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Y’all Should Put Up A Sign

, , , , , | Working | August 4, 2021

It’s time to renew my driver’s license, and because I have to upgrade to a Real ID, I need to renew in person at the DMV instead of online. I fill out the preliminary paperwork and am told I don’t need an appointment; just come to the DMV and show someone my completed paperwork. I arrive fairly early, hoping to avoid a crowd, but after they’ve opened for the day. 

Due to health crisis regulations, there is an employee doing check-ins at a table in front of the building. It’s not clear if the line at her table is for appointments only, whether I have to show another employee my paperwork first, etc. I see no other employees directing people. I look around for just a moment, trying to assess where to go.

Employee: “Ma’am! You need to get in that line!”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

I get in line and wait. There are no other employees outside that I see. After about twenty minutes, it’s my turn. I have just watched the DMV employee at the table repeatedly explain to the person in front of me what he needed to do, and it’s fairly obvious her patience has worn thin, so I’m feeling proud of myself for having all my paperwork in order already.

Employee: “Next.”

Me: “Hi! I’m here to renew my license and—”

Employee: “Didn’t you do the screening?”

Me: “I— Screening?”

Employee: *Loudly and slowly* “WHERE. IS. YOUR. STICKER?”

I can feel myself getting physically smaller.

Me: “Sticker?”

Employee: *Exasperated sigh* “Have you been exposed to [contagious illness] in the past two weeks?”

Oh. She meant a [contagious illness] screening and temperature check, after which I’d be given a sticker that I’d passed. But I hadn’t seen any employees doing a screening on people waiting! Why was nobody walking the line to make sure people were being screened?

The employee screened me and gave me a sticker, but not without making me feel like I’d personally messed up her entire morning.

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