Everything is relative, at least that is what Einstein said. I don’t know the context in which he said that and based on my low science IQ, I probably would not understand it very well anyway. Yet, I do understand the quote as it stands. I want to talk about 2 ½ hours. This would be short if we were talking about the length of a work day, the time it takes to write a full length novel, or how long Angelina Jolie acquires children. However 2 ½ hours to wait in line is a long time regardless of what you are waiting for.
As a public school teacher, I am a city government worker. My mother and two of my aunts worked for the federal government. My mother hated it and took it personally when people made comments such as all government workers are lazy and incompetent. I completely understand where she is coming from. I feel the same when people make negative comments about teachers, lumping us all together. On top of that, I am one of the few people who still defends snail mail. I think it is reliable (particularly when it comes to Netflix – btw, I LOVE NETFLIX – more on that another time) and reasonable. So, I have an appreciation or at least an open mind when it comes to government workers and their productivity.
I was in Lodi, New Jersey recently with my nearly 5 year old son. What were we doing there, you may be wondering? Well, I had to renew my driver’s license, which did not seem like a big deal to me. I got together proof of identity, filled out the paperwork, and made sure I had a form of payment. After doing the food shopping, we headed to the DMV around 11:00. After circling the parking lot and finally finding a spot ¼ mile away, we walked to the front of the line, where there were three cordoned off areas to stand. Now, there were no signs to indicate what each line represented, so everyone who walked up had to ask the people in back of the line to make sure they were in the right place. We found our way to the back of the longest line. The line was outside of the building.
We eventually got into the building (cel-e-brate, good times, whoo hoo) where we waited in another line to give our information to the DMV worker. We then were given a number (not lucky 85) and told to find a seat (if we could – in this case it is so convenient to have a child) and wait for our number to be called. We had been waiting 45 minutes by this time, which was about the time I was anticipating the whole process taking. This made it noon time – big mistake!!!. The wait to have my number called was stalled. While there were 14 stations to handle customer matters, only 1 or 2 were being manned. Over approximately 45 minutes, there were, at best, a handful of people who were being assisted. Are you kidding me? I understand everyone deserves a lunch break, but do they all need to take it at the same time? Let them text each other if they want to catch up on conversation. Who planned this work cycle? The Politburo?
After finally getting my license, my son (who behaved extremely well despite woeful planning on my part which, by the way, makes me management material at the DMV) repeatedly asked why do we have to keep waiting in lines? I think it was a brilliant question to which I had no answer. So long, 2 ½ hours.