Monday, October 8, 2007

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Muggles

© 2007 Leighann Lord

I've been a licensed driver for many years which means I have my fair share of Department of Motor Vehicle horror stories. It's been a while since I've read "Dante's Inferno," but I'm pretty sure there was some reference to the DMV as one of the nine circles of hell.

So when I had to go and re-register my car this week I had a plan. The night before I lit a candle, meditated and studied the relevant biblical passages on the value of patience. I packed my handbag with extra tissues, pain reliever, bottled water and power bars. I laid out my clothes from the night before, set my alarm and went to bed early.

The next morning I arrived at the DMV fully expecting to circle, wait and perhaps even fight for a parking space. Wonder of wonders, I found one right in front of the building; time still on the meter. I went in, all necessary paper work in hand and got my number. I took a seat and settled in to play the waiting game.

Now earlier this Summer I rushed out with all the other muggles and bought the seventh and final Harry Potter book. In an amazing show of self restraint I didn't read it. I decided instead to re-read the first six books to get myself up to speed on all the goings on at Hogwarts. I'm up to book four, "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" which I brought with me to the DMV. I was looking forward to enjoying a few hours of leisure reading. "Order of the Phoenix" here I come.

I was shocked when my number was called before I was even a good chapter in. There must be some mistake. I looked at my number. I looked up at the digital display board. Indeed number F130 was up there and instructing me to go window number 10, which just happened to be right in front of me.

I hurriedly gathered up my things and stepped over to the window. The clerk courteously took my paper work. I handed over my check. She gave me my new registration and said, "Have a nice day." I was sitting in my car less than 30 minutes later, with time left on the meter. I was deeply troubled and suspicious.

It felt like that episode of "The Twilight Zone" where a man (Jack Klugman) goes to heaven and it’s wonderful. Everything goes his way, all the time. He wins every pool and poker game. The women are gorgeous and only have eyes for him. He gets the best table at his favorite restaurant and the food is fabulous. But after while, it gets a little old. Finally he says to an angel, "This isn’t right. Everything is too perfect. I don’t deserve this. I don’t belong in heaven. I want to go to the other place." And the Angel said, "This is the other place." Meaning of course, the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I know I should be grateful but I wonder if things would have gone so smoothly had I not been uberly prepared. Would I be sitting in the DMV for hours with nothing to do, if I had brought nothing to do? I’d probably still be circling for parking.

And so with my car re-registered in record time I’m no closer to beginning "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows." I guess I’ll have to make an emergency appointment with my doctor.

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