Friday, June 18, 2010

Touring the World Via DMV


The Division of Motor Vehicles, no one who drives can escape it. A huge cross section of humanity is present there during the hours of operation. Rich or poor, fat or thin if you want to legally drive a car in the United States sooner or later the bell tolls and the time has come. A grumble here, a sigh there, we gird up our loins and sally forth to take care of our required documentation, registration, and identification. A necessary evil, not unlike going to the dentist, only with much worse lighting and less laughing gas, to be sure.

However, visiting three different DMVs in the course of one day is not recommended. I know this from bitter experience.

"What's your number?" I asked my son, as he returned from the information desk.

He consulted the scrap of paper, "543."

A little more than a minute later the clerk droned, "501, now serving 501. 501, now serving 501."

Oh this was going to be a long day's journey into night, all right.

I had been settling in to write an email to my friend Angela. I'm so far behind on email at this stage in the game, there are people who likely will accept nothing less than a written note from the alien that abducted me by way of apology. Finally I'd carved out an afternoon's worth of correspondence time, and I was looking forward to it. That's when my Mom Ears alerted me to an increasingly rare occurrence: The sound of my son's voice, with that tone to it. That "I'm actually afraid to tell you how much trouble I'm in right now, but you might want to prepare to freak out." That tone. That spine tingling, adrenaline alerting, sense sharpening tone.

"Mom?" He said. Just one word, but it's all in the inflection. My son had only left the house an hour earlier, and he was back, with that troubling quaver.

I immediately closed my laptop and set it down, "Yes?"

Weirdly, I tend to keep it short when tense. Something that never fails to unnerve those who know me well. An almost perfect stranger to brevity at all other times, I become one of the most concise communicators when things go south.

"Do you have an extra copy of my car insurance card?"

And we were off to the races. Flint had been pulled over back in December, for a variety of things, speeding was the primary reason, but the officer had found three other things to cite him on. My husband and I pay for almost everything in my son's life. The roof over his head, the tuition at his college, his car and medical insurance, almost every morsel of food that goes into his mouth, heck even his clothing is still provided by us. He's only nineteen, and he's a full-time student during the school year. However, he does have two things for which he is financially responsible, his cell phone and his car registration. Guess which one he let lapse?

To try and condense his tale of woe: he had neglected to pay entirely for his ticket , having taken the installment plan with Jefferson County. On the morning, six months after receiving his violation, that he was finally going to be able to pay off his fine altogether, he was pulled over again. This time with an overdue balance at Jeffco, a car that still needed to be registered, and having misplaced his insurance card. Since we're in Douglas County, my son was earning a rep both far and wide.

Rather than impound his vehicle and arrest him, the good-souled cop who pulled him over for grossly expired tags, gaped in horror and said, "Kid, you do realize you could actually go to jail for this? I'm putting your license on probation."

With that he walked away, toting said license, and off he drove.

As my son outlined the story, I listened in almost complete silence, and then without a word, went to the file that contains extra copies of our insurance cards, and fished one out. I stopped by the bathroom, combed my hair, checked my makeup, secured the dog in the large master bath with water and toys, then grabbed my purse and keys.

"Mom, I'm going to need a ride to..." His girlfriend had rescued him from his encounter with the LawDog but I knew he needed someone who couldn't choose to dump him halfway through the proceedings, just to escape.

"I know, let's get going."

I suppose I could have swung into the lecture to end all lectures. I could have let loose with the regular song and dance about responsibility and growing up, but we had a problem to solve and only about six hours left in the day to solve it. Besides, I knew even as we embarked on the journey, that this entire adventure would likely suck with such a vengeance that he'd never forget it.

First we went to the courthouse, a mere thirty minutes away, where my son paid the remainder of his fine. Then we went to a DMV near our home which turned out to not do registrations, then to another that could not solve my son's myriad of problems, and were referred to the full service DMV another forty minute drive away. When we arrived we were greeted by a sea of humanity so diverse I half expected the crowd to burst into a rousing rendition of It's a Small World After All. All of them clutched a battered number. Surrounded by teens there to take their first driving tests, people of all shapes and sizes, many in regrettable fashion choices, and an LED screen that bizarrely kept scrolling trivia questions, sans answers we waited, and waited, and waited some more. Most of that time was spent perched on a window sill as the place was so packed with people, they'd run out of seats. I think my backside is now permanently dented.

