By PaulySan Francisco, CA
I thought about wearing a Hawaiian shirt in my driver license photo. If the law ever pulled me over, then I'd want the cop to glance at the photo and know right away that he's dealing with a professional party person.
Then again in this blossoming police state, maybe blatantly waving the freak flag is a bad idea. Perhaps a more professional route would be in order -- clean shaven, ironed dress shirt, suit jacket, no t-shirts and definitely no loud tropical prints that screams, "I'm probably holding an eight ball or a chunk of hash the size of a poodle."* * *
I don't mind waiting in lines because I understand the definition of a line, especially a line involving some sort bureaucrat in control of moving the line (TSA, the Post Office, and of course the DMV). What really bothers me are the selfish, self-entitled people whom act like it's the first time they've ever encountered any semblance of a line in their lives. You can easily spot the line brats in any line -- look for the heavy sighing and constant fidgeting. They grew up as spoiled-rotten kids whom threw tantrums as a means of manipulation, which spilled over into adulthood. Their exaggerated behavior is vexing. It's just a line, man, so suck it up.
I always scorn the line brats because attention whores hate it when you ignore them. I only commiserate with normal folks with a nod of the head acknowledging, "I feel ya... this line blows, but we're in this together. How about those _____ (insert local sports team name)?"
However, the annoying, selfish crybabies want everyone to lather them with sympathy, or sit Shiva with them like when a family member died and thereby allowing the entitled to cut to the front of the line. Fucking hipsters.
Line haters suck goat dung because they are the worst type of people to be stuck in a line with -- and I usually get one in front of me. I devised a three-pronged strategy to block them out...
1. Sunglasses (to avoid eye contact).
2. iPod (to block out any bitching and moaning or even a whiny phone call).
3. A book (to educate my mind while being pushed along like cattle by civil servants).
Even if you successfully mentally block out the line haters, then you still have to deal with the nausea-inducing body odor which permeates most DMV defensive strategies. I wish I was better prepared for the malodorous humanity at the local DMV branch. The miscalculation nearly suffocated me. The horrendous stench -- a mixture of sweaty feet, cat urine, bong water, and pickles -- seared my nose hairs. With a dozen or so new batch of unwashed masses shuffling through the front door every few minutes, it was apparent that everyday words -- cologne, perfume, deodorant and soap -- were absent from everyone's collective vocabularies. I did my civic duty and showered (along with a fresh haircut and newly shaved face to look handsome for my DMV photo), so anyone around me got lucky because they didn't have to hold their nose all afternoon. Wish I could have said the same for everyone else, with the exception of the freshly-showered smattering of LuluLemon-wearing hipster girls.* * *
I was forced to give up my New York driver license and officially become a Californian to prove I'm a legal state resident in order to acquire a medicinal marijuana card.
I had three concerns on my way to the DMV in San Francisco...
1. Runny nose.
2. My habitual "sweating" problem.
3. The possibility of having to piss.
I knew I'd be stuck at the DMV for up to two hours and couldn't rely on a bathroom. Nothing can be more aggravating than having to piss while standing in a line at the local bureaucracy.
The sweating problem was something I could not control other than walking to the DMV at a much slower pace than my usual elongated, aggro-NYC gait. I get embarrassed when I have to dry sweat off of myself after being drenched by a perspiration monsoon. Plus, I grow uber-paranoid that the people around me are disgusted by sweaty people, and they're freaked out because they think I'm a tweaker or something if I show up dripping in sweat like Patrick Ewing trying to shoot a free throw.
And the runny nose? Completely out of my control. I was in the process of weening myself back into sobriety, which meant trimming painkillers out of my diet. I often experienced rough patches and got incredibly dope sick, which occurred on the morning of my scheduled exam. I was forced to fight back a constant drip out of my nose because Plan A (non-drowsy cold pills) and Plan B (make-shift dam of tissues) both failed to hold back a tunnel of snot.
The only thing that would help me feel better? Painkillers.
The solution was problematic because of the written exam, which I needed to pass if I wanted to acquire a California driver license. I found myself in a conundrum. I wanted to be comfortable when taking the test, but didn't want to embarrass myself stumbling into the DMV drenched in sweat with snot coming out of my nose. Then again, I wanted to pass the exam, which required me to be somewhat sober. I came to a compromise and only took a half of a Norco. I split the yellow oval pill in half and washed it down, but after an hour or so, I was still feeling like crap. I got antsy, so I popped the other half.
Good news, bad news ensued. Good news? By the time I arrived at the DMV office (thirty-minute walk from our house in the slums of Pacific Heights), my nasal cavities were bone dry and stopped running. Bad news? I was waaaaaaaaaay more schwasted than I wanted.
