So, I know going to the DMV is not fun for anyone. Or at least, not anyone I’ve ever met. It’s just one of those things that grown ups have to deal with in life – you gotta pay taxes, and you gotta register your vehicle, get a driver’s license, mundane shit like that.
Places like the DMV are not good places for me – my anxiety goes into overdrive, my pain levels seem to skyrocket just from SEEING the so-called “seating”. I spend the entire time swaying back and forth or jiggling my leg or some other manifestation of anxiety and discomfort. Today, that was the least of my problems.
Because of my “disabilities” (and my dad thinking I had to make my husband feel needed), estranged hubby and I had sort of split up the “grown up” jobs over the years. So for the last 20 some years of my life, he has dealt with everything car related.
Now, had you told me when I was 25 that I would EVER make this kind of deal with a man, I would have laughed in your face and probably forced you to watch me change my own brake pads, just to prove how NOT dependent on a man I was and would forever remain. Or so I thought. Life and age and a baby and stupid talks from my father changed all of that.
How To Keep A Man, According to My Dad
Let’s start with the stupid talk from my dad – the very person that taught me how to change my car’s oil, filters, brake pads, etc. My dad was the person that taught me construction, and how to deal with plumbing issues and faulty wiring, too. He’s the person that took me hunting and to the gun range.
My dad taught me all sorts of things he thought dad’s should only have to teach sons…but I kind of insisted. The day I moved out of the house into my first apartment, he gave me a toolbox full of REAL tools (not “lady” tools), and a hand gun. I had worn him down…my dad had become very much complicit in my being an independent woman of the 90’s.
I no longer have the gun, but the tools have been with me my entire adult life. The skills he taught me, as well. So, imagine my surprise when on my wedding day, my dad gave me “the talk”.
Nope…not the sex talk, thank GAWD. The “a man needs to feel needed” talk.
When Dad Goes Bonkers
A couple of years prior to this, my dad had started advising me that NO man was going to want me if he knew that I took care of my own car. At the time, I was learning to fly a plane, and my dad and I would go to the airport together. I was taking flying lessons, he had gotten his license about a year prior – flying was “our thing”.
Flying together was one of many things I enjoyed doing with my dad. I liked our “talks”, too, even though he was so old fashioned he seemed bonkers at times. I wonder, now, how conflicted he must have felt. He wanted me to be able to take care of myself, but thought I should HIDE the fact that I could…so I could get a man.
Anyway – during one of the drives to the airport, he started explaining to me why I was over 25 and still unmarried…it was because I didn’t act like I needed a man. I was too aggressive, too independent, and I intimidated them. I needed to seem more needy.
I laughed it off and told him he was silly. Then, on my wedding day, he took me aside to explain to me that my husband WOULD eventually leave me if I couldn’t figure out a way to make him feel needed. When I told my husband what my dad said, he laughed because one of the things he loved about me was my independence. As it turns out, not feeling needed was NOT what made him leave me, after all.
Car Maintenance vs. Marriage Maintenance
OK – back to the car thing. I had my own car, took care of it just like my dad had taught me. Then, pregnancy started hitting my body, and I started to be less able to get on the ground and deal with my own car maintenance. As it turns out, most healthy marriages have a division of labor anyway, or so I’m told. So it became hubby’s job to take care of the cars.
His ONE thing – the one thing I wouldn’t have to think about AT ALL. It took me a few years, but I did finally just stop thinking about it. He would take care of it – I had a “thousand” other things to worry about.
Fast forward 20 or more years, when he moves out and has NOT taken care of it, and I feel exactly as my 25 year old self KNEW I would feel if I ever let a man take care of stuff like that FOR me. I feel stupid. I feel like an idiot – how could I just IGNORE the basic, ridiculous, “no big deal” stuff like car maintenance, and registering a vehicle in a new state?
How Many Ways Can I Feel Stupid???
How could I let nearly a year pass without dealing with registering my van in a new state? Well…it wasn’t my “job”. It wasn’t one of the things I was supposed to have to deal with, so I just didn’t think about it. I honestly didn’t even realize it still needed to be done.
The week before he moved out, estranged hubby informed me that he had never dealt with the registration. “Sorry,” he said. “My bad,” he said. I said I’d take care of it.
So this morning, I finally forced myself to go to the DMV, which is a bit like walking into Hell for the most sane and healthy of us. For me, the DMV ranks up there with hospitals and doctor’s offices for level of anxiety producing everything – too much input, weird lights, gross germs and things, and oh, my gawd, the people. I get the nice spice of severe anxiety when dealing with people and crowds and…yeah, just all of it. Sends my anxiety levels SOARING.