Hour one passed at a snail's pace, and I perfected open-eyed meditation while listening to my iPod.

"515, now serving 515. 515, now serving 515. Last call for 515. A89, now serving A89..."

Yes, they had two separate sets of numbers going at once. For three clerks.

"Mom, I'm really sorry," my son said, yet again, "thank you for doing this."

"You're welcome, Flint."

Hour three and something about Yak's milk scrolled by on the trivia screen, that otherwise existed solely to inform people to have their documents ready when their number was called.

"527, now serving 527..."

A nearby child screeched at such a volume I could only assume he was expressing the pain of existence for everyone there.

"A92, now serving A92..."

The same child vomited, and I'm fairly certain his mother began to cry. I proffered tissues thinking that either one of them might be in need. They were stickily accepted. A janitor rolled forth, as if this was a common occurrence, and mopped the area with enough bleach to render all of the county incidentally sterile.

"Mom, what's taking so long?" A nearby teen whined, in a voice made from broken glass, "We've been here forever."

"We can go home, Karen." Her mother said, busily tapping away at a Blackberry.

For the fourth time the scantily clad teen huffed out that sigh all teen girls have perfected. The one I'm sure I must have emitted on more than one occasion myself, it sounds something like, "Mom-uh." That "uh" uttered with a shrill exasperation. I made a mental note to call my mother and thank her for sparing my life throughout my teen years.

My iPod battery gave up the ghost before 531 made it to the desk. The trivia scroll asked what the Donner Family was famous for, and I got a wholly inappropriate case of the giggles.

We were fortunate in that several times when a number was called, the person in question was nowhere to be found. I envisioned mummified corpses being stacked in the backroom, daily. Poor old number 537, it was just his time.

Finally after a period roughly the length of the Jurassic Age 543 was called, and off Flint went to get himself out of Dutch with the Division of Motor Vehicles. We'd still have to travel to yet another DMV in our own county to register his car, but that would have to wait until the following Monday.

"Mom-uh, how long is this going to take?" Karen inquired, yet again, as if her mother was a Magic Eight Ball that merely needed to be shaken to get a fresh answer.

"Karen, shut up." Her mother finally snapped.

On the drive home my son thanked me yet again, and then asked, "Are you mad at me?"

"No," I answered honestly, "I'm pretty sure every nineteen-year-old on the planet does something like this."

"Did you?"

"Well, not exactly but there was this time in Buttzville, New Jersey where I got pulled over at three o'clock in the morning."

"There's really a place called Buttzville?"

"Yes, and it's weirdly really pretty, it's up by the Delaware Water Gap..."

And I told him the rest of the story. I was home on a break, and had driven to Pennsylvania to visit my boyfriend at the time. While there I had either lost, or had stolen, my wallet. As luck would have it, this occurred in Shickshinny, Pennsylvania, a town just as rural as it sounds. I'd been at a bar there. At three a.m. two days later I was pulled over, in my brother's car, because the officer thought I was weaving while driving. Thankfully, I hadn't had so much as an ounce of alcohol, I was just tired.

But my brother had not only let his registration lapse, there was no proof of insurance in that car and God help me, I'd lost my Driver's License with my wallet. There I was, in an entirely illegal vehicle, without even any way to prove who I was and having to say the word "Shickshinny" multiple times, which even for a State Trouper patrolling Buttzville sounded suspect.

When I told the story to a male friend of mine he said, "Oh my God Alane, if that had been me, I'd still be in jail. What did he do?"

He followed me to a diner, to make sure I was grabbing a cup of coffee, that's what he did. That was all he did. He didn't give me a warning. He didn't lecture me. He didn't throw my butt into the county jail. All of which he would have been perfectly entitled to do. Instead, he followed me to a diner, and then told me to drive safely, and stop if I got too tired. I never forgot that.

There are a lot of occasions when you're young that you screw up. You did it, I did it, the children who come after us will do it too. We learn our biggest lessons from our own mistakes, it is just part of how we grow.

Yelling about it won't often help, it will just make things louder as well as stressful.

"Mom?" My son said.

"You're welcome." I said before he could thank me again.

