In my continuing quest to become a real New Yorker, I went to the DMV. It’s pretty far, but I walk because that’s what New Yorkers do.
I get in line to talk to a woman who is telling us which line to get in.
I smile and say, “I’m here to get a New York driver’s license.”
She points. I get in a second line.
After a long wait I smile and say, “I’m here to get a New York driver’s license.”
A woman who is already having a long day says, “Old license, three forms of identification.”
I hand her my old license, social security card, passport, and birth certificate.
She asks, “Why would I want your birth certificate?”
“I’m sorry. I thought you said three forms.”
“The passport counts for two.”
“You’re B512. Listen for your number.”
I know that my number was B512 because I was B512 for several hours. I am finally called to window 19, where a man who wishes he was somewhere else asks to see my old license and three forms of identification. I don’t offer my birth certificate, but I’m ready.
I say, “It’s pretty busy today.”
He says, “Go wait for your number.”
I sit for a long time. After a few hours I decide to send a picture to Carol so she can see where I’m spending the day. A police officer rushes to make it clear that I will go to prison if I take a picture inside the DMV.
I almost say, “But I want it for my Christmas card,” but then think better of it.
They finally call B512 to window 32, where the clerk complains that I should have been sent to a different window. When she sees my old driver’s license she says, “If I could get to Georgia I would never come back to Brooklyn.”
This is probably not what the Chamber of Commerce wants government employees to say.
Some institutions treat us like a number instead of a person. Some people make us feel unimportant. We need a place where we matter. We need a family that cares for us. We come to Plymouth because we are important. We come to church to remember that we are God’s children.