety kicks in. I finish the book I started in that very same room a few days before.
There is less than a hour before the DMV closes when my number is called. It’s the same man that was my “greeter” during Round 1. He looks through every piece of paper carefully as I explain the situation. He slowly takes out the staple. He starts typing on the computer. It truly felt like that scene from Zootopia. He asks for my license and hands me a heavy envelop with a screwdriver.
I walk outside as quickly as possible to replace my license plates with the beautiful, white, California plates. I go to the back and notice that the screws securing my Utah plate are a dark brown coloring. I hope for the best and start spinning the screwdriver. Dark dust begins to fall but it turns easily.
I move to the last screw and I try to spin. Using all of my strength as I had with the last one to get it to move. Instead it felt like butter. Every attempted spin would result in the screwdriver scooping out more metal, slowly changing the shape of the screw. Yet it wouldn’t move. I call my Dad in a panic, mostly just to vent and express how ridiculous I felt. I break off the plastic frame in hopes that I can unscrew it from behind the head of the screw. There is 20 minutes before the DMV closes… I feel sweaty, panicked and I can’t help at laughing at each stare I get from cars driving by.
I run inside with the rusty screw in hand. My Round 1 DMV greeter friend is working with someone else and I stand there awkwardly. He assumes I’m done and hands me my license back. “Do you have pliers? My plate is stuck…” and I hand him the first rusty screw. The lady he is helping, her eyes get wide and she says, “Oh noooo…” He doesn’t even look at me and pulls out pliers from his desk drawer.
I run back outside. Call my Dad again. Sweat is pouring off my face. The pliers simply peel off the outer layer of the screw, sprinkling more rust dust. I banter back and forth with Dad. There is one minute until the the DMV officially closes. I see the jolly police officer (if Santa was an officer he would this guy) start to close the door and I run. He simply smiles. I appreciate happy people.
I stand again awkwardly waiting for Round 1 DMV greeter friend. He looks at me and I simply shrug holding one Utah Plate, one California plate, one envelope, two screwdrivers, one pair of pliers, one rusty screw, and a stack of papers. The “Oh no” lady from before looks at me with empathetic eyes and a bit of a grin.
Round 2 DMV greeter appears and is asked to help me. He looked at my stack and sweaty face and simply said, “Go home honey. Do what you can to get it off.” He hands me my license and I leave. Grateful for happy, jolly, DMV employees who are willing to break policies for poor people such as myself who simply can’t function normally.
It is a few days later. I have since visited Ace Hardware, spent more time in a sunny parking lot, spoke with multiple kind people who probably just felt bad, and found my new car mechanic. I have one beat up Utah plate (which I will surrender to the DMV, don’t worry law abiders), two California plates properly attached with special screws that will not rust, and a story that seemed worthy enough to put on the blog.
I will also say I have gained an appreciation (again) for kind and jolly people. As well as an observation that at government facilities we are all in the same boat. We are all just people trying to accomplish what the government requires of us, without sacrificing our whole day and sanity.
Thanks for the Adventure Rusty Screws. And Utah weather for causing said screws to rust. And California weather for simply adding to the comedy that was already happening.