One word, and it's all in the tone. You might want to remember that, Karen.

52 comments:

Kathryn said...

Wow, Alane. I often feel humbled in your presence & how you are so able to put your own self aside in order to BE there with other people.

You're right that almost always the experience leaves much more of an impression than any lecture could, but most people would do it anyway.

Blessings on you & your family. I'm sure your son is thankful for having such a "cool" mom. :)

Teri said...

Sounds like my county! One small office (holds about 20 people) for a county of about 150,000 PLUS the soldiers from the post who register here. The line snakes out of the building and around the parking lot - rain, snow, or sun...

jadedj said...

What I am most impressed with is the fact that you were able to lay your hands on the extra insurance card. You even had it filed away! We are doing good here in, let's-clean-up-the-house-and-cram-every-thing-into-the-nearest-already-brimming-drawer Land, to even get ONE to the car glove box.

And to add to the discombobulation, my oldest daughter just turned 13. Teen mess! Teen mess!

Land of shimp said...

Gosh, thank you, Kathryn. I really just thought it was one of those "Hey, isn't parenting fun??" *bug-eyed-crazy* type of stories, but I do my best to be there. It's really kind of you to say so.

The other part is that I vividly remember what happened in Buttzville because that guy could have really made my life miserable, and chose not. Poor Flint was going to be spending his entire paycheck trying to solve that mess -- now it was his own fault, but boy would I be lying if I said I was much better at 19 -- so he was also staring down two weeks worth of being broke (which ended today).

I figured he had more than enough consequences for this one :-)

Blessing back at you.

Teri, we actually have a ton of DMVs out here. Some that only do driver's license renewals, some that only do registrations...really, no complaints on our facilities.

On the Monday when we got his car registered we were literally in and out within fifteen minutes. It was just that we had to go to the "You're either just getting your license, or you screwed up badly!" office.

Ha! jadedj you're absolutely impressed with my husband not me. He's incredibly organized, keeps files on everything, keeps his home office incredibly well organized.

My system of organization runs more like "Hey, I finally alphabetized my books...after twenty years ..."

Fun, fun, fun! You're entering the teen years. Congratulations, it's a new era...with both highs, lows and lots of in-betweens.

Katy said...

The first time I got pulled over for speeding I was driving my sister's Bronco. Expired inspection sticker, no insurance card and my license? Yeah.. I had just grabed my purse that day forgetting that I had put my wallet in my school bag.

The result? The officer spelled my name of my ticket. So when I got to court I showed the judge my ticket. I showed the judge my licesne and the whole thing was dismissed.

And I'm with you about the yelling thing, its not really that productive most of the time.

ds said...

I wish I had your "calm" skills. Really. We are currently taking turns shuttling our own darling back and forth around everyone's work schedules (especially hers) because she bumped--or was bumped--in bumper-to-bumper traffic & vehicle was oozing radiator fluid. Yes, she'll be paying the repair costs. No idea if she actually got a ticket (no dummy, she phoned Dad first), but the message we are trying to pass along is: sleep deprivation + vehicle=slow reaction time=danger. Will it sink in? Who knows. We can only try, right?
I feel for your dented butt. Flint is a lucky kid.

slommler said...

Yeah for mom!!! The conquering hero of the day!! Congrats for making it through this one. At least 1000 yet to go!
Hugs and good luck
SueAnn

Vera said...

What a great read, so descriptive of the entire experience, both in the place, the feelings, and motherhood. I would have done the same if I had been in your shoes, been there for my child, calm, and without histrionics. Well done you on all counts.

DUTA said...

You're a good example of the ultimate Mother - the one who's always there for her child no matter what, doing her utmost to get him out of trouble.

I agree with Vera's words - your post is a great read.

Tabor said...

You are (were) a better mom than I. I am afraid I was addicted to the lecture.

Cricket said...

When I told the story to a male friend of mine he said, "Oh my God Alane, if that had been me, I'd still be in jail. What did he do?"

If I had been the male friend in question, I would have said the same thing. That's one area where being male is a huge disadvantage - the pullover. Yikes. They would have locked me under the jail.

My naturally surly expression would not have helped.

