Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome to The D.M.V! Behold, the Circus of Sadness!

It was my unenviable displeasure to have to visit and malinger at two D.M.V Centres in the last fortnight.  I had some easy but painfully-protracted paperwork to do re. address changing, and some paternal bureaucracy to oversee.  And as I waited, and waited, and waited I realized that the D.M.V was a Circus of Sadness.

Holy Hand Sanitizer, protect me Jesus!  Have you ever been to the D.M.V?  Spent time there?  Actually watched life, or life forms?  “It is life Jim, but not as we know it.”

Now, I like to be positive.  I generally consider myself to be Tigger, not an Eeyore, but egads!  The mind boggles.  What happened?  Where did all the normal people go?  Was there an apocalypse and I, with my strange British DNA, survived and made it through along with all the mutants?   Does each D.M.V emit some kind of radioactive nuclear ugly ray that sudden makes all people who enter toothless, bald and overweight?  And that’s just the women!   Sorry, I’m not being mean.  Really.  But crikey, I saw some sights even I couldn’t work Mary Kay magic on. 

But—here comes the Tigger bit—it made me realize how incredibly lucky the accident of my birth to parents who value and preach dental hygiene is.  I don’t have children, admittedly, but isn’t it just commonsense and far less expensive to teach them to brush their teeth and floss, and gurgle, than to have to drill and fill whatever ungodly disaster has been left unattended?  I had new appreciation of the fact my parents did not inflate me to blimp portions with soda and crisps, but ‘deprived’ me of sugary drinks and enforced water and frozen peas—my strange choice, for lack of any other snack.  I blessed my back-seamed stockings that I had a mother who dressed nicely and taught young Eleanor, that thongs and bra straps showing were just not done; that yoga pants, Uggs and knickers cranked high up your bum and showcased for the delight of the D.M.V was not meant for public display; that dirty jeans and shapeless androgynous lumberjack shirt with some—forsenic teams would surely concur—egg globbed down the front, was not seemly.  I mean, PEOPLE!  It’s not a class thing, or a money thing, it’s self respect!  

And you know, I realize, once again that all of this, starts with parental example.  In my blog: Love is like riding, or speaking French Love and so many other things are templated by us as children: how to behave, how to dress, how to treat people, speak; all is caught and taught as you grow up.  C'est vrai!  As I marveled at the circus, parading in front of me, often there was an older version, lined and worn--probably far younger than their leathered skin portrayed--similarly unwashed, unbrushed and untailored.   There is no class at elementary or middle school on how and why one should brush their teeth, is there?  If not, maybe there should be.  In fact, a hygiene class should be mandatory.  Deodorant companies and toothpaste manufacturers should hand out free samples to school, get kids addicted to cleanliness rather than glue.

No, I didn't see a man in a thong at the DMV, but I wanted to be equal  opportunities. Enjoy.
I’m not typing this in a holier-than-thou glass house.  Yes, I have worn a shell suit.  Affirmative, I wore my brother’s hand-me-down baggy jeans with a transfer of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble on the thighs.  I have made and continue to make many fashion faux pas.  I like individuality; I embrace quirky style.  Crikey, I can often be found as a stunt double for a "blue cockatoo," or so I have been told.  I think as an advocate for W.A.V.P.L. (Women Against Visible Pant Lines) thongs, or 'G' strings as we musical Brits call 'em, are brilliant!  But I do think there is a place for them--below a waistband--and--don't hate--sex and body type, that they are intended for.  And I am absolutely sure no one could mistake the cold, grey Dunmore D.M.V for South Beach, Miami.

I also do not include globs of breakfast Jackson Pollocked on my ‘T’ shirt as style.  I classify it as gross, and lazy, and lacking in effort. 

And I think that is what pisses me off in this line-up of slumped, oblivious, finger-up-nose, hand-creeping-down-pants, aforementioned wedgy-removal, not-listening-for-their-own-name-so-it-must-be-yelled-five-times-before-someone-elbows-them; it is effortlessness.  I hate it in relationships, and I loathe it in life. 

I probably sound like a pompous arsehole.  Does putting effort into your appearance really mean anything?  Is a well-dressed and groomed person any more intelligent or deserving than the ill-kempt man who stands so close to me that I can smell his halitosis and his general eau de vomit?  No.  But, you know what, bullshit baffles brains, and the first thing people see coming is the appearance, then the smell, and frankly it is difficult not to judge on a first impression.  If you look and reek like an old sock, I am going to think that you have just rolled out of bed.  And that you don't launder your sheets often.  You may not have.  You might have been up since 5 am doing virtuous things, but that's not what I'll be thinking.  I try to keep an open mind.  I try to like everyone, but if you are jamming yourself close to me that I can see your straggly nose hairs, or count your pimples, and I can guess what you had for breakfast, then it’s pretty hard not to form an opinion. Or maybe I just have an issue with people invading my personal space.  Jesus, the amount of times I silently screamed "Spaghetti arms!  This is my dance space!" are too many to count.

And as I watched the parade amass and nudge passed me like some weird game of sardines that no one told me I was playing, and I counted the moments of my life waiting in the D.M.V that I could never get back, I looked at the grey bewildered faces behind the counters and wondered if it were anyone’s childhood dream to work stamping documents and taking money orders for the 'noble' cause that is PennDot.  No, thought I.  These are merely people trying to earn a crust.  And, let's face it, they are probably not that well paid.  It's just a job.  They have given up on dreams, they merely need to pay the bills and keep the wolf from the door.  And that is noble.  It is honorable.  But boy must they go through hand sanitizer and wine and Diazepam.

Ultimately, the whole soul-corroding and then galvanizing experience made me bewildered, disgusted, then grateful for my own upbringing, and recommitted to my goals.  May you always put in effort.  May you never spill egg or whatever down your shirt, or, if you do, I wish you a Tide pen.  May you strive and thrive, and never work a job just for a paycheck, but because it ignites your being, it fills your eyes with vision and heart with hunger, because then, then an effort isn’t such an effort, it’s a pleasure.  

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Lovely post. I just took my daughter to the DMV to get her learner's permit and after about ten minutes in line with all those same people you met (who knew?) she whispered to me, "This might not be worth it."