Weaving Lines

With a driving trip coming up in our future, I have begunt he process of going thru my list. And, when I am done with the list, I expand it out and try and take in other issues of concern. Yesterday, I realized a possible big one.

When we bought our new vehicle on February 29th, we were looking forward to driving it. When it arrived in our garage, it had a full tank of gas. With a hybrid engine, we were excited to see how long one tank of gas would last us. Little did we know how long it would last. The first fillup took place this past weekend. If all vehicles got 7 months to the tankful, those who profess global warming would have nothing to complain about.

The problem was not with the gallons per month. The problem was the registration sticker. This sticker is placed on the bottom of the driver’s side of the windshield. This vehicle was a treat, so we were not well versed in when the stickers get stuck. Because it wasn’t there when we left the dealers lot, I thought little more about it. When the replacement for the temporary tags arrived, I saw nothing that resembled a sticker in the envelope. With all the oddities of life during the pandemic, I just had no time to realize I was stickerless.

While grace may be abundant during the pandemic, I don’t like to be caught unprepared. After a call to the dealership where they confirmed they did “everything right”, my only recourse was to go and get a new sticker. My instructions were to, “Take something with your VIN, proof of insurance and ID.” This advice turned out to be accurate. COVID caused a frustrating experience to be visually much more overwhelming. When I entered the line, I was outside of the building. After entering the building, the “reminder spots” were following the walls at 6 foot intervals. Fortunately, they did not force us to follow the hallway completely. The winding was cut short by some erected barriers. Just as in a line for an amusement park ride, you sometimes don’t know how long the line is until you see some of the same faces emerge from the shadows.

It took me approximately 30 minutes until I was checked in by my “reason for being there.” For the next 25 minutes, I was “R161.” I was frustrated by the person who was R159. He tied up one of the clerks by hoping to accomplish a handful of requests in one visit. After the clerk handled him and the other clerk came back from her potty break, my number was activated on the screen. With my sole purpose of just needing a sticker and no new plates, I was done pretty quickly. The most difficult decision I needed to make was whether I would write a check for $6.50 or pay an additional $2.50 to use a credit card. “Tightwad” must have been written on my forehead. She knew which direction I would go.

As I left, I saw the line winding outside the building was longer. Not only was it longer, but it was more densely packed–being socially distanced while outside was a lower priority. I considered telling those at the end of the line, “Plan on at least an hour.”, but what kind of person would I be to take away their hope for a speedy processing?

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