I was delighted to find I could take care of routine registry biz at my AAA office. Yay. The DMV here is open four days a week (M,T,T,F), 9-3. Great. Not only do you have to come here, we're going to make it really, really, hard for you to do so.

You've made me glad mine are only 4 and 8, though. And just in time for Father's Day.

My Mom was spared this somewhat. I didn't get my license until I was 22. Never needed it before that. I wasn't a lot more responsible, but some. I made up for it in other ways, I guess.

3 DMVs in one day and you find the humor in it. My admiration is boundless. ;-)

Dianne said...

oh this takes me back

I remember my son waking me up in the middle of the night
that tentative tap and then "Ma"
I asked if anyone was dead or in jail
"No"
so I told him I'd fix it in the morning

Land of shimp said...

Isn't it funny, Katy? I swear this is almost a right of passage into adulthood. Nearly everyone I know had the "pulled over with expired registration, didn't have insurance card with me" thing.

I changed it up a little by pulling a rolling stop at a stop-sign (at two in the morning) and not having my driver's license with me when I was twenty.

Ah the fun of growing :-) That was a fortuitous misspelling for you!

You know, ds I used to not take things calmly, but I had a fairly serious car accident, my son has had a two different serious skiing accidents, and my father-in-law was killed outright in a car accident. Essentially if there are no broken bones, permanent injuries, burning houses or dead people? I do great with being calm, but it does come from knowing the alternative a bit too well.

I'm sure you do really well too, by the way. Sometimes it is fully appropriate to yell, or lecture but as said above -- I knew that we were about to embark on an object lesson of some severe suckitude -- and I also knew that there was just no getting around it.

I think most of the time, as with your daughter, we end up lecturing on the stuff where our kids escape the worst consequences. Then we feel the need to do the "OMG! Do you understand what could have happened?!?" and proceed to outline it in detail.

When the natural consequences are right there, the need just isn't at hand. My son paid his own fines (I had to loan him the money to register his car but he does pay me back on things like that) ...he was DEAD broke for two weeks, had an even worse day than I did (because he knew he had narrowly escaped being thrown in the Poky)...

The Universe was lecturing him enough that day.

The one I do lecture him on a fair amount is the need to take care of his diabetes. He hasn't had the negative consequences enough to understand the imperative need.

You know how when you were a kid and your parents were always saying, "Turn the lights off when you leave a room! Think of the electric bill!" and you thought, "Why are you so cheap?" ...and then you lived on your own and got your first sky high electric bill and suddenly were ALL ABOUT making sure the lights were off?

Yup, sometimes bad electric bills come in all forms :-)

Land of shimp said...

Exactly, Sue Anne and thank you! "One down...a bajillion left to go...Next!"

Thank you, Vera. You know, I can completely see that about you, just from reading your blog. You very much strike me as the "Deal with now, freak out later, if there is time and there probably will not be." person :-) Thank you for stopping by!

Thank you, DUTA. I try my best, and I wish I was much better at certain things. For instance, I'm not all that fond of teaching someone to do something. Flint would love it if I would teach him to cook, but I've told him that ...I'm just NOT a good teacher.

I guess we all have our strong points and failings. Let's hope the former outweighs the latter :-)

Tabor, you know what? My mother was also addicted to the lecture. I mean on EVERYTHING. It didn't help that she's naturally a hyper-critical person...and those two things combined made me not prone to lecturing.

I know how much good it does in excess when dealing with a stubborn personality. I not only didn't listen to her, I frequently did the opposite of what she told me to.

I was a treat, I'm telling you ;-)

Land of shimp said...

Oh Cricket, 9-3?!? Lo and behold, it could be worse. Egads.

I am aware that my brush with the Long Arm of the Buttzville Law would likely have had a very different outcome had I been male.

At one point the Trooper started shining a Flashlight around the interior of the car asking, "Do you have anything in here you shouldn't?"

Instead of either confirming or denying, I started looking around too...which I think was the point he determined that he was going to let me know because he said, "Don't look around! Say 'No!' " ...and I helpfully pointed out, "But it's not my car, so I'm not sure."

At which point I think he realized I might be lacking in Ye Olde Street Smarts, and it was extremely unlikely that I'd boosted the car.

Well maybe you'll luck out like I did, Flint is naturally a much sweeter human being than I was at his age. So perhaps you'll have kids with sunny dispositions, who follow all rules.

