After Tuesday's three-hour unsuccessful wait to replace my driver's license at the Texas Department of Public Safety, I returned to make another attempt. Arriving three minutes before the office opened, I encountered a line of 35 people waiting to get in the door. Sigh. Already baking in the hot Texas sun, we were allowed in a few at a time to punch our type of request into a computer and get a numbered ticket. I take a seat and settle in with my iPhone to read the morning news and play games. A lady comes around to ensure that you have the correct documents. She makes a long-winded speech regarding what documents are needed for each type of request. This includes a warning that if there are a lot of folks not in the seats, the fire marshal may pay a visit and shut the place down. Right.
It's now 9:45 and I'm still waiting. The fellow next to me.now on his third visit to the office, has already been dismissed because he lacks a Texas registration for his vehicle. This puts me mind of another visit. Hannah had asked me to take her 83-year-old mother-in-law Annie there to obtain a ID card. She was no longer driving, but needed a picture ID to board a plane. We had proof of residence and her old driver's license, but when we talked to the agent, she asked if she was married. Annie replied that she was widowed. The agent then requested her marriage license. Huh? She wouldn't budge about this requirement, so back we went to Annie's apartment to retrieve the document, which it turns out was laminated to a heavy piece of glass. Both of us are now ready to bite through a chain, but we return, present the item and go off with a temporary ID card, with me badly in need of an adult beverage.
It's now 9:45 and I'm still waiting. There's an interesting cross section of Texans here. Some have brought their small children and one fellow even had a small dog with him. I watch as the flat screens display the numbers being served. Finally, mine comes up and I dash to station #1 and present my documents. Everything goes swimmingly until it's time to pay the $11.00 fee. She will not accept my temporary debit card because it doesn't have my name on it. Grrr. Off I go to a nearby convenience store to withdraw cash, purchasing a box of Tic Tacs to make sure I have correct change. At least, I could go back to her without waiting. Now I'm street legal, with a temporary paper license to go in the new wallet I purchased yesterday. I'm fairly certain that this will be the signal for my lost wallet to turn up.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.