Nightmare at the DMV 

Ranger Rich

Answer: Breezing through the Department of Motor Vehicles for license plates in five pleasant minutes. That crazy end-of-the-world rapture geezer Harold Camping somehow avoiding hell. Mayor Steve Bach hosting a Brokeback Mountain movie night for his wrinkly Colorado Springs Republican pals.

Question: Can you name three things that aren't going to happen?

We could, of course, write this column about that third thing, focusing on how our city's progressive new leader doesn't much care for the gay lifestyle and instead, depending on whom you talk to, believes strongly in traditional marriage. And if at first you don't succeed, try again. And again.

But that will have to wait. Because I recently had a very interesting day at the Department of Motor Vehicles and I'd like to share it. To re-create the atmosphere, you'd need a guy with a lot of tattoos and a cut-off T-shirt to sit beside you and burp every few minutes while scratching his hairy armpits as though ants were living there. (Here many women are saying, "Oh, I see you've met my husband.")

The adventure began in April when I bought a used Chevrolet Suburban from a local car dealer. I chose the Suburban for its dependability and in case I have to move a dead elephant. Or Newt Gingrich.

I've decided not to name the car dealer who made the boo-boo that will play a big role in this story. I believe it was an honest mistake. Like hiring Steve Pope as publisher of the local daily "newspaper." (Pope Steve I is leaving now, but not before he worked two miracles: He made the Gazette's circulation drop below that of the Thrifty Nickel, and then he made a blind man deaf.)

Anyway, my temporary registration had nearly expired and I still didn't have the title and other paperwork from the dealer, documents needed to register the gas-guzzling behemoth. I called the dealer a month ago but apparently caught them during Cover the Blood Stain With a Slip-On Seat Cover Days, because no one ever responded to my phone call. With a few days left on the temporary tags, I dropped into the car dealer office and got the documents.

"Just take this packet to the DMV," I was told.

I chose the DMV office in Briargate over the downtown Centennial Hall location, because I didn't want to stumble upon anyone in government kicking a gay person. No, really, I went to the new Briargate office because of the free parking and for the chance to see the six dozen fancy new "Next Window Please" signs.

I was given 644 and they'd just called 611, so I settled in beside the guy with a colony of fire ants in his armpits ... and waited. They got to me in one hour and 18 minutes.

The clerk flipped through my car dealer paperwork and made this announcement: "They didn't fill in the odometer readings. You have to go back to them."

I thought she was joking. She wasn't. (Turns out the last time a Colorado DMV clerk made a joke was in 1951. She spent the next 20 years at the farm equipment registration desk with guys who smelled like chickens and hot donkeys.)

So I rolled my eyes the way my kids taught me and shuffled out. Back at the car dealer, I was told that "this kind of stuff happens once in a while" and the odometer reading was filled in and back I went to the DMV for another beating.

Receptionist: "Find the same clerk you had before. Sometimes they'll take you back and you won't have to wait."

Clerk's actual words: "I would, but I'm leaving for the day. So I can't."

Because nothing says "I am stressed and overworked" like being forced to stay five minutes past the traditional 12:56 p.m. quitting time.

That's right. It wasn't even 1 p.m. And she was out the door.

This time I waited one hour and seven minutes. But I got my license plates.

And I don't know what happened to the guy next to me in the sleeveless T-shirt, but I'm hoping he stopped by a store and bought something to spray under his arms.

Like Raid.


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