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.