Saturday, February 09, 2008
the dmv... if we're going to hell in a handbasket, they're packin' the sandwiches.
very much like living in any city, you come to the realization that smelling a vast array of scents while walking from street corner to street corner is a factoid of street walking, anywhere in this great country of ours. although sometimes odd and unnerving, the smells are what make the bad parts of the city even better. how could you not love a part of the city that doesn't smell like... well, like i dont know what.
that takes us to the glory of the dmv. the department of motor vehicles, or as new jersey now calls it, the mvc. whatever you want to call it, the scent of it is very much like that of the pungent street corner. the dmv handles it's housed smells the same way it handles it's organizational system. it's all in a strange dysfunctional mess. there are bodies here and there, mixing the thick stench of unwashed armpits, terrible breath, sauteed onions, hip eau de toilette of something-or-other and grape bubbalicious bubblegum. your sense of smell keeps wondering what it ever did to you to deserve this, while your brain racks through it's endless rows of documented olfactory memories to match up the nostalgia with the stink. and on top of it, you're confused as to which paper to fill out and which disneyland line to stand in. it's just a total mess.
the fun part for me, was that on this particular trip, i had nothing to do. my mind was on a zillion things other than being there, as a support group for a friend i'll call irma. "be calm, breathe and don't get upset at the person in the window! they're there to help you. be nice to them and they might be nice to you." at that point, i puckered my lips inward, the way an old man would as he looks hopefully across a busy intersection at the blinking figure, before he wobbles step by step. i slapped my hands on her shoulders, gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, "good luck." and with that, i was off to do my duty as the 'stand-in' in the license line.
while she did her duty in the "register vehicles here" line, i did my stand-in duty in the other line. the plan was, i stand in the long line while she stood in her long line. as soon as she was done in her line, she'd hop over into my line and we'd be done in about half the time. i was merely the cardboard cutout of irma.
irma turned out to be quite the little b*tch as she almost got herself into a fight with two abnormally large african american fellows. i thought it was great, to be honest, but i wasn't about to be her cardboard stand-in when she mouthed off like that. wait, back up for one second. while irma is popularly known as being a b*tch, she has this serious pet-peeve that just strangles her nerves to death. very similar to my peeve of people talking to me while i'm vaccuumming, but that's beside the point. when someone doesn't say "please" or "thank you," she has a habit of completing their sentences by saying "please" or "thank you." she says it loud enough for the person who didn't say it to hear it, and when they do, they usually flip into mother/child mode and repeat the words that they hadn't used. she takes it upon herself to be the mother of manners for all of america.
the mother of manners decides to adapt her superhuman powers to today's case. while visiting a dmv, not only are there smells, but there is also usually an abnormal abundance of children. and, as everyone knows, children are very easily influenced. well, these two rather large african american men walk from one end of the dmv to the other, yelling back and forth from a comfortable speaking distance, obscenities.
now, i've got a pretty dirty mouth on me, but i know when not to use it. if i've just met you, i'll do my best to refrain from using my well-equipped arsenal until i feel comfortable or until i know that you're comfortable hearing it. but that's just me. these guys, on the other hand, were quite possibly born on the proverbial 'sailor's ship.' the exact words that i caught are easy to remember because they were audibly clear from across the room, and go something like this: "...dayum n*gga...this muthaf*ckin line is way too long fo' my *ss. ain't no f*ckin' way i'm standin' in dis sh*t. f*ck dat."
very much like the stench in the air, this was hard for me to ignore. irma turned and yelled: "watch your mouth, there are children present." i felt like clapping until: "f*ck you b*tch. i'll say whateva' the f*ck i wanna say." came from what i can only guess was the larger of the two polite gentlemen. an asian man in front of me, obviously jaded from some event that i'd rather not know about, turned to me and said under his breath: "an' dey wonda' why pee-poh hate dem so much. f*ckeen black pee-poh." that's the point that i spun around to stare at the long, greasy, hair extensions on the 'mini j-lo' that was standing in front of me. it was by far better at that moment, than trying to skip around the comment that my asian brother had just barfed up.
his point was clear, and in a way, i was inclined to agree. he wasn't being much of a representative of his "race," but i sure hope that no one in that dmv was basing their entire view of "black pee-poh" on this one dumb*ss. i was more impressed by irma than anything. i turned to give her a thumbs up for being so kick*ass, but that turned out to be a huge mistake. fore my jaded asian friend started confessing his entire reason for being in that line now. i honestly could have cared much less, even than i was pretending to, and was more impressed with the way i pretended to nod and crease my eyebrows together into facial expressions that suggested that i actually knew what was coming out of his unintelligable mouth. i looked up into the "register your vehicle here" line to see how irma was doing and met eyes with a girl who was looking at me and uncle talksalot next to me. she laughed at me from a distance, realizing what exactly had just gone down there. it almost made me bust out laughing in the middle of that poor guy's pitiful story. or at least i think it was pitiful, i honestly couldn't tell. by the random grunts and somewhat odd expressions, i can only imagine that it was a terrible story.
i managed to gnaw off the leg that was trapped in that pointless confession and turned back to the nasty extensions fermenting in front of me, once again. i pulled out my copy of kitchen confidential from my pocket and enjoyed a few pages of that, consuming the pages as slowly as possible. suddenly, i burst out laughing at a line that i had read over: "jim, go back to your idiot hole." i could have died right there, although looking back, it was not that funny. but then, had i died right there, i'd have missed out on the wonderful aroma that was surrounding me at that very moment. i laughed, and most likely looked like a total psychopath, but i suppose that only helped me out of my current situation with too-wong-foo. i no longer had to worry about anyone making friends with me, because by know, they were all scared of me. if only i had thought of that earlier...
a few minutes later, irma came over and surprised me by stating: "we're done, let's get out of here." and off to the tow yard we went. but that my friends, is a whole other blog.
to be continued...