The buzz was necessary when dealing with smelly sheeple and annoying line haters, but my altered state made me anxious. Would I be sober enough to pass? In order to soothe my nerves, I scanned the room, taking note of my fellow San Franciscans of all sizes, shapes, and colors, and I felt confident that I fell on the good side of the bell curve when comparing myself to the average IQ of the people in the room. This smug assumption was based on the fact I was in an absurdly lopsided minority of people whom brought a book (or e-reader) to read. Sure, not everyone is an avid reader and word junkie like myself, but only semi-intelligent people have the foresight to know they need something to keep them busy while waiting for a couple hours at the DMV.
Every single day the state of California hands out licenses to thousands of average schmucks and total morons, all of whom passed a multiple choice test. Alas, if stanky people covered in drool can pass the exam, then so could I. Besides, I actually studied by reading a PDF version of the California driver's handbook. I learned a couple of obscure rules of the road, but 90% of the information was common sense. Plus, the exam format was multiple choice with only three choices. Everyone had a one in three chance of picking the right answer. Even if I was stumped, I could narrow down my choices to one of two. Fifty-fifty. A coin flip.
The written exam included 36 questions with a passing grade of 30. I could only fuck up six questions otherwise I'd flunk and have re-take the exam. I could only miss six questions, which sounds easy, right?
I quickly scanned the testing area and noticed several others took their test in Chinese or in Spanish. I thought this was America? Chinese and Spanish exams? Ummmmm.... yeah... I'm not in America anymore, rather, I emigrated to in the Republic of California and should be lucky the bastards didn't force me take the exam in Spanish.
The testing area was located in the corner of the DMV in a U-shaped cubicle divided into twenty stations separated by a thin partition and illuminated by glum, industrial fluorescent lighting. No chairs. You were forced to stand up while taking the test with cheap plastic, germ-ridden pens. A boisterous, white trash woman with prison tattoos dragged her fidgety six-year old daughter into the testing area and everyone turned around in either disgust or disbelief of the ruckus. The screeching kid tilted me during the test, and I almost said something snarky to the woman, but I knew better than to give glassy-eyed strangers unsolicited advice about how their vociferous offspring should act in a public forum. For a second, I considered telling the exam proctor at the counter to put a gag on the howling kid, but I decided against it because no one likes a rat. I felt confident in my abilities to pass, but the kid wouldn't shut the fuck up and broke my concentration a few times. I couldn't even listen to my iPod to drown out the screaming banshee because headphones were prohibited. Man, I'd hate to fail because I let myself go on mega-tilt instigated by a disruptive whiskey tango rug rat with brain damage caused by fetal alcohol syndrome.
I regrouped and focused. I breezed through the test, singling out the trouble spots -- exactly six questions. Even if I missed those six, then it should be enough to pass provided I scored perfect on the other 30. I narrowed down those trouble questions to two choices so I was flipping coins for six of those. I figured I was a 50-50 shot to get three right and three wrong. I accepted a potential 33 out of 36, considering I was faded on pharmies and not testing under optimal circumstances due to the incorrigible kid.
I finished my exam and got back into line to get my test graded, but the white trash mom and the antsy kid were right in front of me. How the hell did she finish before me? I bit my lip because I really wanted to say something about her clamoring kid bothering the rest of folks taking the test, but I kept my yapper shut. Who knows if psycho woman would have pulled a prison combat tactic and attempt to impale my testicles with a homemade shank made from one of her fake press-on nails?
"I hope I pass," she said to me at least a dozen times. I ignored her attempts to illicit my attention and gave her the proverbial New York stinkeye (one last time before I turned in my license and traded the stinkeye for a passive-aggressive, disappointing gaze).
Too bad the state of California didn't give whiskey tango chicks a test before they are deemed fit to reproduce. If the state tested your driving acumen based on her ability (or lack thereof) to keep her kid quiet in public, then she'd fail miserably.
Karma is a bitch. The whiskey tango mom failed her exam which resulted in a volcanic eruption of expletives hurled at the exam proctor. When she realized acting like a raving lunatic wasn't going to help, she blamed her daughter by launching into an obscenity-laced tirade. She berated her kid for being a distraction... which was a speech that should have happened before they even walked into the DMV. The civil servant smirked but didn't blink. She snatched up a different test and handed it to the mom, who whirled around and stormed back into the cramped testing area, dragging her bawling kid.
I turned in my exam and the lady behind the counter matched it up against the score sheet. The front side was perfect. 18 out of 18. "Looking good," she whispered then flipped over the back side. I almost had a perfect score until she scribbled a mark the next to last question -- which was one of the six trouble questions. I ended up getting 5 out of those 6 right for an overall score of 35 out of 36.
I passed, but was pissed. That whiskey tango twat cost me a perfect score.
The proctor behind the desk voided my New York State license by punching a hole in the corner. She handed me a piece of paper -- a temporary California license -- and said my shiny, new ID will arrive in the mail in a couple of weeks. I officially became a resident of California and heard the whiskey tango kid's irritating, shrill yawp one last time before I rushed out the exit.
Next stop... a consultation with a doctor to discuss the finest attributes of medicinal marijuana to help cure insomnia.