So it took me a bit to get myself to do it. But I did – I finally walked in there this morning, paperwork in hand. Then, I sat. For two hours. Only to find out that I actually CAN’T do it, because I am a second class citizen, a “wife”…a “co-borrower” and “co-owner”, and the title we got transferred last year when he was supposed to take care of all of this has been thrown out, and now I need to get a new one.
Crying In Front of a WHOLE LOTTA Strangers
There’s more, but that’s not actually my real point. I mean, I’m feeling pretty pissed and kind of petty and this is just one of so MANY things I’m dealing with that I resent having to deal with right now. All of which I am unfairly blaming on my “used to be life partner”, because he’s not here and some of it actually IS his fault.
Mostly, though, I’m just blaming him because I’m pissed and have already blamed myself plenty, and NOT blaming someone just leaves the pissed feelings hanging out there, with no where to GO.
My biggest problem, by far, is actual, real pain. It’s not the emotions…it is that this would NOT be a big deal if I wasn’t in so much pain and having such trouble physically. Add to that my anxiety “issues”, and the overall emotional crap heap that is my life at the moment, and I have a recipe for some really bad days.
In fact, none of it would be THAT big of a deal if my body would just do what I tell it to.
Sure, there would be emotional fall out from splitting up after 22 years of marriage – I get that. That is the normal/common stuff. My problem is that my body doesn’t work and my anxiety is in FULL bloom.
So long story short…I had a friggin’ emotional breakdown at the DMV this morning.
A Different Kind of “Walk of Shame”
Yep. Ugly crying and the whole works. First, I’d been sitting on a bench that was too short for me and didn’t have a back support for almost 2 hours, so my lower back and wonky hip and wonky knee and friggin’ “plantar fasciitis” were all having a big fucking pain party. So when they FINALLY called my number, I couldn’t stand up.
Even more awesome, I was seated at the front of the room. When I finally got myself up, my hip gave out, and I kind of collapsed, and cried out in pain (which I LOVE to do, ask anyone!). I caught myself, but it was enough that everyone in the whole room was now watching me – because what the fuck else did they have to do while they were waiting?
So, I limped my way across the front of the entire waiting area, because of course my “window” was on the other side of the room. Got there, got all of my paperwork out because I was PREPARED. Turns out, nope, nada, not gonna happen. HE has to sign this and HE has to do that and by the way, the title isn’t valid, gotta get that again and then HE has to do something else with that, too.
Except, HE lives an hour and a half away now.
I started to cry, tried to stop, somehow that made it worse, and through it all was trying to explain to the lady behind the counter WHY this “not that big of a deal” thing was SUCH a big deal. HE left, I didn’t have what I needed, what was I to do? She went away to ask that question, and came back 5 minutes later to tell me, essentially…too bad.
I Hate Crying…I Mean, I REALLY Hate Crying
So…I walked BACK across the room, this time crying, red faced, and still limping badly. I cried all the way home. I sat in my NOT registered van and cried for a bit before I came inside. I couldn’t stop crying – so I panic messaged a friend, who told me about his gross egg salad he had for lunch, which miraculously cured me.
Only now, I don’t even want to deal. I wish I drank, or did drugs, or had SOME way to just escape my life for the moment. In my head, I know – it’s all just life, just stuff that people have to deal with. It’s not even THAT bad!!!
I have multiple friends who are going through worse stuff than this, right now. I see the world, and the state in which we find ourselves. I think about the immigrant children separated from their parents and the parents not even KNOWING where their kids are. There is war, and disease, and people who’s loved ones are dying.
There is a LOT out there that is FAR worse than what I’m dealing with today. For some reason, thinking of all of these things is not helping me at all. It’s not making what I have to deal with seem “less”, even though it is practically nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Looking on the Dark Side
I can also think of 20 different platitudes to try and make myself feel better. “This too shall pass”, “Everything happens for a reason”, “Look on the bright side”…and, well…approximately 17 more along those lines.
Today, though, for me…this is just too much. I reached my breaking point at the fucking DMV, of all places, and now, I sit here, writing about it, like somehow that is going to make it better.
Or maybe someone out there is going to read it and…what, get a chuckle out of it? Send me a new car? Oprah…are you listening???
Or maybe someone will just see that other people have bad days for no “good” reason, too, and somehow that can make it more manageable. I don’t know. I’m tired. I think I’ll go pet the cat, and maybe order pizza or something. Cats and pizza make everything better.