A couple weeks back, when renting a vehicle, it was pointed out to me that my driver’s license had expired. For Kansas residents that happens on your birthday and mine was in July, meaning it had gotten over looked more than a few times by however many different agencies and by the holder of said license.
Which necessitated the feared and dreaded trip to the Kansas Driver’s License renewal facility. My last fond memory of that process was changing my license from Missouri to Kansas.
I had arrived early that morning, standing in a 30 foot line outside the door and dressed in a suit for a meeting later that day. Naturally I found myself in line with a bevy of 15 year olds, parents in tow, there for the “drive” test, dressed in various logo t shirts and casual attire.
So I stood out worse than usual.
The door opened as the first in line, I witnessed from behind the counter, a two minute debate between employees deciding who would take the first smoke break while we applicants, residents and payers of their salaries waited dutifully in line. I commented to the ring leader that I’d like this smoke break mediation to move along as quick as possible as I had a full day.
I missed one question and was allowed to review the proper answer. In doing so, I made an off handed remark as to why I answered in the manner I had and that it seemed to me my answer was the one most closely aligned with the Kansas Drivers Handbook.
It was at that moment the test administer dude lowered his reading glasses to the tip of his nose, looked up over them at me and whispered with great, faux concern; “Here’s what I’d suggest, sir; why don’t you go back to your office, have your secretary write a letter to the Governor, and I bet he’ll change that for you…..”
I wished him a happy KAPERS kind of life and moved on with my day, a proud, legal Kansas licensed driver.
So it’s with that fond memory lodged in my mind that I approached my renewal.
I arrived at the Kansas License Bureau at 7:30, thinking I’d be early. Oh, how wrong I was because they open at 7:00 and the place was packed. I walked up to the front desk to check in and the conversation went like this:
Me: This looks like fun!
KS: It’s NEVER fun.
(I check in, have all my appropriate paper work and get my number. I would from that point further be known as B2071.)
Me: About how long’s the wait?
KS: The system says 32 minutes, but it lies. Topeka figures 2 min per customer but it really takes 5-10 minutes so I’d count on a couple hours or so.
Me: If they system computes 2 minutes per customer but it really takes 10, and you guys know that, why would Topeka insist you use 2 minutes as the guideline?
KS: I think they (Topeka) believe the customer will feel better if they think it takes them less time to get through the process.
Me: Can’t most of your customers tell time and realize, at some point, they are here a factor of two or three times longer than the estimated time they were told?
KS: Why do you think people hate us?
Me: It could be just your association with Topeka, everything sucks in Topeka. Do I still have to take a written exam?
KS: You can if you like.
Me: It’s optional?
KS: Yes Sir. You’re only required to take the vision test.
Me: Oh, I get that, makes perfect sense; it’s so you know I can see well while disobeying the rules of the road I no longer remember?
Me: I appreciate the work you do and as a citizen of Kansas I’d like to thank you. People dislike you for reasons totally out of your control; I usually instigate those feelings on my own, but I feel your pain. You’re an innocent bystander unable to control the outcome.
Me: No, ma’am, I have to renew my license, rent a car and leave for Uvalde, Texas at zero dark 30 in the morning to move my wife’s mother up here. I’m sure you’ve heard the old Henny Youngman joke, though, so I won’t bore you with it.
KS: Where’s Uvalde, Texas!?
Me: Ever been to Topeka?
Me: Take Topeka and turn the “SUCK: knob all the way to the right and you’re there! You go South on I-35 till you smell it and West on 90 at San Antonio till you step in it.
KS: Are you sure you can’t stay?
Me: I probably should now because I’m going to put this whole experience on Facebook which is going my make my wife really mad, making the drive 10 times longer than its already going to be.
KS: if that happens you can always come back here!
Me: Why do I feel like this is Hotel California?
KS: It kind of is.