Monday, November 30, 2009

On the bus today

On the bus this morning I heard a man renewing his Xanax prescription.

I went to the ATM and waited behind a woman. she finished and walked away leaving her card in the machine.
When I went to the ATM and the machine was telling me to "return card" or "continue with another transaction" I pressed return card and called after the woman and told her she left her card. She came and got her card and just looked done. Did she even say thank you. She might have been super embarrassed. The woman waiting behind me acted like nothing odd just happened.

Coming home took so long. We waited half an hour for the bus! And yes it was "rush hour".

I saw my dream car (faded denim blue, old school VW bug) which made me happy.

Otherwise, it was a long, dreary rainy whiny wait. The freaking bus finally came. The annoyed driver told a wobbly, drunk man to wait as he tried to get out of the bus while we were getting on. He stood in the middle of the bus and yelled, "You want me to get out the backdoor! You want me to go out the backdoor, huh!" He started to get off at the back door and yelled, "You wanted me to get out at the backdoor right!"
The people on the bus were laughing at the man. I was glad I wasn't on the bus earlier because it seemed like he might have been entertaining the bus riders with drunk antics.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Finally! The End-Driving Permit Part 5 ( scroll down. start at part 1)

I finally went to pick up my driving permit. I had worked so hard for it. The wait at the dmv was the same. The computer voice droned out E23 and then H5, A22 in her robotic voice.
They were at G16 and I was G43! I was so sick of that place, I didn't even want to be in there.

I left and I went shopping at the Target next door. I planned to spend 25 minutes out. I spent forty five minutes shopping! Got slippers for every member of the family and picked up some really cute tops on the Mossino clearance rack. I overheard the workers gossiping to each other. There was a constant beeping sound from the walkie-talkies they all carried.

I saw a gay couple with a baby. The baby was in a car seat in the cart. They argued about if they should feed the baby in the car or at the cafe.

I was nervous that the dmv might have been close to my number and semi rushed back.
They were at G34. I sat next to a mom and son to my right, and an elderly man with shiny white hair to my left.
He immediately started to make small talk. He was perplexed about the way the numbers were coming up. He looked like he was in his fifties. He said, "I hope our health care doesn't get like this. Can you imagine?" I looked at the mostly unsmiling women behind their desks helping the customers. He went on to tell me about a woman in Russia who was in labor and the nurse on shift, whose shift was over, saw the head of the baby and left the woman because it was time for her to go home. The baby had the cord around her neck! "That's not the kind of health care I want." The guys said. I was so disturbed by the story. Was it even true?

I said, "I never heard that. Did that really happen? Who does that? I mean you would have to be crazy to leave a woman in labor like that!" I said. It could not be true.
"Yes, can you imagine what type of person she is? She has no morals." He said.
I really wanted to get to my book. I started to read.

He said, "I'm glad no one is coughing in here. I guess it's not flu season yet." Mind you swine flu was in full piggy effect.
"It actually is flu season."
"Oh is it. It's pretty packed in here." The chatty man said. I smiled politely.
"I'm F24 and there at F12, but they just said C47. I could not come up with a system like this. It is too smart for me." The man said.
I put the book down and took a deep breath.
The mother on my other side commented on the number system too. Her son said something to her and he pointed to a guy being helped by one of the drones. The mom consoled her son who was so distraught and offended at the way the guy up there chose to carry himself. He stared and shook his head as the young man went through the process of getting his pic taken.
I wondered why it mattered how the person lived their life. This kid seemed so terribly bothered by something that wasn't even his business.

I saw two men with tattoos on their faces. One guy was maybe in his early 40's, he had two hearts and the other, was a young man who had tear drops right below his eyes.

A man sitting behind me was talking on his phone.
"Do you give jobs to ex offenders?"
"OK good. I had spoken to someone who told me to give y'all a call."
"Uh, Can I speak to Rib?"
I guess Rib got on the phone because he started his shpeel.
He said, "My pee is clean. I work hard, I just need a chance."
I guess Rib gave him a chance because he said "OK 9:00. Should I tell them Rib sent me?"
"Thank you."

We all groaned when K1 was added in the mix. Towards the end of my wait the computer voice called G40, 41, 42 in succession. She called an F and then my number. This lady behind her desk didn't make eye contact and smiled, she was distracted by her pink pearly phone that she glanced at as she reached for a paper and picked up the phone and text-ed as we waited for the permit to print.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Driving Permit Part 4

I went back to take my permit test again! I studied the driving manual and took the online tutorials like four times. A lady on the bus told me to study the questions about the alcohol and the road signs. She was right.

The dmv was packed but I went straight to the test room. Right outside the testing room door it says "STOP you must not Enter until you are called." You are supposed to disregard that sign and just walk in. There were a few others there. I was put on computer four. One, two and three were taken. I took a deep breath. I started and I knew all the answers, then there were two question that I was 75% sure of so I skipped those for later. I finished the rest of the test in a few minutes. Before I could answer the skipped questions, the test ended and said I passed! Green all the way. The three others who were on their computers were still taking their test.

I had to work not to do the football touch down dance. I sat down and waited for my results to print out. I saw myself driving. I saw the car, me behind the wheel. I was a step closer. No more 30 minute waits, no more wasted freakin time waiting and waiting.

I saw the red rectangle of failure pop up for everyone of those other people who failed the test.

