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The Tale of Mr Stinky & the DMV


On my birthday a few weeks ago my Oregon ID expired, meaning that I could no longer put off getting a Washington ID if I wanted to be able to do things like pay my rent and buy alcohol. So I today I got all dolled up (meaning I was wearing a good color for me, and my hair looked fabulous!!) and headed over to the Department of Motor Vehicles–just where everyone wants to hang out on a bright, sunny Spring day, right?

I walked in and the place was packed. The wait was at least an hour. I glanced at my ticket: Number 421: then up at the numbers above the counters. Number 299. It was gonna be a long wait.
As I looked around for a seat, I couldn’t help noticing the wide & weird variety of people. Seated near the front, a teenage girl holding a toddler. This young mother had just taken her first driving test, and was waiting to get her photo taken. Leaning against the wall, a guy I’d swear I saw on an episode of Law & Order: SVU a few weeks ago (and yes, he was the bad guy). Over by the window, four older men in motorcycle gear, discussing the trip they have planned for the summer. If Stanley passes the vision test, that is. A girl wearing a plaid mini-skirt and what appeared to be tattoo tights made me wonder what she’ll tell her grandkids.
Of course, the oddest (or at least the smelliest) person in the room chose to sit by me. Old guy, reeking of smoke & booze. Truly, the stench coming off this man was mammoth! Remember in old cartoons, where a bad smell was represented with wavy lines rising from a character? Well Mr. Stinky had mucho wavy lines rising from his battered clothes, his long gray hair, even his shoes. I can deal with nasty smells: I was a preschool teacher for 25 years, remember? I actually felt kinda sorry for the guy; he wanted so badly to have a conversation with me. Talking is fine, and really, so is being stinky. Touching, not so much. Once he put his hand on my knee, it was time for me to go! This is when the Ladies Room comes in very handy. I hung out in there for five or ten minutes, long enough to get some of the smoke smell off of me, and emerged hoping he’d either be gone or have moved on to someone else. Mr. Stinky was nowhere to be seen, so I found a new seat, and went on with my wait.
I learned a long time ago that dealing with “mashers” (as my Grandmother called men who gave girls unwanted attention), need not always be confrontational. Sometimes it’s easiest just to walk away. I can get loud if need be, and I can defend myself. Just ask Seth, whose nose I broke with my bookbag! (Sorry, Seth!)
My point is, don’t get stinky with me, especially on a good hair day. I may be nice, but I may just rearrange your face. See you at the DMV.

4 thoughts on “The Tale of Mr Stinky & the DMV

  1. ha ha ha! awesome! I can't handle stinky people very well. When I am helping people at work, I always end up trying to stay as far away as I can without being rude, and it seems that they always want to be as close to me as possible. A couple of times I found myself in a kind of dance, I would step back and they would step forward, and I would step back and they would step forward, lol…

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  2. When I was in the loony bin last summer, one guy enjoyed being aggressive and crude with all the female patients, grabbing his crotch and saying "you want some of this?" and other oh-so-romantic genstures. The first time, I told him, "do that one more time and I'll report you." The second time, I reported him (which did no good of course) and then said to him, "do that one more time and I'll kick it so hard you won't be able to touch yourself for three weeks."It was kind of scary because in a place that is supposed to be safe, there is no ladies' room to escape to – no locks, no doors, no privacy. Everything's accessible and open, but nobody pays attention or intervenes.I was very disappointed that my warning worked on him. I was really looking forward to kicking him in the huevos.

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  3. Oh, Karen, while I'm sorry you had to go through that, at the same time, I'm slightly amused. I can see you know, scaring the hell out of the poor crazy guy, and being a hero to every other woman there! As always, you rock, Karen!

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