Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Goes Around Sometimes Doesn't Come Around. Yay!

I have a strange yet awesome story to relay.

Several years ago when I moved in to the area I had to go to the DMV to update my driver's license. I spent 2.5 hours waiting to get to a window only to discover that I'd been in the wrong line the whole time. The man at the window was incredibly snarky towards me and implied that it was not their vague sign that was at fault, but my base intelligence and my ability to read. I was furious. So furious that I relived that event over and over for the next week and gave that man a nickname. He became "the nasty little DMV ferret". I spent more than a handful of hours imagining retorts to his rudeness.
Today as I was getting ready to go get my new last name put on my license, this event filtered back to me. I hoped that the man was in a position where he could be happier and didn't have to deal with being frustrated. Mostly I hoped I wouldn't have to deal with him again, and figured since he hadn't been in the photography section of the DMV previously, I would probably be lucky today as well.
I got there and noted immediately that instead of some vague wall with a sign on it there was a smiling woman who asked what I needed, made sure I had everything I needed, then gave me a number. Already it was improved over my previous visit. On top of that, there were only 9 people in front of me.
It was then time for one of my favorite pastimes/social experiments, "smiling at people in crowded locations." Bob and I often do this kind of thing at the grocery stores or other crowded places whenever there's a holiday and a lot of people might be really cranky in one spot. It's fun, and there are very few people that don't smile back. the same happened here. Everybody smiled that I smiled at, and a few even started talking to me, something that had never occurred before. It was a quick 15 minutes of waiting and chatting, and then the weird but wonderful occured.
My number came up, and I walked up. Handed over my info. Signed the little digi-signer. And right about the time the man behind the counter said "god bless you" for verifying I wanted to be an organ donor it dawned on me... the pleasant man who was smiling and saying thank you was the same "ferret". He proceeded to make me laugh, smile, and got everything done in 30 seconds. When he called me back 5 minutes later to give me the finished license he even wished me a happy new year and got one more laugh out of me.
I was happily stunned. It took 19 minutes from entry to exit and the man that had held my stomach in a knot for the better part of 3 days was entirely different. I don't know why, I won't speculate either. But for someone who remembers those wrongs from the past and carries them around like stones in her stomach, it was a very big reminder that EVERYTHING changes every minute of every day. It is only ourselves holding on to the illusion of stationary life that does not. And it has hurt me in the past. This is one I am happily laughing at myself over and willing to let go. More than that, I'm excited that this guy is in a place where he appears much happier with things. That is awesome.

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