Volume 16, Issue 28 - July 10 - July 16, 2008

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Summer Lessons in Procrastination

People with gnarly toes pointing in different directions should never wear flip-flops in public.

That is among my conclusions as No. 62 in a DMV line. I am waiting to get a number so that I can wait some more. I have time to count and to observe.

It is 8:30 in the morning, and I am paying the price for letting things slide, in this case renewing my driver’s license.

People shake their heads and mutter at first sight of this snaking line. “What the &%#*?” a new arrival mouths. I glance down. He has leather flip-flops over digits like a velociraptor.

The line moves slower than the clock. I am glad I opted for the eight-meg iPod rather than the four.

Time to get mad at somebody. At DMV folks for being short-staffed and taking breaks? At Gov. O’Malley for yammering about global warming rather than tending to local services? At myself for letting the renewal form sit for weeks (months?) in a wicker basket?

Finally, I’m handed a slip of paper that reads B50. Are we playing bingo here? I find a seat on a metal bench, slightly reassured when I see that B17 is next to be dealt with. Then I realize that there are A’s and C’s in similar queues for the same window service. I see a sports page and make my move, but I am too slow.

In my mind, I plan out the next four years. I look at the clock and worry about what the boss will say. It occurs to me that I am the boss.

People are going through heavy scrutiny to get licenses issued or fixed. Did they just arrive from those Pakistani badlands where Bin Laden is hiding, or what?

I watch people get their pictures taken. Girls smile sweetly; guys scowl like death row cons posing for hip-hop CDs.

Finally, it’s my turn. The sun is hot by now, and I probably need to shave again. In front of the camera, I frown like Sonny Liston.

It’s over and I vow never to let this happen again. I am relieved — until a pleasant woman offers instructions about what happens next.

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