Yeah. Okay, so barring that? Get plenty of sleep, whenever you can. You're going to need the rest.
Dianne, we are the Sisterhood of Sleep Valuers. I used to tell Flint, "Unless there is blood, or imminent threat of physical harm, it can wait until daylight."

To cope with kids, being well rested helps...a LOT. You're a better woman than I am, on the "In Jail" thing I might very well ask, "For what?" and depending on the answer, would depend on the scheduled rescue time ;-)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

SHIMP!!!!! I SAW BUTTZVILLE for the first time last week!!!! Whoa.

Mia said...

That doesn't remind me at all of my days spent at the Chinese vehicle office.

But now I'm curious about the yak milk.

The Bug said...

It was already a well-told tale that made me grin - but then you started talking about looking around the car to see if there was anything that shouldn't be - and I laughed out loud. Albeit quietly (Dr. M is asleep on the futon). I am always so excited to see a new Land of Shimp post - thanks for making my day!

Nancy said...

I know that quaver - it always makes my heart stand still. The last time was by email - and I still heard the quaver. My youngest was in Thailand. She didn't get that credit card I very carefully told her how to obtain so she would have two ways of accessing money. The second day in Bangkok she left her ATM card in the machine. She was set to be there for a month. I won't go into all the details - but she did say thank you several times. As an aside, it is amazing what you have to go through to send money by Western Union to another country these days. They asked a myriad of questions - several of which were incredibly personal. Such as did you take out a mortgage in the amount of $--- in 2002? Ghaaa - how does Western Union know these things, I ask? I guess we can thank Homeland Security.

I just went to DMV for half a day myself this week. I had to laugh at your rendition. It was exactly how it went...!

Land of shimp said...

Hehe, you conjured Buttzville, Gary! It's your super power :-) Actually, it's a rather pretty area, or was the last time I saw it.

Mia, I'm rather glad it didn't remind you of the DMV in China! That might be alarming. As for the Yak's milk, they were trivia questions, so it was a trivia question about Yak's milk being the main milk consumed in ____ (the question ran, "This country...") so essentially the answer was whatever country and they never told me.

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, Bug :-) I think there are few nicer compliments than being looked forward to on any level.

That poor State Trooper, he was a young guy, and couldn't have been on the job long. Clearly he'd never seen anyone do that before. I guess everyone else in his experience had just said, "No."

Nancy, that is a hair-raising thing, isn't it? When you know something is wrong, and your kid is that far away? Eeek.

By the way, Western Union does that domestically, too. I had to wire money to a friend back East two years. Just one of those life emergencies that sometimes crops up and Oh.MY.GOD the questions.

Nancy, I couldn't answer some of them. Seriously, they wanted my address from over twenty years ago and I could only remember street names in several instances.

They have access to credit reports, by the way, which is how they have that stuff but at this point, Western Union remembers more about my twenties than I do.

Everyone I've talked to has had the same experience and what's worse? You're always dealing with them because someone you care about has an emergency, so you're already frazzled as hell...which is hardly the stuff that stimulates memory. EEK.

I hope everything worked out well for your daughter. I'm sure it did. It's funny, as our kids get older they need us much less, but man, when they do? There is an immediacy to that need that is often stunning.

Alix said...

Yak's milk, mummified corpses, and Magic Eight Balls...

It doesn't get any better than that. And your lesson is so spot on.

Last week my son got his new car stuck in the sand at the beach and blew out his clutch trying to spin his way out. Cost of new clutch: $900. Therein lies the lesson. No shouting necessary.

PS: I'm not paying.

Eternally Distracted said...

Can you be my mother too please?!! I am sure that is a lesson that he'll never forget... I can't imagine any future forgotten payments!!

Kudos to you

Land of shimp said...

See, that's exactly it, Alix. Yes, I was playing the driver and sharing in the joy of multiple DMVs but there were consequences beyond just having an irritating day.

Your son will never just freaking drive a car onto the sand again because he just learned a really expensive lesson, and he'll likely be more careful with all of his expensive stuff going forward.

The only "lecture" type of thing I pulled was when we registered the car, the bill was $198.00 (his car is old) and I asked, "So, how much would it have been without all the late fees?" "$72.00."

