A few weeks ago I celebrated a landmark birthday. Landmark because my driver's license had expired. To renew it I couldn't fill out some paperwork or transact the data online, this time a physical visit to the DMV was in order.
The DMV is one of life's great equalizers. It attracts folks from all walks of life: the rich, the poor, Eastsiders, Westsiders, people who watch Jeopardy and people who get stumped at Wheel of Fortune.
It's like Dodger Stadium but without the $7 hot dogs or the 25 foot piss trough.
As you can imagine, it's a great venue for people watching. Sadly however, because of the close confines, it's not so great for people smelling. Near the eye exam area, I caught whiff of some body odor I'm sure would raise an eyebrow on the 8:15 train from Peshawar to Islamabad, where they are certainly no stranger to exotic perspiration.
To these angry aromas, add in a mixture of underpaid employees, frustration, layers of bureaucracy and unrestrained surliness, and you've got yourself a powder keg of ugliness that can go off at any second. At one point I heard an older Hispanic gentleman tell a customer service rep that he couldn't reach a state official in Sacramento to straighten out an issue.
Man: I dialed this number. It doesn't seem to work.
Service Rep: Baby, I can't help with your phone problems. I ain't got no degree in electronics.
After much back and forth, she finally did help him resolve his situation.
Service Rep: When you dialed the long distance number, did you dial a "1" first?
In all, the DMV visit cost me about 95 minutes of my life. But I was richly rewarded for the experience. Because now I have a fresh new license will last me the next 10 years.
And on the way back to my car, parked across the street from the Culver City DMV (the low slung building with lines of people out the door), I spotted this little gem spray-painted onto the sidewalk.