RMV Where Lines Stretch Farther Than Your Patience (and Perhaps Your Sanity). by
(62 Stories)

Prompted By The DMV

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Ah, the RMV. A mystical land where fluorescent lighting casts a pale pallor on dreams and paperwork morphs into origami dragons – as if fire-breathing was not enough. It is a realm where lines of people weave like drunken conga dancers, each step punctuated by the collective sigh of souls yearning for freedom (from the line, not the existential kind, though that might sneak in also).

Now, let’s talk driver’s tests. I, for one, passed on my first try. Of course, that might have been aided by the lucky clover my Irish grandmother snuck into my shoe – that and maybe the examiner was distracted by the squirrel tap-dancing on the hood of his car. But hey, a pass is a pass, right?

Unless, of course, you were not blessed with squirrel-induced examiner hypnosis – then the RMV becomes your personal purgatory, each failed attempt adding another layer to your Dante-ish descent and your confidence shrinks faster than a wool sweater in the dryer and where the passenger seat became a judgment throne, occupied by your parents/spouse/friend who, bless their hearts, try to offer calming advice that somehow translates to yelling: “WHY CAN’T YOU PARALLEL PARK LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING?!”

But the true test of character, nay, of humanity itself, lies within the walls inside of the RMV. Those lines, my friends, are existential wormholes. At first you enter as a sprightly citizen, full of hope with dreams of open roads. You emerge, hours later, a creature forged in the fires of boredom and fluorescent angst. You’ve witnessed the best and worst of humanity: the line-cutter (may their tires forever be eternally underinflated), the document-forgetful (may their stapler jam eternally), and the inexplicable dude who just talks too loud and too long on his phone.

And yet, there’s a strange camaraderie in these fluorescent valleys. Shared groans of despair echo like a chorus of the damned, united against their paper requiring oppressors. You strike up conversations with strangers, bonded by the universal language of RMV-induced suffering. You learn of life hacks: hiding snacks in your purse, mastering the art of the fake “important phone call”, and developing a sixth sense for spotting the shortest line. (Hint: it’s always the one with the guy muttering about last night’s repeat episode of The Bing Bang Theory.)

So, the next time you face the RMV beast in its lair, remember this: you’re not alone. You’re just another brave soul navigating the fluorescent abyss, one form to fill out at a time. Take comfort in the shared suffering, laugh at the absurdity, and maybe, just maybe, offer a sympathetic smile to the poor sap behind you. After all, in the RMV’s fluorescent embrace, we’re all just fellow travelers on the road to… well, wherever the heck this line leads.


Profile photo of Kevin Driscoll Kevin Driscoll
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    How well you describe this experience (is it only in MA that we are plagued by the ridiculous inefficiencies and long waits, or is this a universal truth?)

    I grew up in a tiny suburb of Detroit. We went to the police station to get tested and get our license. I passed, but my mother had me so convinced that I would NOT, that I had put my long hair up in cork screw pig tails with pink ribbons and that was the photo on my license until I married and moved to Massachusetts! At least there were no lines.

  2. Funny and well-written as always, Kevin.!

    My advice whenever you know you may be waiting on a long and frustrating line – take a good book, and also remember it just may be fodder for a Retro story!

  3. Khati Hendry says:

    You are so artful with your words, this was a joy to read. Taking the dreary, finding humor and the bonding experience of the human condition in the halls of RMV–masterful. And fun.

  4. Kevin, you’ve shown mastery in many writings of the use of figurative language, but this one was one of my favorites ever, the alliteration combining with the metaphor, and then purposely or not, place the word BOREDOM smack dab in the middle of the phrase: ” forged in the fires of boredom and fluorescent angst.” Hurray!

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    Great story. So glad the Illinois DMV decided to give seniors a break.

  6. Dave Ventre says:

    The odd thing is, in the Chicago area, there are a few DMV facilities that seem to have been overlooked by The Masses. One is right downtown. Get there in mid-afternoon and more often than not, you are the only patron. The lack of irate customers seems to set the tone of the place; everyone is calm and friendly!

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