As if we women needed more ammo proving that men have it easier than us, I’d like to point out the downward spiral of legal name-changing fiascos that ensues after marriage, beginning with the Social Security Office and culminating in the dreaded DMV, outlined below.
My name is Hayley Frank Simmons*, and this is my story.
*You better believe I’m using this new name every chance I get after all I went through to get it.
I arrive fresh-faced, wide-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to tackle this monster head on. I don’t stop for my morning coffee first because I naively think I’ll just get my morning coffee right after I’m done with this…
…HAHA. I soon realize I will be drinking my morning coffee tonight. Or possibly tomorrow morning. Because the line to merely step inside the actual building is out the door and wrapped around the front. Though daunting, the situation still doesn’t seem dire yet and I am weirdly optimistic.
I am finally able to step one foot inside the front door (and by “able to step” I mean I forcefully crammed my way in when there was technically not enough room for me and ended up breathing up the back of some man’s sweaty neck which unfortunately was home to an indecipherable neck tattoo).
Once inside, I am quickly able to assess the situation: it is not good, you guys. Noooottttt good. And I am not even referring to the wait time — I’m strictly referring to the terrifying circus of characters my eyes and nose are accosted with as I scan the room. In a nutshell: lots of offensive body art, lots of offensive, unidentified odors and lots of bluetooth headsets.
Can we please take a moment to break down this bluetooth headset phenomenon? The bluetooth earpiece has been a major thorn in my side ever since the day I spotted some asshat wearing one at the gym while working out. It confused me but more so enraged me and ever since then I’ve had an insurmountable vendetta against anyone who deems him or herself so important that they MUST BE EXTREMELY REACHABLE AT ALL TIMES HUMANLY POSSIBLE. But why does it seem like all these “most important people” are magically at the DMV together in the middle of the day on a Wednesday and they are all wearing a variation of jorts and also 80% of them have calf tattoos (i.e. THE WORST TATTOOS).
There are several babies in the waiting room too, and for some reason none of them are cute. I mean, not even remotely. The babies are also crawling all over the nasty, sticky floor and using the chair legs as teething mechanisms. I take a moment to ponder why no normal adults are in this place and also why no cute children exist in this reincarnation of Hell. The longer I look at the ugly babies, the more depressed I get. I decide to instead focus my attention on Tweeting my feelings.
I finally reach the front desk. I had already witnessed Front Desk Lady’s large mad attitude (she was a tiny white woman with spectacles) so I had my plan in place to be annoyingly sweet so she would like me and do everything in her power to help me make quick work of this mess.
Except Front Desk Lady had been around the DMV block a few times and let’s just say my happiness wasn’t on her shortlist of priorities. (I’m guessing her priorities consisted of cigarettes, Mountain Dews and squashing peoples’ hopes and dreams.) She tells me I am now on “The List.”
Great! Progress! However, there are 42 other sad saps in front of me on “The List” equaling a FIVE HOUR wait, according to Front Desk Lady and her soul-crushing mathematical equations.
She tells me I can leave if I want and that they will text me updates periodically about where I am on “The List” so that I’ll know when to come back. BUT she said she “can’t guarantee it will work because the phones get all jacked up sometimes.” I ask what happens if I don’t receive the text telling me to come back, and she tells me “then we just skip over you and you lose your place in line! NEXT!”
As risky as it seems to exit the building at this point and just leave my fate up to this flimsy technology, it seems even riskier to stay in this hell hole festering with sweat and sadness and open-mouth breathers and probably at least several different airborne illnesses. So I take my destiny in my own hands and hesitantly head out to run a few errands.
Thankfully and miraculously I have actually received the periodic updates via text. By this point, it says there are 22 people ahead of me. I feel like things are moving along swiftly! I wrap up my errands to head back to the DMV. I’ve suddenly developed an irrational fear of Front Desk Lady skipping over me and joyfully screaming “NEXT!” with a huge smile on her face.
I make an impulse buy at West Elm because I’m scared and emotional and vulnerable and please don’t tell my husband.
