Los Angeles, California
July 14, 2000
I thought I'd tell you about my morning cuz it was funny, even thought it involves the DMV. I was scheduled to take the behind-the-wheel test to get my California driver's license. I had a license in Illinois, but it was suspended when I was 17, after I was pulled over for smoking underage, which resulted in a ticket for driving without insurance, and my license was eventually revoked after I didn't show up for a court date. Now there's a warrant out for my arrest in DuPage County, where my parents live, but they don't really check that sort of thing state to state. I have a permit here (which is embarrassing if you're over the age of 15), which I was hoping upgrade to a license today.
I had tried to take the behind-the-wheel test, which you have to schedule weeks in advance, once before: A friend, who I'll call the Squire, had agreed to drive me to the DMV in his car, and then lend it to me to use for the test. Unfortunately, he did not bring his insurance card, as his younger sister had thrown it out the window in an attempt to kill a bug. Of course I was flatly refused at the window the fat lady told me I had just wasted my time.
So this time the Squire assured me he had all the paperwork. I talked to him last night, and he assured me he would pick me up at 8:30, so we'd have plenty of time to make my 9:30 appointment at the L.A. DMV, somewhere on Hope St. I stupidly trusted the Squire, and went outside to wait around 8:30. I sat on the steps, smoking and reading, looking up every time I heard a car turn onto Romaine.
Around 9, a little beige hatchback pulled up in front of the building. The two dudes in front looked my way and gestured, I assumed at the misleading For Rent sign hanging from the fire escape. The passenger, wearing flannel and a hairnet, got out and walked toward me as the driver turned around and puttered toward Wilton. The guy walked up to me and got right in my face and said in a confidential tone "I want you to give me your wallet." I looked back at him, into his eyes, and said "I don't even have a wallet," which is true, and when he said "You got some money?" I said "No, no money either," which was almost true. I had $2, and I figured that wouldn't help his needs, whatever they are. And I figured he'd either find out for sure that I had some money, by emptying my pockets himself, or he'd accept my answer and walk away. He shrugged, walked away and got back into the car, which had turned around and pulled up as our interaction ended. The driver, puffy-faced with big, messed-up hair, leaned out his window and said, "I've committed a lot of sins, and I'm repenting, because I'm that kind of Christian. I think I'll be forgiven. I've done a lot of bad things, a lot of sins, in the past couple days, and I've repented for some of them, and I'm pretty sure I'll be forgiven, but I don't think I could ever be forgiven for what I'm going to do right now." He nodded and sped toward Western, and I thought, fuck, that can't be a good sign.
The Squire arrived at 9:15, and I told him what had happened. They may have just been fucking with me, but who knows? I felt floaty and light, but that was eaten away by irritation at my impending lateness at the DMV. We meandered through downtown's maze, zigzagging back and forth, tracking Hope's southbound jogs. I got there close to ten, and as I waited in line noticed a crude sign in red marker stating "No Lates". I realized that I was a "late." And the fat lady said, "No lates. We have over one hundred drivers today. No lates." The Squire was apologetic; I was numb. We drove toward my work and I forced myself to tell him about the minidisc player I want, to keep from strangling him. I had him drop me off in the Quaintness, the strip of Larchmont between Beverly and 3rd. I considered donating blood at the mobile unit outside the B of A, but just got some coffee and walked up the street.
I was intercepted in front of the newsstand right before Beverly by a woman with a mike and a little video display who asked in a pitiful voice if I'd provide some reaction shots for Extra TV. "All you've got to do is watch a fashion show and tell me what you think." I agreed, because the lady had a retainer and was wearing beige. So she played this footage, clips of runway shows, on the tiny monitor, as the cameraman shot me. The first bit had a model wearing a sort of bloated conquistador helmet, and the rest was in that vein. She asked if I thought it was "fashion or disaster." I said they're pretty much the same thing, but I mean that in a good way, and walked off to work.
I'm at work now, and though I still can't drive, I might be on TV, and if you hear about any crimes even Christ can't forgive, I heard it first.