Thursday, March 14, 2013

On a Whim

Someone's learner's permit went through the laundry the other day, undiscovered until after it had been washed and was 30 minutes into the drying cycle. Someone noticed it at that point when someone saw flecks of white lint amid slightly larger pieces of white paper scraps and the very damp remains of said learner's permit. Someone did someone's best to salvage the permit, but someone's best efforts failed.

So someone took someone else to the DMV just now, armed with the remnants, a Passport and a checkbook. Both of these someones brought along reading material, secure in the knowledge that the next hour would be spent on uncomfortable benches with the other huddled appointment-less masses, marking the excruciatingly slow passage of time as people with numbers lower than us were being called, one-by-one, to a counter.

Instead, a couple of someones -- nobodies, really -- found themselves at the START HERE counter, greeted by a DMV employee who only a week before was as surly as what someone, sadly, has come to expect. None of the surliness was there. And, as someone put on a show about the misfortune befalling someone's learner's permit, to the amusement of the non-surly clerk, someone noticed a whim take shape.

That once-surly clerk showed not an ounce of surliness and, rather than condemn the two someones to waiting, took 23 seconds out of her day and printed a replacement learner's permit. Without paperwork. Without payment. Without nothing but a Passport and a thumb print.

The someones were back on their way home within six minutes of pulling into the DMV parking lot.

Thanks to a whim.

I Someone should be grateful, right?

I should be. But I'm not, really. Why not just, as a matter of course, as a hard-and-fast rule, as an official policy, have that START HERE clerk help every single person with any task that takes less than three minutes? Why did we not have to wait, but everyone who came before us, the huddled masses sitting on the uncomfortable benches, did?

Because of a whim.

And the power wielded by someone who gets to decide our fate. It could just have easily gone the other way for us. We could have encountered Ms. Surly Hyde rather than Dr. Benevolent Jekyll.

1 comment:

Sarah said...


(Maybe she was amused by your tale of woe? Because I was. ;)


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