Lesson learned there, too.

Hey Eternally distracted! I ended up sharing your coming out story with my husband, by the way. One of his sisters is also a lesbian, and by the time she got around to coming out, his entire family had known for years.

So she gears herself up, finally, to tell her family (Catholic family, so I guess she was expecting horrified responses) and it was a case of, "Uh huh, we know." and on to more pressing matters, "What did you want on your pizza?"

Jo said...

Oh, yes, I have had a lot of experience with those mummified corpses in the back room.

Don't worry, your son will probably have children one day. This is what you might call a "pay it forward moment..." :-)

I remember once when I was a teenager my mother said to me, "My wish for you is that you have a daughter just like you one day..." She was not in a good mood when she said it. When I finally had a daughter, I noticed the "I told you so" look flash across my mother's face more than once. *heh*

Clowncar said...

I envy your parenting skills.

The "I'm actually afraid to tell you how much trouble I'm in right now, but you might want to prepare to freak out" tone is so perfectly described.

Shickshinny? Buttzville? Are you sure you're not making this up?

ethelmaepotter! said...

A great post filled with humor, wisdom, and relationship skills to be envied.

Our (1) county DMV is now open six days a week, but at the time my children took their drivers' exam, was open ONE DAY EVERY OTHER WEEK! You can imagine the madness on those days - mothers and their 16-year old children lined up out the door well before sunrise, like campouts before tickets for a Stones concert. I had heard about the madness beforehand and strongly encouraged my children to wear their glasses, have all necessary paperwork, and study, study, STUDY!

Thank God, I had to make only those two trips to the dreaded DMV.

And you are so right about the cross section of humanity one encounters there. I remember a man in business suit and briefcase, who gave up the ghost after only about 15 minutes and instructed his daughter to call him when it was all over, in a tone that suggested the family dog was going to be euthanized. On the flip side, there was an entire family in overalls and floursack dresses and barefoot children. I kid you not. We live in the STICKS.

"Finally after a period roughly the length of the Jurassic Age..."
"Mom ears," "...a sea of humanity so diverse I half expected the crowd to burst into a rousing rendition of It's a Small World After All." Classic!

And then Buttzville and Shickshinny?! What a great tale!

By the way, I'd be willing to bet you were the only person there who knew anything about the Donner Family, and I'm dying to know what question they asked about yaks' milk!

Pauline said...

loved this - makes me wish I could redo some "Mom moments."

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Yes, for an office that is supposed to be a service to the public, it is sadly lacking! And really! If they could clear the "mob" it would make it so much better!

christopher said...

'Everything happens for a reason'...and teachable moments can be wonderful...but three DMV's would have stretched me to my max.

Land of shimp said...

Jo, not only are we usually destined to have a child just like us, as one of my mother's friends put it, "One day I was putting on my coat, and was greatly surprised when what appeared to be my mother's hand emerged from the sleeve."

I thought that was one of the more interesting ways to put, "We all turn into our mothers, sooner or later."

Beware the mummified corpses. Well, unless you're an archeologist, then it's likely a good thing :-)

Clowncar, I'm definitely not making up the two names :-) Consult the soothsayer Google. Shickshinny is a rural community, no idea what it was named for, but it exists to this day. I think the funny thing is that I have a story that actually combines the two...which might be unusual. I know the Buttzville Trouper (what a way to be known) had never heard of it.

Thank you, by the way, but you know how it is, since you're a parent too. Some days you do better than others, some days worse. That was hopefully one of the good days.

Oh God in Heaven, Ethel Mae! One day every other week? Not only would it be hell on Earth to go to, but can you imagine working that job...because you know that the people who worked there likely had to travel around to the various DMVs. They likely worked a regular five day week but can you imagine the mood of the people they were helping?

Lord of the Flies meets the DMV, I'm telling you. I just suddenly feel so fortunate. It's all in the perspective, isn't it?

Land of shimp said...

Never fear, Pauline, I've got my own store of "May I have a redo, please?" moments...but they seldom involve anything that requires immediate action.

Everyone has a strength, and that appears to be mine. It's also one people don't generally guess about me, in fact, they often sound doubtful, "Really? You're good in an emergency?"

As if I'd just confided that I'm actually made of felt.

