Dante gave us a terrifying description of the nine circles of hell in his enduring classic, Inferno. Each circle features a human failing: greed, anger, gluttony and so on. Clearly, Dante never imagined the RMV. He would have added a tenth.
The RMV is where I spent eternity – I mean, a morning – this week. I showed up thirty minutes early for my appointment to register a new van. In a valiant effort to obey the pandemic rules, I’d scheduled my appointment two weeks ago.
The RMV has always been a black hole of lost time, but these days visiting the agency could break even the strongest. I waited patiently for twenty minutes in one line before being scolded by a clerk for standing in the wrong one. The short line was for those who dropped in, unannounced. Incredibly, the longer line was for those with appointments – punishment, I guess, for planning ahead.
After almost an hour of waiting, a clerk handed me a flyer that directed me to go back to my car and text the agency that I was at the RMV. Apparently, no one had noticed. Instantly, I got a text: “There are 35 guests ahead of you. We will text you when it’s time to come in”
Guests? No, we were the damned.
Time ticked by. A half-hour. An hour. Another half-hour. I’d set off from home that morning determined to maintain good hydration. Maybe I’d overdone it. I was squirming in the car, desperate for a restroom, when I finally got a text from the RMV. “We are ready for you.”
Back I went to another line. By now, I was in a cold sweat from discomfort. I waited for my number to be called, and, well, you know the rest of the story. The clerk found a minor error in my documentation and rejected my application. I asked for a supervisor, hoping for a compassionate release from this bureaucratic hell, but was instead lashed and tortured.
Maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement, but with the thought of repeating this exercise I might prefer it.
In my dreams, when midnight strikes on December 31, the pandemic nightmare will cease and life will return to normal. Maybe we can even fix the tenth circle of hell, the RMV, which would be nothing less than a miracle.