When the wind is just right, and the DMV receptionist is gone for lunch, and you’ve made a 1:15 pm appointment and put it on your calendar and looked up directions, and you’ve arrived 15 minutes early to check in to get a new license since you lost yours at Punch Bowl Social during one particularly rowdy night out, you could be lucky enough to be part of… a DMV perfect storm.

This storm involves the system “losing” your appointment.

This storm involves dutifully taking a ticket (even though you’re positive you made an appointment and should not have to wait, but the receptionist is gone so you have no recourse) and waiting in a room full of impatient, grumpy DMV waiting-room people for one full hour.

Without any reading material.

When it is 100 degrees outside.

This storm will require an extraordinary amount of patience. It will make you feel suddenly beautiful, intelligent and lucky, at least compared to some of the folks who cannot find a single document with their proof of address on it, and seem not to have taken a shower for a good bit.

The storm will involve uncomfortable plastic chairs and rude customers and the shocking realization that DMV employees are probably some of the most patient people on the planet.

And yes, you’ll probably still be frustrated about the lost appointment.

But in the end, if you brave the storm, if you do a fist pump when your number is called because it felt like you won the lottery, if you arrive at the oasis that is an actual DMV employee at the actual DMV desk, and this person is shocked at your calm, patient, and perhaps even cheerful demeanor, then you may just find a twinkle of treasure.

Because when the DMV employee (who you’re pretty sure just failed the lanky teenager whose pants were falling down and mouthed “bitch” when he came back in from the driving test) asks who your emergency contact is, you have a name and number to give. And when she asks for your second, you have yet another name and number to give.

Now, this emergency name and number business might not seem consequential. But isn’t it, really?

It’s saying something. To have 2 people the DMV can call if you are dismembered, killed, trapped, found on the side of the road, or in a state of general distress. It’s saying something to have 2 people that you know, without a wisp of a doubt, care deeply enough about you to come to your rescue, no matter the circumstance. I have 2 people whose phone numbers I have memorized, even in this age of phone numbers in smart phones.

I have two people who would answer the phone in the middle of the night and give a shit about what may have happened to me out there. I have 2 people who are my people. Because I am their people. They love me in the kind of way that turns words into italics. They love me.

You’ve made it through the perfect storm. You’ve braved the DMV. And best of all, you’ve identified your life preservers. Your life boats. Your “oh shit” handles. You know their phone numbers and complete names. And you know they will be there when the next storm rolls in.

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