CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: DMV Was DMZ to a Certain Driver

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By WIMPY W.T. HIROTO

What is the accepted standard for true pain and suffering: Root canal? Mother-in-law? Fran Drescher’s laugh? A Kobe Bryant television commercial?  Kobe Bryant?

All are in the running, including the possible disappearance of “O”, but for Crossroads to Somewhere, *hands down, it’s the Department of Motor Vehicles. [*Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “hands up,” like in “I surrender teh-ah-geh,” instead of hands down?]

I’ve had medical probes of my nose, down my throat, and up my, er, lowest orifice and lived to write about them; not to forget having  stomach lanced and spine fused. Why then, you might wonder, would a nondescript government entity hold such a place of terror? Faithful CR2S followers are all too familiar with my DMV histrionics, so a short recap for the benefit of newbie uninformed:

Two years ago I went to DMV, Montebello office, to renew my driver’s license, a rather routine chore for most. Yet it took me six visits, over a torturous four-month span, to get the piece of plastic everyone needs, the one with the ugly photo. Not in chronological order, the reasons why it took so long:  a failed written exam (twice); a flunked eye test; unpaid car registration; no smog clearance; and the final embarrassment, not passing the driving test! Even today I have difficulty holding a straight course on the 10 Freeway when driving past the Montebello off-ramp.

As CR2S readers will recall from last week, I entered Year 2013 sans automobile insurance AND valid driver’s license. Totally aware that the new year was starting out with a gong rather than song, staying home during the holiday was the better part of valor. So I wound up singing “Auld Angst Syne” by myself.

It wasn’t exactly a Mensa moment when son Jeff suggested we try the Lincoln Park office this time around; psychologically (and wisely) the smart thing to do. And going to the DMV the next day with a driver son in tow had a purpose: I’ve been so salty with these people, the first thing they might ask is how I got there if I went alone without a license. Another sign of paranoia, I confess, but amen and so be it.

Finding a close by parking spot was the initial good omen. And then finding only five people in the “No Appointment” line was a pleasant shock. Issued Call Number G-83, a quick glance at the numbers board showed G-73, meaning a fairly quick call-up; which turned out to be a mere 20 minutes.

The clerk is humming a tune [a sure sign she’s bored]while fiddling with her computer. So Wise Wimpy takes the opportunity to peruse the three hanging eye charts, each with eight rows of alphabetical letters. Alas, my memory skills ain’t that good no more, so I give it up and leave to fate what happens next.

“Hold this [handing me a small rectangular card]over your right eye and read Line 5 of Chart A,” she orders. A slam-dunk. My left is a cool 20-40. “Now read Line 8 of Chart B,” she continues, gesturing me to now cover left, my only good orb.

Well, folks, I did as ordered. [But kinda fudged a little.] When I recited the line like an eagle, Son J was tremendously impressed by the quick memorization. [I later confessed to the sinful act of peeking with the good eye.] Wham. Bang. Thank you, Ma’am. Without hesitation she issues me a 60-day temporary, during which time I would have to take a driving test.

After checking with a supervisor, she adds an unexpected caveat, “No, you don’t have to take a written. Just a photograph and you’re through.” Egads! What took six months last time is consummated in less than one hour!

Now, you tell me, people, how could a dreaded ordeal turn out any more positive? Now I’m torn between going to Montebello or Lincoln Park for the driving challenge. The former has bad vibes but I’m so familiar with the test route, I could probably do it blindfolded. Unfamiliarity with Lincoln Park streets could pose a problem despite its proximity to Keiro Nursing Home.

My temporary Class C is valid until a lyrical 03-03-13, which is 6 minus 1 plus 3 = 8, my lucky number! Banzai and all that Nippon jazz. What can go wrong now?

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“O” Report: A pleasant surprise was a knock-knock-knock last Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 2:17 a.m.; the first since New Year’s Eve, a gap of nine days. Was it in response to my written sadness due to the continuing absence? Maybe.

But a reminder for the hundreds (maybe more?) of “O-Bah-Keh” followers: No, I’m not bothered by the mysterious tapping nor complaining; only befuddled. And no, there is no need nor wish to move. I’m seeking answers, not escape; a rational explanation of what’s been going on.

To those who wonder about the loss of sleep, I’m a hoot owl not needing a whole lot of shut-eye. Of growing interest is my Whimpsical Reincarnation Theory: Has the disappearing “O” been replaced by a living, female human being? I suggest you stay tuned.

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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