It is the great equalizer. Everyone has to submit. Birth, death, taxes and…the visit to the DMV every four years to get your mug shot taken and pasted in a new license. As I sat at the Pa. Department of Motor Vehicles in the Hanover industrial park the other day I wondered a lot of things. First of all I wondered why it was taking so long. I could feel brain cells withering while the minutes passed like molasses on a sub freezing January day. The ticket produced by the grimy machine promised a 17 minute wait. Hemingway, Faulkner and Dickens couldn’t write better fiction. Our elapsed time from doorway to doorway was just under an hour.
Oh and about that grimy machine that produces your number in line. It’s the first thing you see as you enter the facility. It has clear instructions. It’s not brain science. And yet as we waited a human gestation period I observed many who followed us just did not quite get how to or what to do. My thought? If you can’t figure that part out then how do you operate a motor vehicle? Of course having also observed the so called driving skills of NEPA my question is answered.
Another wondering in my dwindling brain cells was how the hell you could get out of this. I peeked at the statutes and found that indeed you could get a license with no photo if A: you were going to be absent from PA for up to 90 days around your license renewal time (a temporary reprieve to be sure) or B: if your religious beliefs (think Amish or Mennonites) prohibit having your photo taken. It raises the question why would the Amish who drive horse and buggy vehicles would need a license in the first place but that’s another line of inquiry.
So basically everyone has to do the long wait at the DMV. Which would explain why the uncomfortable chairs were filled with an assortment of humanity that more resembled the Cantina scene in the “Star Wars” movie. A bald guy sporting a Z.Z. Top style beard. A woman with nearly as much facial hair. A guy with a large gold medallion on a long chain swinging near his belt. A guy wearing a turban. Would they make him take it off? I had plenty of time to observe and think about such things in my wait. I wondered if the governor has to do this. The president? What about movie stars or other famous people? I have trouble picturing Donald Trump or Steve Jobs at the DMV. Of course they probably don’t drive anyway, right?