Confessions in the Queue

The following is what happens when a girl is stuck trying to get a new license plate on the first business day after the New Year, and she's stuck with only her phone because she forgot a notebook, pad of paper, computer, or literally ANYTHING with which she could write down her thoughts. 

Time of entry into the Michigan Secretary of State office: 2:45 p.m.

So my writing today is going to be a little wonky, because I am typing this on my phone at my local Secretary of State office.

(For those of you who aren't from Michigan, the SOS office is the DMV.)

Because it's the first full day of operations after the New Year, this place is PACKED. My boss, who showed up at 1pm, finally got seen at 4pm. For me, I arrived at 2:30. They've gone through about 73 people since I got here, and there's still about another 80 in front of me.

One can only hope most of them left out of sheer frustration.

I am not frustrated. I honestly have nothing else going on today, and really the only thing I had to do at home was type this article and write thank-you notes.

"Dear Past Claire,

Thank you for bringing your thank-you notes to the Secretary Of State office. You saved yourself a lot of time. And it's a good thing you brought you phone with a good amount of battery. Consider yourself lucky.

From, Future Claire"

I truly feel sorry for those who had to bring children of any age to this place. It is not fun. There is no kid area anywhere. Through these childhood experiences we are convincing kids that this is a terrible, terrible place. (It's not THAT terrible, but ask me in a few hours if it is that terrible. I may have changed my answer.)

They have put up a screen with news posted on a loop. But the loop is only about 10-15 minutes long, so it gets annoying after a few dozen times through. Do we NEED to know for the EIGHTH time that Passengers was the third-highest grossing movie of the weekend?

That screen should just show ESPN. Can't the State of Michigan shell out that much money? No? 

Sometimes there can be an announcement of six straight no-show numbers, and sometimes there isn't an announcement for ten minutes.

Just saw it again: Passengers was #3 at the box office this weekend.

Some people in these lines don't HAVE to be here, I think. There are a lot of services that can be done online.

Unfortunately, my service is not one of them.

At least these chairs are semi comfortable.

Another good thing about today is that it's really gross outside so I have no desire to be outside. When I got back from Christmas at my parents' house I was shocked at the lack of snow. I was hoping to get to ski this winter, but we would need some snow first.

Skiing was always something I wanted to learn in Colorado, and I bought or received every piece of equipment I would need as well as all the cold weather apparel necessary to be out in freezing cold for a few hours and still be able to have fun.

Now I just don't want all that equipment to go to waste! I have definitely used the cold weather apparel in my shoveling, and I am so glad for it. But those skis haven't been touched in a while.

Let's see... I am G97, and we are on G35. Keep it moving, people.

(To be fair, when I got here it was F60. We're making steps.)

The worst things that could happen would be 1) I forgot something that I needed to have, or 2) they close right at 5 and they refuse to see any more people. I can't imagine them doing that. Heck, even Walt Disney World makes sure that everyone in a queue at closing time gets to go on that attraction, no matter what.

Of course, they (or so I've heard) raise the wait time counters to high wait times so that it discourages people from getting in line at the end of the day, so they attempt to make sure there's not many people in the line ANYWAY.

Just got into the 40s. And did you know Passengers was the third highest grossing movie last weekend?

I almost think that those businesses that advertise at the Secretary Of State would lose business instead of gaining it. For example, if I would advertise my dental business, everyone here would see it. But if a person here today needed a dentist and they remembered my ad at the Secretary Of State, they would think, "Ugh! What a horrible day at the Secretary of State office!" Instead of wanting to use my business, they would avoid it to make sure they didn't have to be reminded of that crappy day!

Some guy's phone just rang with the Ohio State University fight song. That guy DESERVES to be waiting.

Some people next to me just sat down and remarked how they are H33 and H50. They have a wonderful couple of hours in store for them. I am envious.

The Michigan Department of Transportation just put their Twitter handle on the screen. Not sure if that is a good idea at this point. I should take a look...

There was just an announcement that they are locking the doors at 5, which is in 15 minutes. That means we can stay! Now I just have to pray that I have everything I need.

Now the workers are at that stage where they want to see all of us as quickly as possible. That means if you don't show up when your number is called, there is no second call. They just move on. You can tell that people get a bit nervous right before their number is called because they don't want the worker to move past them if they were too slow. Maybe when my number is called I should play the music from The Price is Right" and have everyone around me cheer to verify that yes, G97 is actually here.

Passengers! #3! Again!

It is fun watching strangers interact in the chairs. We all have to suffer, so we need to treat each other well. We gripe and complain, yes, but we also give up our chairs for older people, direct someone to where they should be standing so they are seen, and give a newbie our number when we can't wait long enough to be seen. (I haven't seen that today, but I have seen it in the past.)

I'm feeling kind of warm in my coat, but at this point, taking it off would be a sign of weakness.

2 hours in and 100 numbers have passed. Getting close!

I am going to relish the Culver's I am going to devour tonight. With gusto. Let me tell you.

Now the screen is showing off the best sights of London. SHOOT! I was going to talk to my boss about my future trip. We were stuck here for an hour together and I didn't even think to bring it up in my small talk. Ugh.

I think the Michigan Secretary of State (Ruth Johnson) should have to wait in every single Secretary of State office during her tenure.

This place really doesn't look like it's emptying out. That means there are a bunch of people behind me. I feel so sorry for them.

The screen just advertised working at the Secretary of State! You get...$11 per hour?! That's it? I would think for the daily headache of working at the SOS you would get paid more.

I'm glad this wait has allowed me to continue my Writing Every Day New Year's Resolution.  My thumbs are going to be sore tomorrow!

I wonder if I'd come right after my meeting this morning if the wait would have been shorter. Maybe...?

Please let me have everything I need...

I just ran out to my car at 4:55 to grab some stuff. I don't want the person to say I need something from my car but not let me back in when I go to get it.  I am not taking any chances.

We're in the 70s!

When I came back through the entrance I saw the "take a number" machine read H78. We are now on G73.

I am in a new seat. I can hear all the workers very clearly from this seat. I am NOT going to miss my call.

The security lady is locking the door. She looks tough. I'm not going to cross her!

Okay, I need to write one more thank-you note and then I'm in the home stretch. May I get out of this place with exactly that for which I came!

Time of exit from the Michigan Secretary of State office: 5:15 p.m. 

I did get what I needed, by the way. The lady who helped me was very nice, though she did remark that she was very tired - her job is very hard indeed. 

All is well. May I not step foot in that place for many, many years.

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 


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