I recently had to spend a Saturday afternoon at the DMV to take care of some paperwork. Normally, this would be about as fun as... well, spending a Saturday afternoon at the DMV to take care of some paperwork. But a strange combination of unseasonably warm weather, a jolly female security guard who went around assigning nicknames to various patrons (most notably "Clark Gable, Jr." to one especially well-dimpled guy) and speedy lines wound up creating a carnival-like atmosphere in the waiting room. People were laughing with strangers. People were smiling. There was actual applause when they shut the doors and announced that they weren't taking new people.
A cute guy took the seat next to me and we wound up chatting, despite the fact that I was wearing a ratty tee from the summer camp I was a counselor at in college and the only concessions I'd made to personal hygiene were brushing my teeth and slapping on deodorant. It was entirely on the basis of my sparkling wit and innate charm that after two hours of waiting and talking, when I finally made it up to the teller, the guy came up behind me and handed me his number and email written on the back of his ticker number.
Did I mention he was a Republican male model? Because he was a Republican male model.
Contrast this ridiculously entertaining encounter with DC bureaucracy to this morning. I went in to work only to get my doctor's name from my Outlook, as the cold I've been fighting for three weeks finally broke into a vile hacking cough that rattled my lungs. My doctor is by Georgetown, and since I had some time to kill before he saw me, I thought I'd swing by the DMV in the Mall That Happiness Forgot to finish up the last bit of documentation. Because this is how my brilliant mind works. Fever? Phlegmy cough? Unshowered and greasy bangs matted to forehead? Wearing glasses? Perfect time to get a new driver's license photo!
In my defense, I was just trying to update my parking sticker. I didn't intend to get a new license with my new address. The DMV Lady, however, had other plans and held my new sticker hostage until I got my license updated with my new address (y'know, the one I moved into in April. I'm so on top of things). This broke my heart because my old license photo was one of the best pictures ever taken of me. It's seriously more flattering than my high school senior portraits. Replacing it with something doomed to be unflattering, even ugly, would make me emotional even if I wasn't so stopped up that my entire head already felt like it was leaking.
In the end, the picture wasn't hideous. But it's not good, either. Both the cold and my contempt for District bureaucracy are written all over my face. I'm wearing the same sweatshirt I'm wearing in my passport picture, which was taken outside the US Consulate in Barcelona after my traveler's wallet was stolen in the spring of 2005. So that's some nice synchronicity, I suppose.
But most annoyingly, I didn't even pick up a male model. Just as soon as I started to think the DMV was a magical place, reality brought me crashing back down to earth.