Today I had to visit the D.M.V. p.d.q. (Don’t know what p.d.q. means? Ask an old person. Back when I was a kid, the stores we now call 7/11’s were called p.d.q.’s).Since I hadn’t made an appointment I knew it could be a long wait (would that be p.d.s., for pretty darn slow?). Friends warned me that it could be as much as 2 hours.
At this most hated of places, I discovered one pleasant surprise after another. Right off the bat, the sign announcing how long you’ll have to wait did not say 2 hours, just 1 hour and 34 minutes. Good start, D.M.V.. Then the woman who gave me my number was nice as could be. That was the second pleasant surprise. Actually no, it is not a surprise when people are kind, people usually are kind . . . especially if you’ve been pleasant to them.
The last time I’d been in, they had about a quarter the number of chairs they needed if all the waiters wanted to be sitters (haha, that sounds like the restaurant workers wanted to be nannies). Today I walked into a room with tons of chairs, enough for everyone. Wasn’t that nice of them to have realized the need and filled it? The people at the D.M.V. are not heartless monsters.
Nice as those chairs looked, I really wanted to be outside. It was the first sunny day in over a week. I figured I’d sit outside and check back every few minutes to see how close they were to calling my number. As I walked outside I was wishing they’d have thought to rig up an outdoor speaker so that I didn’t need to fret about maybe missing my number. It’d be easy to do. Well I guess it must have been easy, because there was a speaker pointing out to the parking lot. If they keep acting like this their reputation for being awful is just not going to last!
There were lots of people enjoying the sun while waiting their turn. Although I’d planned to read, I found myself more interested in the conversations of the people all around me. It’s here that I witnessed how gratitude affects attitude. I’m feeling grateful for the shorter than anticipated wait, the friendly woman at the counter, the chairs, the sunshine and the outdoor speaker. But, about half the people there couldn’t shut up about how awful the D.M.V. is. Those people looked as if they were having an awful D.M.V. visit. We’re all experiencing the same thing and yet our responses are so varied.
A lot of this has to do with how you talk to yourselves with the voice in your head! I’m going around saying to myself, “Oh, goody.” That makes a big difference!
Sitting there looking out at the parking lot, I struck up a conversation with a couple of tough-guy looking dudes. They were both as nice as could be and I learned a whole ton of stuff I’d probably never have learned otherwise. They were cracking up at the questions I asked them; I figured might as well be bold. I think they got a kick out of explaining things, like the nuances of tattoo placement, to the old lady they thought I was (I’m sure I looked like an old lady to them, even if I still find it hard to believe).
My number was called and it had only been 1 hour and 4 minutes, that’s 30 minutes faster than promised. Way to go D.M.V.! And, the guy at the counter was cheer, cheer, cheery as can be. He erased the fine I was dreading having to pay and I walked out the door with a spring in my step just minutes later!
Smile. Be Happy.
P.S.: Especially smile when doing something you don’t want to do. Smiling will surely make things better! Telling yourself the situation is A-OK, usually makes it so! Developing your Internal Optimist Narrator takes practice. But it is SO worth it. You too could love the D.M.V.! Imagine if that were your truth!