There is a classic epic poem called “The Divine Comedy.” In it, Dante, a writer so good that he only has one name, describes in detail the nine circles of Hell as his hero navigates his way through them on his way to the Mount of Purgatory.
While Dante was able to navigate these circles, there is a trial that would be much more difficult for him. The very thought of this trial has caused men much braver than Dante to shudder, curl up into a fetal position, and weep. Today, I navigated these treacherous grounds and I am proud to say I came out alive.
Today, I braved the Driver’s License Bureau and lived to tell of it.
Much like Hell, there are distinct levels that one must pass through. These are the three lines of the Driver’s License Bureau.
Line 1: Reprehendo In (The Check-In)
I arrived in the middle of the day, hoping to have found a time when the building would be vacant. As it turns out, the building is never vacant. I am fairly certain people just move in so as to diminish any wait time for their driver’s license needs.
The line of people in front of the counter was five deep. Not too bad, I thought. I was wrong.
Each person who made their way to the counter had to face The Decider. I believe I heard someone call him Devon, but we’ll stick with The Decider. Trembling, each person would walk up to the counter and place the documents they had brought with them in front of him. He would scrutinize each one of them and then, just as these people had gained hope that they would be passed on to the next line, he would say the following:
“You don’t have everything you need. Come back when you have it.”
Everyone hoped to gain his favor and come away with a clipboard and form. Very few would achieve this dream and, I assume, many people will never drive because of this man.
After watching the line in front of me shrink and the dejected looks of those departing, my turn arrived. I will admit, I was nervous, but I put on a strong face. After all, no one will get by The Decider if they look weak.
“What are you here for?” he asked. He was about my height but far more intimidating than me.
“I just moved to Tennessee. I need a driver’s license.”
He stared at me, examining me with his eyes. They were focused so intently, I was sort of expecting his head to explode. I knew he was searching for any weakness. He wanted me to break, but I would not give him the satisfaction. After all, I am a tough guy. I have been through far worse than this.
“I need your old drivers license, your birth certificate and proof of residency,” he said, barely getting the words out before I had thrown my pile in front of him. Carefully he looked through, picking up each proof of residency and staring at it relentlessly.
“This letter from the bank…we need to see the debit card that came with it,” he said. I pulled it out and handed it to him and a look of disappointment crept over his face. Someone was about to make it through his tests and on to the next round.
“Okay,” he said, handing me a clipboard. Oh, the glorious clipboard! And there was a form as well! My dream had finally come true. “Fill this out all the way down to the red line. DON’T forget to sign AND date. Here’s your number.” With that, he handed me the board and a slip that read B-28. This slip was my ticket to the second line.
A line with 29 other people in front of me.
To be continued…