You would think the trauma of the experience would be enough to motivate me to do the right thing, but for some reason, kind of like the BET awards, I am back every year.
I had been driving dirty for a month. You know the feeling; you become anxious every time you see a cop car in your rearview mirror. You time your trips so that there is a nice flow of traffic. You strategically place another car between you and the police to keep off their radar or from looking suspicious.
You are in a constant state of paranoia because you think at any moment you are going to get busted and you are just one block away from a Rodney King moment.
I had been driving our other car during the DNC because, hello, there was like a police officer at every traffic light and freeway exit, and all I needed was for my routine traffic stop to become a matter of national security.
So I got through the DNC and took a day off to deal with my old nemesis, the Department of Motor Vehicles.
I got up early that morning because you have to psych yourself up for a trip to the DMV. I ate a big breakfast because you never know how long you may be trapped in line without water or provisions.
Last year I was actually stopped by the police and they physically took my tags to the big house. I still put money on their account for smokes, as I am not sure when they will ever be released.
I drive up to the DMV office on Independence. The once-thriving strip mall has been reduced to just a few lone businesses, including the DMV. I walk up to the door and entered. Immediately I am put off that there is not a line out the door. I quickly enter and take the requisite few minutes to determine which line I am supposed to stand in for service.
I am immediately on guard because the line I am in has only one person in front of me. This cannot be right. I also notice that the clerks are smiling and having friendly banter with the customers, who are also smiling.
Short lines, smiling customers, clerks without surly dispositions. Ok, what type of bizarro, parallel universe have I stepped into?
I noticed that the clerk who finally calls me up has a sign that reads “Please be patient. I am in training.”
Had I stumbled upon a crack in the typically caustic DMV armor?
Maybe they were all being monitored and that is what was forcing this pleasant, albeit unnatural, customer service.
I finished my business and exited the DMV, fully expecting John Quinones from 20/20’s “What would you do?” segment to stop me and tell me I had been part of some crazy automotive social experiment.
I walked out still dazed, affixed my new sticker and, to test my newfound powers, decided to switch lanes in front of a police officer without even using my signal light.
Until next time.