The elder behind the desk had a cloud like white afro and fluffy beard. He had a sprinkle of dark moles on his face. He called folks by name and told them they passed or failed. Like we could not read that on the screen. Like some of us weren't cursing ourselves for getting three wrong. He told them when they could return. One guy could not come back for a week that meant he failed twice.
He finally called me. He asked me if I wanted to pick up my permit today. Of course. I said. Not knowing the wait the was before me!
He handed me a slip of paper. Another receipt with bar code. I was B29 when I went back to the waiting room they were at B9. I waited and texted.

A middle aged father with a baseball cap and his pimply faced kid sat breathlessly next to me. The father had the driving book and was quizzing the son. I gave them the same advice the woman on the bus gave me, study the alcohol and the road signs. The father looked through the driving manual for info about driving and alcohol.
"The stuff about the drinking and driving is in the other book." I told them.
"Another book! There's another book? There's no other book."
"Yep and on the test there were at least five questions from that book. You won't find anything about drinking and driving in that one." He looked at the table of contents, he flipped through the book. I was reading my book and looking at them. The father finally got up to find the other book.
The son asked me questions. He said he hadn't studied anything.
They were called. And finally it was my turn.
An unsmiling woman took my receipt and scanned it. She typed for a while and then said, "How will you paying for that?"
And silly me said, "How much is the permit?"
"Fifty dollars."
"Oh! Wow, I didn't know their was a charge...I didn't bring....I never saw anything about a charge."
The next customer was already waiting behind the chair I was sitting in.
The unsmiling woman handed me the receipt.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Driving Permit Part 3

I had more than enough proofs of everything! We used a jury summons, bank statement, I had my student loan, cable bill, phone bill. I was so relieved and I was given a receipt with a letter and number. It wasn't too crowded.

A computerized voice called out letters and numbers. She said G5, I was F33? The computerized lady said A23, G23 and finally F17.

I was slightly anxious. For fifteen minutes they didn't call F anything.

There were 28 numbered booths lined up. Behind the desks unsmiling women helped anxious folks.

In front of me A group of very young looking girls with two babies, one baby was being held by a girl who looked 14. She had a front pouch but held the baby. The baby was little little baby with a blue blanket. The other baby, a twin? Was in a car seat on the metal bench we sat on. She had her friends helping her.
One of the friends sang, "Babies having babies." In a loud voice.

A woman in business attire walked by, her friend came out of the testing room.
"I failed!"
"Oh no!"
"I can come back and retake the test tomorrow. I got a 16 out of 20. Missed it by one. I don't know what is wrong with me."
Too bad. I thought.
When they finally called me, I was ready. I smiled at the unsmiling woman behind the desk. there was this black binocular looking contraption on the desk and a computer screen. As the woman typed my information I was supposed to read the screen and make sure she was putting in the right information. She gestured to the binocular thing. Time for my eye test. I guessed. I looked in it without touching it with my face.
"I don't see anything."
"Mumble mumble."
"Ugh I have to touch that thing."
There was a white strip and as I leaned my forehead on it i saw the familiar eye chart letters. I was distracted about the fact that thousands of pimply foreheads were at one time on that thing. I read the last line and passed the test. I wiped my forehead with a baby wipe.
"Mumble, mumble."
"Time for my picture?"
I put my chair against a the blue wall and I'm not sure what my face did. Flash and over.
She handed me the papers and pointed to the right.
"Should I go now? Over there?"
"Mumble mumble!"
I found the testing room. A row of desks and computers. Another line.

The woman makes eye contact and speaks clearly. She takes my papers types and types something into a computer and hands my papers to someone else who looks at my paper and types on the on the computer. He says my name and says computer 3.

The computer was a touch screen. I knew the first ten and then I had to skip four questions and when I went back to them I got the first wrong, the second right. The I got the big red rectangle! 16 out of 20!
I failed.
I didn't know the hand signal for left turn! FAIL! Go back to the beginning.
I sat down with a group of others on school like desks. Some folks looked dejected like me! I failed by one dang question. A woman who was taking the test at a computer stands up and raises both arms in a victory sign.
"Yes!" She yells in the quiet room.
F you lady. Dang show off.
How could I fail? I remembered the questions and wrote them down on the driving manual that I should have read more thoroughly.

I went home and I took the test online, i read the manual and got 19's and 20's on the on line test.

I felt so dumb. The woman called my name and handed me my papers. She said I could come back the next day.
I could only shake my head and take the papers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I sat behind two middle aged women. The one closest to the window was talking about Jack. Jack finally died from a heart attack. They spoke of his and his families drinking problem and how Jack was constantly driving drunk! He was caught once! He was so drunk once he couldn't walk.
Next they spoke of another woman they both knew who died of a brain aneurysm. The woman closest to to the window said she had one and went to JHopkins for her surgery. She said she really bothered the hospital because she wanted THE top surgeon in the world Ben Carson. She said they told her he was out of the country for two weeks and she said "and you know what, I waited till he came back. That was five years ago."
Nothing in the woman's demeanor gave away what she has gone through.
On the bus I got on with a woman with a sleeping baby and stroller. The baby had his head on her shoulder. The bus was packed, she stood in the front with the baby her whole ride. There were young people and there were people with canes sitting. One girl looked up and looked back down. A young man was sitting down, he looked fine. I didn't say anything. Was it my place? I squeezed my way to the back of the bus.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Lady with the medical face mask, is that for us or to protect you?