Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Girl with Pink Hair

February is my birthday month, the shortest month of the year (No jokes about it being appropriate for my stature, please!), and this year I needed to renew my driver’s license by presenting myself to the offices of the DMV along with the requisite number of documents totaling six points proving that I actually am who I am and not someone else pretending to be me. 




And so, on a rainy February afternoon, I packed up the necessary provisions to survive an afternoon in bureaucracy -- sandwich, water, magazine, book – and drove to the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Department of Motor Vehicle Services. 





This was what I was expecting to find when I arrived.  Instead….





I pulled up in front of a nicely landscaped commercial building.  That was a surprise!  I walked in and was directed to a counter manned by a young woman and a young man and a uniformed officer bent over some paperwork.  There was only one person ahead of me in line.  The woman took him and the man took me.  He barely looked up at me as he asked for all my documentation, which I presented, gave me a number and a form and said, “Go to the room to your left, fill out the form and wait ‘til you’re called.”  O.K., so maybe he wasn’t the friendliest guy in the world but at least he was efficient and not surly.  I’ll take it.





 

As I rounded the partition and entered the room where I was to wait, I saw another counter with two young women behind it, one of whom had a shock of bright pink hair.  They were both taking care of a woman and her teen-aged daughter and everyone was smiling and laughing.  That was a surprise!  I had barely finished filling out the form when the girl with the pink hair called me up to the counter.  Normally, I’m not a fan of pastel-colored hair – on anyone, but it was the perfect color to match this beautiful young woman’s bright pink personality, and suddenly the gray bureaucratic surroundings seemed that much lighter and brighter because of her. 

She looked at my documents, smiled and said, “Oh, tomorrow is your birthday.  Happy birthday!  Are you doing something special?”  I told her I was having lunch with a friend.  She wanted to know where we were going and all about the restaurant.  I told her, and that my husband was taking me out for dinner that evening.  She wanted to know where he was taking me and I told her that I didn’t know; it was a surprise.  She giggled like a school girl and said, “Oh, that’s so romantic.  I love surprises.” 







As for the woman and teen-aged daughter who were still at the counter with me, it turned out to be a very special occasion for both of them.  The 17-year-old daughter was getting her very first driver’s license and was bubbling over with excitement, while mom was feeling a little emotional and very nostalgic since this was the last child in the family to get her license.  And so mom was taking pictures of every step in the process to remember this special day, and the ladies at the counter were only too happy to make a big fuss over the young lady in question and to be included in the family photos. 

There was something so sweet and special about all this.  Suddenly, I remembered the thrill of passing my driver’s test and then being handed my first driver’s license at about that same age.  I recalled that heady shot of independence and the feeling of being oh-so-grown up. 

Then it was time to have our pictures taken.  This is the part I always hate.  I hate having my picture taken when I’m all dolled up, much less for my license. 
 






It always looks like it should be hanging on the wall of an FBI office in their “Most Wanted” section.  But this time, the gentleman who took my picture took four shots before he was happy with the results.  I just wanted to get it over with, so I was ready to go with the first one, but he kept saying, “You have to live with this picture for the next four years.  We can do better.”  Finally, the fourth time was the charm, and I had to admit that he was right.  A little smile, a brighter lipstick, at his suggestion, and Voilà! That was a surprise!  It may not be suitable for hanging among my family portraits, but it definitely won’t be hanging in the FBI’s Rogues Gallery any time soon. 


I was in and out in about 15 minutes, and I didn’t even have to dip into my bureaucracy provision emergency pack for so much as a sip of water.   All in all, the whole experience was a very pleasant surprise that all began with the girl with pink hair. 



16 comments:

  1. What a nice story! It cheered me up on this - yet another- gloomy day about a school shooting. Thank you! and Happy Birthday!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked my story. Sometimes the most delightful experiences can be had in the most unlikely of places.

      My late opera-singer brother was a proud Curtis alum. I do love Bruckner but HATE, HATE, HATE rap w/a passion. Love Stoky and Casablanca is also my favorite film.

      Thanks for the happy birthday wishes. Much appreciated.

      Thanks for stopping by and please come again.

      Cheers, M-T

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  2. Oh lucky you! In and out in so little time. I earned my drivers license at 16 years old, felt like a shaky diver for several months despite having scored a 100% of the road test. I remember getting behind the wheel and passing other drivers thinking how incredible it was that a socity lets nearly anyone drive, including inexperienced me! :)

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    1. I remember thinking the same thing, Debra. I didn't feel like a confident/qualified driver until I was in my late twenties/early thirties. And yet the few accidents in which I was involved were the fault of the other drivers. Definitely good for my insurance company.

      That's one of the wonderful things about our weekends in NYC. We arrive, leave the car and either hoof it or cab it.

      Cheers, M-T

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  3. Dear M-T,
    I don't know how I could have missed it at the time, but I just discovered your series of posts on The Clothes of Downtown Abbey at the Winterthur Museum and I was absolutely enchanted! It was wonderful! Probably my favorite of all your (wonderful) posts. Thank you so much for all the time and effort it obviously took you to put the series together. It really was a huge lift to my spirits. Susan

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    1. Gosh, Susan, I had almost forgotten about that series of posts. They were indeed a lot of work, but so rewarding to put together. My friend Linda took all of those great photos. She has a terrific eye.

      I am delighted that you discovered them and enjoyed them.

      Lovely to hear from you.

      Cheers, M-T

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  4. I was delighted this rainy morning to read of your experience at the Motor Vehicle building. Certainly it is true that an individual can make the day worth rising for. Failing that, it at least creates a smile in your heart and on your face. I love the times that happens ,and I pass it on all day long. I enjoyed your telling of this. It happens I got my first drivers license in NJ at the age of 17. Oh what a DAY that was!!! I felt invincible. And important. Not to mention happy!

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    1. You know, I almost didn't do this post thinking it probably wouldn't be of interest to anyone else, but BOY was I wrong. Not only did the Girl with Pink Hair brighten my day, but the days of many of my wonderful readers, as well.

      So glad I decided to share this lovely little experience. Here's to having many more of them in life!!

      Thanks for stopping by, dear Katie Isabella.

      Cheers, M-T

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  5. Wonderful post and made me feel so happy on this gloomy day here in Arkansas. I am so glad I discovered your blog as a I love it! Keep up the great work!

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    1. I'm so glad we found each other, Cindy. I get a great deal of inspiration from my readers and their comments. Thank you so much taking the time to reach out to me. Much appreciated.

      Cheers, M-T

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  6. Please export all those DMV employees to California!

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    1. If we can keep the girl w/the pink hair, it's a deal!

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  7. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    That indeed was quite a surprise to have an easy go at your driver's license renewal.
    Happy for you and you left with a lifted spirit in anticipation of your Birthday next day.
    I'm finally catching up on things... Birthday, special dinner with friends, choir rehearsal and some serious practice on my own. Cleaning the entire home and... guess overdid somehow as I have such a painful back. Be it cold or whatever, it really drags you down and yesterday I slept in till 11:00 AM - have not done that in ages.
    Hope to soon feel 'normal' again. We had a lovely brunch for a bride to be this morning and the weather was sunny and warm and the magnolia tree at our friends' mansion was in full bloom. Those are moments that lift your spirit.
    Had another friend over for tea in the afternoon. She is going to Houston for more liver cancer surgery... Very complicated 12-hour surgery. Hope we can repeat our tea times!
    Hugs and happy Sunday,
    Mariette

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    1. Dearest Mariette,

      With everything you do and your own health challenges I am always amazed and uplifted by how much time and energy you devote to others. You truly are an inspiration. With my auto-immune issues, which have recently flared up quite a bit lately, I can so empathize w/your comment "Hope to soon feel 'normal' again." Wouldn't that be lovely? And still we push on and find pleasure and beauty in small, every day things. That, too, lifts my spirits.

      Gros bisous ma chère amie,

      M-T

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  8. I had to renew my driver's license about 6 months ago & just dreaded it. In particular my photo on the license. I was convinced it would look like a mug shot.

    Usually I need to take at least 3 or 4 photos for anything before I am happy (maybe) with the results. It was indeed a painless experience at the Motor Vehicle Bureau in every respect. The courtly older gentlemen who took my photo adjusted the lighting, took his time & in one take took a nice photo. He said I think it looks really good & it was.

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    1. Isn't it wonderful to find such lovely people in places you least expect to find them -- the bureaucracy? So glad you were happy w/your photo, Rosie. I have to say that mine is not too bad and I can live w/it for another four years.

      As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Cheers, M-T

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