DECEMBER 16, 2008
Is nothing sacred?
Just when you think you've learned how the world works, something throws you a curve. Like we all understand bureaucracies...dealing with them is slow, cumbersome, frustrating...and did I say slow? Especially agencies like the DMV and the EPA, my two stops this morning: I needed an E-Check on my 2002 PT Cruiser so I could get my license plate sticker at the DMV before it expires tomorrow.
I left the house at about 10:30 and drove to the East 55th St. Ohio EPA E-Check facility. I took my iPhone and a big thick novel along to while away the time I expected to spend in line.
But there was no line. The car in front of me pulled into the garage and about three minutes later I was waved in next. The test took about five minutes, as promised, and I was on my way before 11 a.m. Was this my lucky day, or what?
I drove across the street to the decidedly unfriendly-looking License Bureau, hoping that it wouldn't be too crowded. It wasn't.
Inside there were only two people in the License Plates - Start Here line. I checked my email but had time to read only one before I was called to the counter. The worker greeted me with some mandatory-but-grudgingly cheerful remark she no doubt was trained to use.
Without thinking I responded with a genuinely friendly answer. It sparked a brief but enjoyable conversation punctuated by a couple of laughs. We got our business taken care of quickly and efficiently but it felt like an encounter between two actual people. When I jokingly said I'd miss seeing her next year (since I'd renewed my plates for two years) part of me meant it.
So here's the question I'm left with: if you can't count on government bureaucracies to be slow, inefficient and unfriendly, what can you count on?
Take that, Micky D's!
To celebrate my successful E-Check/license plate safari I drove home through Tremont and stopped at Lucky's Cafe for a cappuccino.
It was, of course, better than the one I got a couple of days ago at McDonald's. The price was nearly the same: $2.85 vs. $2.79 at McDonald's.
Drinking from a real ceramic cup instead of a cardboard one made it a bargain indeed.