The Waiting Game

It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting. ~ Elizabeth Taylor

Another January has rolled around, and this month, my driver’s license was set to expire. I’d been given a pass six years ago, and renewed it by mail. The last time I went to the DPS office in person must have been 12 years ago, and I distinctly recall not having to wait at all. I’d barely sat down when they called me to the back. 

I’m not sure why that was the case back then, but I thought maybe I got lucky because not very many people are born in January? However, now that I think about it, there are lots of other folks out there who have just moved here and need a new license, or lost their license or something like that, so their dates of birth are irrelevant. 

So I wandered over there in the morning, hoping for the best, book tucked under my arm, ready for whatever might happen. It wasn’t a good sign that the parking lot was beyond full, with cars parked on the lawn beyond. It also wasn’t a good sign that inside the door was a very large crowd of people, with not enough places to sit. 

You would not believe the diversity of that crowd! I’ve never seen such a rainbow of faces, attire and languages before in my life. This crowd trumped last year’s diverse jury duty experience hands down. I wish I had taken a photo… it was that fascinating. Great people watching!

(especially the portly man who had on belted dress slacks with a sleeveless black undershirt tucked in… yikes!)

I could have turned around and come back another day, but I decided to just go for it. I’d blocked off the entire morning, just in case, and besides, I had my book. I don’t mind waiting, as long as I have something to read. 

57 was my number. I thought it was strange that they were calling random numbers in the 300’s, 900’s, 700’s, with no seeming pattern to them. When the heck would it be my turn? 

I found an empty chair next to a fidgety young woman with the  number 915. She’d been there an hour and a half, she said, and she saw other people being called who had arrived after her. When they finally called number 917, she was so mad! She stomped back there, and I don’t know what she did or said, but the very next number they called was hers! 

On the other side of my seat was a quiet young man with the  number 51. We compared notes and decided that each set of numbers must be assigned to different types of situations. For instance, we were both just renewing our licenses, so perhaps numbers 1-100 were for people like us? 

We got so excited when all of a sudden they called number 50! After a few more odd and random numbers, they finally called his number, and we both acted as if we had won the lottery. Crazy, I know! Off he went, and another man sat down by me. It is beyond coincidence, but his number was 58. What are the odds of having two people sitting together in that very crowded room with subsequent numbers? 

#53, #54… and then a long string of other numbers, making us wonder if the fifties person had gone to lunch or something. FINALLY, it was my turn, over two hours after I’d arrived. Wouldn’t you know it, the clerk at my assigned station was having computer problems, and my #58 friend was in and out at another station before I was. Sheesh! 

He didn’t have to take an eye exam. I did. He didn’t have to show his Social Security card. I did. Glad I had it with me! It seemed to take forever, but finally, FINALLY, I was finished. I’m good for another six years, and I HOPE that I don’t have to go back for another twelve!

Two and a half hours. Amazing… but oh, so interesting!


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