I am now back at the DMV in the parking lot and my text update tells me there are 16 people in front of me. That’s practically nothing! I sit in my car and proceed to spend the next few minutes in a productive way, aka texting as many people as I can to complain about my day so far.
There are now 15 people ahead of me. Disconcerting that in 17 whole minutes the DMV staff has only managed to accommodate ONE single human being. I start to think “what if there is a glitch in the texting system???” and I race inside. It would be my luck that due to some technical difficulty I’d be completely passed over while sitting a mere 15 feet outside the building in my car busily texting “OMFG WTF KILL ME (GUN EMOJIS)” to the better half of my iPhone contacts.
To my dismay, there are no texting glitches, and the super adept DMV staffers really are just moving at the speed of geriatric patients with scoliosis. I take a seat at the front of the room so I can keep an eye on “The List” displayed on a revolving digital screen by Front Desk Lady.
TEN MINUTES GO BY
There are now 14 people ahead of me. HOW IS THIS HAPPENING. How all of a sudden did every DMV staffer lose the ability to function at their jobs? Someone coughs then snorts startlingly loud and I instinctively reach into my purse to squeeze a glob of sanitizer the size of a baseball into my hands. And then continue to rub it all over my arms (and legs). (And then inhale it– just taking deep, long whiffs of it until my head starts to hurt. The smell of sanitizer infiltrating through my nostrils and most likely my blood stream was like wrapping my body in a warm, safe blanket.)
TIME IS MOVING EXCRUCIATINGLY SLOW. IT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE MOVING BACKWARDS. YES, IT’S DEFINITELY MOVING BACKWARDS AT THIS POINT.
There are now 11 people ahead of me. I truly am starting to get a tad delusional. I feel like maybe I’m malnourished so I scrounge around in my purse until I find a half-eaten stale granola bar I’d forgotten about. I also find a small baggie of nuts but decide to save those as a form of last-resort nourishment in case the situation gets worse.
There are now 6 people ahead of me. I want to feel excited, but I am already dead on the inside so emotions of any sort are hard to come by at this point.
These 27 minutes feel like an actual eternity. I am second to next in line though. My name at the top of the rotating digital screen feels more like a mirage and I’m certain it’ll just POOF disappear into thin air any second now, leaving me a hysterical, crumpled mess on the sticky floor with the rest of the ugly teething babies.
I start to get inexplicably nervous. I begin instinctively combing my hair and applying a bright pink lipstick to try and wake up my lifeless, colorless, corpse-like face. I look in my handheld mirror and see that I’m actually dead behind the eyes by now and that there’s no use in attempting to spruce myself up and salvage this picture. After all of this, my new ID photo is going to look like a weathered, despondent, shriveled up old woman who’s just gotten the terrible news that she’s terminally ill.
I’m next in line. I immediately have a lunatic thought to just get up and run out, kind of like when you have the overwhelming urge to scream the F word during church service. I somehow fight the feeling though and stay in my sticky chair. (Did I mention everything in this place is sticky for some reason?)
They call my name. I gallantly make my way to Booth #5 (yes, there are five different booths in this place yet they are still unable to move traffic along any quicker). A balding man named Burdine greets me and I’m so happy to see him I just want to rub and possibly french kiss his beautiful bald head.
Beautiful balding Burdine told me to look at the camera and smile. Fun fact: In Hell (the DMV), they count to four to take your photo. Naturally, because counting to three like we all have since the invention of the camera would be too easy and make entirely too much sense. The rest is kind of a blur; I kind of just blacked out and did as Burdine told me to until I found myself back in the parking lot, ready to reacclimate myself to the outside world again.
1. If you hate yourself, and you also hate everyone else, then definitely apply for a job at the DMV.
2. Women: If at all possible, do not get married, thus prompting you to undergo a legal name change. If you cave and decide to take the plunge, then make sure he is Mr. 100% Freaking Right so you only have to do this once.
3. Truly, REALLY AND TRULY, is there a worse place in all of America than the DMV? I know many of you will say Walmart ranks high on the list, in addition to Comcast in any form. But doesn’t there have to be a better way? DEAR LORD, THERE HAS GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY.