A few weeks ago I got another car and headed down to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. I was getting a twofer as I needed my driver’s license renewed along with the plates. I haven’t been to the Bureau in Elyria in years as I normally go to Wellington.
I walked in and was surprised by the sheer mass of people. Every seat was taken and it was chaos. I grabbed a number and found a place to stand in the back. As soon as I took my spot a woman yelled, THIRTY NINE! I looked at my ticket, it was thirty-three. I was in trouble. I didn’t have a lot of time as I was taking my mother to breakfast so I decided to do whatever I had to do to get it done.
A couple minutes later the woman yelled, FORTY FOUR, FORTY FOUR, FORTY FIVE! I walked up and said I was forty four and smiled. She looked flustered and I asked if she was okay. She said that she was having a tough day and that she felt overwhelmed and confused. I told her I had been confused in the eighties which explained my Boy George period. This made her laugh and then she got down to business. She asked me if I was an organ donor and I told her No, but I’d once given a piano to the Salvation Army.
I then took the eye test and had my picture taken. I was all done but she said I had one more test yet. I looked at her sideways and she said that I had to sing one verse of Boy George’s Karma Chameleon. I immediately launched into the song and did a few dance steps. I turned around to sit down and I saw the biggest man I had ever seen. He was easily as wide as he was tall with a beard and biker gear on. His black leather vest probably fit him fifty pounds ago but now looked like a costume.
There was empty space around him so I sat in one of the empty chairs and he didn’t seem to notice me. The first thing I noticed about him was the faint hint of alcohol, marijuana and Axe Body Spray. They called his number and he got up. I had space around me so I took the time to look around. If you ever want to see America come to the BMV. There was every shape, size and type imaginable. I picked out at least four different languages. Many of these I surmised where what Marx called the lumpenproletariat. Time seemed to be standing still and I looked at the building. There were large stains in the carpeting and it hadn’t been painted in a long time.
Finally the biker guy came back and sat down. I love talking to strangers so I asked him if he knew anything about Harleys. He gave me a look of disgust and said he had three. I told him I was turning fifty next year and thinking of buying one. I couldn’t decide between a Fat Boy and a Road King. I asked him if he could compare and contrast them for me. He gave me an odd look and came alive. He started to tell me about the rides, the compression, accessories, the life. He told me about a ride he took with his wife to Alaska and coming back through Canada. I told him about my going to Canada recently gambling and how my mom told me to find the nearest embassy. He laughed and we were getting along fine.
My name was called and I got my license. I sat down and he was called up and got his. He sat down and looked at his picture and said, “Damn, this looks worse than my prison picture!” I pulled out mine and said, “Mine too!” He looked at me, laughed, and asked if I’d ever been in the joint. I said, “No, but once I was harshly criticized”
He went back to his biker stories and told me after I got my bike I should come to his club and join, he’d sponsor me. He said that sometimes his club rides with a bunch of lawyers and I could interpret. I told him I’d love to and we exchanged email addresses. When he saw my name was Bott he said, “Like Bertie Bott’s Beans in Harry Potter?” I told him yes and then he told me he had a problem with the book. Albus Dumbledore says that he no longer ate the beans because he ate a vomit flavored bean as a child. Then he said that in one of the books it says that Bott’s Beans weren’t sold until 1935. How could it be? He was sincere in his curiosity and I explained that since Dumbledore’s life span was longer he may have considered his youth differently. He may have considered his first thirty years childhood. Or, J. K. Rowlings made a mistake. He took great umbrage at that and said I was right the first time. It all made since now. He thanked me.
My plates were finished so I shook his hand and left. I love talking to people and I love it when I find their passion. I doubt if I’ll ever get a Harley, but if I do I’m going to give him a holler.