Rachel Heath

Intentional Living: learning to be fully present

surprised by joy at the DMV

So, since I just turned 21, I needed to obtain one of those mystical “horizontal licenses” that I keep hearing about (I don’t know about all ya’ll, but in CO you get a vertical license if you’re under 21). So I made a little trip down to my friendly not-so-much-in-my-neighborhood-but-really-more-like-way-out-of-my-way DMV. I’ll just say now that I arrived at 2:18 and didn’t leave till 5:30. Friends, for those of you that are math disinclined, as I am, that’s 3 hours and 12 minutes. What more can I say?

But Stephen helpfully pointed out that I don’t need to renew at the DMV again for 12 years, so if you space out 192 minutes of wasted life sitting in an uncomfortable chair surrounded by staring children and screaming babies and a loud russian man having a very heated conversation on his phone… anyway, if you space that out over 12 years, it’s really quite miniscule. But I just decided I shouldn’t whine about it.

The upshot is I had just visited my new favorite guy ever, the chiropractor, so my back felt great. I got to sit next to this older and very interesting guy named Al and we talked about all sorts of random subjects. I’m glad I gave him a chance- at first I was just frustrated because I was obviously reading and had both headphones in (how I love my iPOD nano!!), and he was just chatting away, and I was a tad creeped. But I decided (honestly, just because he was obviously not going to leave me alone to fume in peace) to talk to him, and managed to spend away a good 45 minutes laughing and joking with him. It was a good lesson- I need to not accept my first impression every time. I need to allow room for conversation and encounter. I don’t want to shut the world out. I don’t want to close myself off.

Another funny thing was a cute little mexican girl who was turned completely around in the chair in front of me, so she was facing me. She just sat and stared and it was really starting to bug me, so I made a face at her. I stuck my tongue out (yes, I am 21. yes, I am really making faces at a 2 year old), and lil’ latina giggled and giggled… and something very, very strange happened in me… i giggled back…

“What… what is this strange feeling in my chest?” :::black, shriveled heart beats once:::

“What is this emotion?” :::heart beats again, smile cracks across my face:::

“What is happening to me? NOO! My beautiful, beautiful fury… melting!! My anger… fading, fading! Must…stop… joy…. aaaagggghahahhahahahaha!!”

That little girl really changed my heart. We sat for a good 5 minutes making faces at each other and laughing quietly. I was annoyed that I was having fun, at the DMV, 2 hours and 58 minutes into the ordeal… I was supposed to be indignant!! But I just couldn’t help it, and she was having fun, too. Everyone else just kept scowling at her and she kept getting scolded by her obviously exhausted and overwhelmed mother. Lil’ Latina was a small spark of happiness in a very shitty afternoon, and I learned that life can happen anywhere, if I’ll only be open to it. This is getting really cheesy… 🙂

Anyway, I’m going to have a brand new horizontal license with a lovely picture of myself with fantastic hair (I actually did it… which is to say… washed it… and tried hard to not touch it) and a sarcastic, irritated smile mailed to me in a few weeks.

I am listening to Jason Mraz- who, don’t be fooled by his MTV hits, is a face-meltingly amazing vocalist and guitarist. I think I will go empty the dishwasher and then play the guitar for a while.

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