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« ESPN's Full-Court Press | Main | On The Road Again »

Bureaucratic Efficiency

No, really.

This morning, I went to go get my emissions tested and my Jeep re-registered. This was supposed to have been done several months ago, but I let it slide. Then, as a contract web developer now (whose contract is ending a few weeks), any diversion to the now-inconvenient MVD for a few hours would be expensive, so I continued to let it slide because I couldn't afford the time off. This eventually devolved into Commuting Roulette, and it had to come to an end.

So this morning, it did.

Now part of the reason I took so long to perform my Civic Duity - although I drive a Jeep, not a Honda - was that I had heard horror stories of people waiting for hours, nay, days, nay weeks, at the MVD to register their cars. When I arrived there from the emissions testing service, I expected to find DIA of October 1997. Spouses would come by with hot meals, reliving in irony Charlie on the MTA, since we would be there in order to avoid public transport. These would have been replaced by relief caravans by now, of course. Crowded tent cities (Rittervilles, they would be called) would have sprung up, people huddling around sumdge pots in the parking lot, grumbling and demanding higher taxes to pay for more efficient computers that would be set aside from ordering baseball tickets.

Inside, things would be mayhem. The more affluent among us would be crowding the outlets with our laptops and cell phones, deperately reassuring our bosses that today, yes, today! would be the day that we would finally show up for work. Those who had been waiting inside, each night seeing the employees leave, each morning raising their hopes anew as they unlocked the doors, would be near the breaking point. A black market in tickets would have developed, with citizens re-enacting scenes from the commodities trading pit at the CBOE, the wealthy buying their way out (no waiting for you, Ms. Stryker!), the poor, condemned, like William Shatner in a small-town diner, to ask, plaintively, "Will today be the day I can re-register?"

Instead, crickets.

Well, ok, not crickets because it's December and it's snowing and the crickets are all dead, but...snow crickets. Tumbleweed through the reception area. Red LEDs flashing, "Now Serving 19." My ticket number: 20. And immediately, "Now Serving 20" A cheerful woman, no doubt the gal who had seen Wag the Dog and gotten a bright idea to reduce workload, had me in and out in, literally, three minutes.

When I asked where all the people were, she smiled knowingly, and blamed the snow.

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