You know what amazes me, Lucy and Dick? You can actually renew your plates and registration online in Colorado of you do it in a timely fashion. Actually, there are quite a few things we can do online these days (jury duty is now a different business too, in the electronic, thank goodness).

So not only are DMVs unpleasant by definition, the people you encounter in there are either new drivers needing to be test, or slackers. Or in my case, a parent walking disapprovingly along in the wake of a child trying to overcome the late adolescent slackertude that we must all overcome :-)

So everyone at the DMV now? The least organized among us. 'tis true, 'tis pity, 'tis true.

Jim, I am so darned glad to see you, I can't even say. It's always a pleasure, seeing as you have a warped sense of humor ...which makes you one of my personal kindred...but as far as I can tell you are my only other witness (outside of Flint) to the DMV Trivia.

I was beginning to wonder as everyone I've mentioned it to has had an "Eh? Never saw that." reaction...and I wondered if I had some specific form of DMV Delirium. Now I know I don't. Whew.

That or we both do. Mwhwhahahaha. Who knows what trivia lurks in the hearts of men? I need a T-Shirt that says, "Please don't ask me about Yak's milk." just because.

Three DMVs in one day ought to be punishment for blowing off some other civic duty, Christopher. That time I didn't attend the Neighborhood Watch meeting? Well, I paid for that! Learn from me and avoid becoming a fossil at the DMV.

Thank you for stopping by, everyone :-)

Saz said...

you are a wonder and seem very together....what a wonderful mum you are!

saz x

Shrinky said...

What a day from Hell! Thank God you were sage enough not to make even it worse. Yup, the lad has learned - until next time (grin). I know from experience, I have an 18yr old son at home..

Your laws are draconian - we have no such annual renewal "tag" system here at all! Over on the mainland, vehicles are required to pass a yearly MOT, where a garage has to pass your car as safe drive, but here on the island, we don't even have that. I'm telling ya', there are cars riding around minus floors.. actually I think you could even could drive about in a shed on wheels, and still be considered legal! As for documentation, we only have to produce it if we are pulled over for some reason, and it's no offence at all to keep everything at home (which I always do), we're simply asked to produce it at a local police station within the week.

"..and mopped the area with enough bleach to render all of the county incidentally sterile." Oh girl, I just LOVE your turn of phrase!!

Dianne said...

I loved your story about my photo

It was so close to what I was thinking when I came up with the title - great minds!! :)

and thank you for the praise!! I work on my photo art and it means a lot to me to hear good things

Carolina said...

Hi, I thoroughly enjoyed that story, although you might not have at the time ;-) I just read your hilarious story about the duct taped hand in Suldog's comments.
Not sure yet if I should be insulted by 'and off Flint went to get himself out of Dutch with the Division of Motor Vehicles', as I am Dutch.
I have no idea what that means, but I'm sure it can only be good
;-)

Hilary said...

You're a great Mom, Alane.. and you've raised a fine kidlet. Those life lessons happen along every now and then. It's all in how you approach them. Good for you. And always with a great sense of humour. Thanks for that.

And it's supposedly pink... at least that's what I've heard in trivia games.

I was referring to the yak's milk. ;)

laughingwolf said...

oh yeah, i recall my teen years... and shudder

well done, mama...

slommler said...

Congrats on you POTW...I loved this post!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Indrani said...

Hi, first timer here. Wonderful post and so well chosen by Hilary as POTW. Congrats! :)

ellen abbott said...

Oh parenting. So much fun. Mine are well grown now and completely on their own. I do get calls from my daughter though relating some story and ending with...'surely I wasn't this bad when I was that age.' I only smile.

Maggie May said...

Congrats on POTW.

I would have had a rant, I think but I have usually bailed my children out of trouble.
You sound the perfect Mum.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

chewy said...

I've seen you at Shrinky's. erm... I wonder how many people... like me... first read Land of SHRIMP?

As they are closing the satellite DMV's, I dread the next time I need my photo re-taken... as I will no doubt have a long wait.

MaggieGem said...

Over from Hilary's, congrats on the POTW, great story! DMV's are all the same, funny how that is!

gaelikaa said...

It's good, when they mess up, to remember how you were at their age. You did great.

Congrats on POTW mention.

TechnoBabe said...

