I want my 2 1/2 hours back
The Pasadena office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles is well approximated by the locker room of your local stanky-ass Y, re-situated inside a busy train station. It’s got the Andy Warhol turquoise speckled linoleum, the loud cantankerous children, the mildly unpleasant people on the next bench, the blurry voice calling out numbers, and the cries of helpless rage and confusion that can only come from unexpected loss of transportation. I will not catalog its multidudinous inefficiencies (there are more irksome things to think about tonight) – they all seem to stem from shoddy architecture anyway, so there’s not much to be done.
After my Iowa license and passport had been approved by the triage desk, I was largely spared the burdens of conversation; my papers spoke for me as we went from line to queue. This was lucky, really, since my one exchange with the test-distribution lady was a little off-putting:
“Wa tlanggage dyoo wan?”
“Oh. Right. English. Thanks.”
I can’t imagine what a non-English-speaker would do with that dialog. Plucky lil’ Anglophone that I am, though, I got my test, demonstrated my ability to correctly guess how many child restraints and insurance policies every five-year-old needs to have at least 100 feet before railroad crossings on the freeway, and escaped to Window 2 for my reward. A fantastic paper temporary license to use until my real one comes in the mail, and meanwhile I must buy beer with my passport, which does not fit in my wallet and is not accepted as valid identification by the local grocery store for some bizarre reason! WHOOO!!
Boy, was that ever an exciting afternoon and a good use of $12. Hooray for the state of California and all its squinty minions.