This was going to be it. This time would be my last, I was sure of it.
I stood in the endless line for the second time today, staring at the back of all the heads in front of me. I wondered if any of these people have been here before. I rocked back and forth, shifting my weight from leg to leg. I thought of my mental to-do list, and how none of it was going to get done today. I sighed, and wished this ordeal was already over. I said a silent prayer that I'd make it home by the time the kids get off the bus in two hours.
Slowly, painfully, the line shuffled forward. Nervously, I checked and re-checked. Did I have everything this time? Would I ever have to come back?
The woman behind me kept trying to get me to talk to her. I did not want to converse. Not here. Not this place. Every time I turned forward, thinking the conversation had ended, she tapped me on the shoulder and began anew. I was just too nervous to really concentrate on what she was saying. Something about bank accounts, assets, and China. Things that meant nothing to me right now.
There was a lot of grumbling going on in the line. People were losing patience. Rational people that had been pushed beyond their capacity to cope. I felt as though I was in the midst of an angry mob. Any moment, the crowd could turn and sweep us all away in the rage. And yet, the oblivious old woman kept chatting. Doesn't she realize this is not a place to talk? This is a place where we all wait silently. Obeying the rules. Doing what they tell us.
More shuffling forward. I check my watch again. Minutes pass by like hours, it seems. When I am sure that my knees will buckle and my legs will give out, I look up to see that I am almost there. I turn my back again on the chatty woman and re-check my papers. I feel slightly confident that all this will not have been in vain.
Oh joy! I am the next person in line. It is almost my turn. I WILL make it out of here. The man in front of me begins arguing. There is shouting, and waving of fists. Paperwork is slammed on the desk. I start to sweat. I feel my pulse quicken. Nervously I wonder, will it be like this for me, too?
He grabs his papers and heads for the door, shouting obscenities. Cursing the woman at the desk.
She cries back, "IT'S NOT LIKE I CHOSE THIS FOR A CAREER, YOU KNOW."
She turns to look at me, power and rage filling her eyes. Through gritted teeth she snarls, "NEXT!"
It's my turn to face the beast. I take a deep breath and step forward, keeping my head up. I stand in front of the desk and hand my papers to the woman, praying I have not made her angry.
She, the Nazi of the DMV.