Absolutely great post! Wonderful writing and lots of humor and a very good lesson in this. The love and respect you have for your son and the way you encourage him to learn from his mistakes is admirable. If more parents would handle situations with their children like you did here, children would grow into adults with wisdom and understanding as well as maintaining self worth. I really am impressed.

Kerry said...

You got me crackin' up here on a sweltering afternoon in Oregon. Because I apparently have too much time on my hands-and NOT because I don't believe you-I googled Buttzville and learned that it not only exists in NJ, but also in PA and ND. If you tried hard enough you could probably get pulled over in all 3 Buttzvilles. Maybe your son gould aspire to this?
Shickshinny, which I also looked up (why not, it's too hot to go outside) has a town villain who stole $3K from his business partner, then fled to China (why China?), but his boat sank. Thought you'd like to know all of this since you have been made into somewhat of a trivia fan by your local DMV. Our DMV does NOT entertain us with trivia, and we take numbers, too; it's not fair.

I congratulate you on making copies of your important documents, that is, if you are still reading this. I should be making those copies myself, instead of leaving way-too-long comments on peoples' blogs.

CJ said...

Aghh - the DMV. I'm very impressed at your ability to keep so calm, cool, and collected as each number was slowly announced. Thanks for visiting my blog the other day!

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, Saz but rest assured that was one of my better moments and I have plenty of "I suck and am not in the least together" sort of moments. Hopefully someday the balance will swing over to the "well handled" ones, but as of right now? Running neck and neck at a generous estimate.

Shrinky, back at you on the turn of phrase thing, and everything else :-) I love your sense of humor and always enjoy your phrasing tremendously.

Dianne, thank you in my own turn, and I'm very pleased you liked the comment. I really was impressed by the color contrast and image contrast. I think you've got a very good eye.

Hello Carolina, I left the explanation over on your blog, and thank you for visiting here, too. It's not an insult, by the way, just one of those odd phrases that is used, but without really knowing the origin for most :-)

Hey Hilary! Thank you for the post mention, by the way. He is a good kid, still struggling with issues of responsibility, much as I was at the same age.

It's funny, everyone is having such a kind reaction but I'm so far from being GREAT MOM, it was just one of those moments and occurrences when the weight of "make sure he understands this" wasn't on me. Life was going to be handing out the lessons, I didn't need to.

You are one of the people to whom I owe an email, I'm so sorry! I'm still so behind it's ridiculous. I hope you're enjoying your summer, and hopefully we'll get a chance to chat soon, you nice human, you.

Land of shimp said...

Thanks, Laughing Wolf. Never fear, I'll likely blow a gasket over his room (which is the entire basement) being a disaster area, but yeah, one of the better moments of mom-dom. "I didn't screw up! That's almost like a victory! Woo hoo!"

Thank you, Sue Ann :-) By the way, I think of you every time I see a doll!

Hi Indrani, thank you so much for stopping by!

Ellen, isn't that the truth? I'm sure that someday my son will also be musing that certainly, he was an easier kid. He'll likely be kind of right, he's just not that difficult of a kid. Struggling with how to handle responsibility...but that's just part of being a growing human.

I'll bet it brings back some, "Oh those were the days of wine...and more wine...actually" memories ;-)

Maggie May, I'm so far from perfect, I'm like the mirror image, the exact opposite, but that was a very kind thing to say. I'll return your visit in a bit here, by the way.

Chewy, I already got over to your blog to say, "Everybody." etc. but that's the answer, "Anyone who has heard of shrimp, reads it as shrimp." :-)

Thank you, MaggieGem and by the way? I adore your avatar picture. It is now officially my friend.

Hello gaelikka, thank you so much for stopping by. The POTW mention actually surprised the heck out of me, in the nicest way.

TechnoBabe, I often feel that exact same thing when reading your blog: the love you feel for those in your life is so very evident. Really, strong enough that I feel as if I leaned close, it would be a tangible thing, solid and with mass.

Kerry, I absolutely love that you looked up Buttsville(s) and told me the story of the Villain of Shickshinny. That sounds like the title to a cartoon strip, doesn't it? Complete with "sinking on the way to China" ...serves 'im right, it does. Instant, watery karma :-)

Thank you, CJ...and thanks for returning the visit.

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