I walked into the DMV last week and looked in disbelief at the line that circled the two walls. Couldn't put my business off any longer so I took my place in the procession. Number 15.
Several more people rounded the corner and filed in behind me. We exchanged the sympathetic What are you going to do? smile and shrug as they came in. The woman right behind me decided to use her time to phone a friend, oblivious to the large PLEASE SILENCE CELL PHONES signs on the wall. And to boot, she was talking loudly. I tried to tune her out, but she was grating.
After listening to her whine session about her suffering for 10 minutes, I pulled out my phone to text Don. 14 people in front of me, line's not moving, ugh.
I slipped my phone back into purse. The lady was still going on and on. It started with DMV, then their employees, onto the state of South Carolina, immigration laws, and then the Mexican people standing in line taking up her American space.
Just when I thought I couldn't take it anymore, her phone-a-friend bowed out of the convo. So... what did she do?
Yup. Dialed another friend and started the same garb over. I was considering trading places with people behind her just to get out of earshot.
Is complaining contagious? Why did I send a text to Don? To let him know I was suffering? Lord help me if my weak mind and body think standing in line is suffering.
I was alive, I was not standing in line in a third world country for a potato or handful of rice. I was standing in line to turn in tags on a vehicle that died... so that I could have another vehicle that wouldn't die. And when I left this line, I was going to go to Chick-Fil-A to get an ice cream cone.
What else have I complained about? Traffic, grocery store clerks, food at restaurant? I looked around at the pinched faces in line. Did everyone feel the same? Is complaining pervasive? Another lady had sympathized with the lady behind me and they were edging to the window to glare at the counter workers. Others were rolling their eyes. Are we all angry?
Can I find an oasis in the pity desert? Ahh... found one. A mother with a son going to get his driving test. His face showed anticipation as he jingled car keys. Mom was beaming nervously.
Another lady was reading a book in line, yet another going through her coupons.
I could go with that, make use of my time. Once it's gone it's gone, whether I am standing in a line at DMV or at a concert. I know several people who would give a pinky finger to trade their real woes for my mundane suffering right now.
As if in answer to my resolve and dissipation of angst, a triage DMV employee came out to the front and started working the line. She took my tag and told me to leave. I heard a hmmphhh behind me from mad DMV #16, too bitter to see that she is now #15.
When I walked out of the door of the DMV, I felt somewhat lighter. Changing my outlook on the situation put a little spring in my step.
I climbed into the car, cut the A/C on, cranked the radio, and picked up my list to cross off DMV.
Next on list: call cable company... Awww hell, that was short lived. But Rome wasn't built in a day.