Congratulations to me, I’m now officially a resident of the State of Georgia! To commemorate this auspicious occasion, I went to the DDS (Department of Driver Services) to get my drivers license switched from NJ to GA.
The DDS office I visited is on the edge of the abyss, teetering between civilization and “I-married-my-first-cousin” territory. When I got there, the parking lot was empty. Really, empty, as in no one was there at all empty. I thought the joint was closed, but the door was open and in I went.
There were 6 windows/stations, 4 of the State of Georgia’s finest employees behind the counter yakking it up. One very nice (seriously, VERY nice) (they were all super nice) (it’s like that everywhere down here) lady asked “how can we help you” and I explained I needed to switch an out of state license to a Georgia license. “Well Sir, welcome to Georgia, window 1, please”
Window1 serves two purposes in life; it contains the clipboards with the applications and it has the ticket # machine. I explained that I didn’t need the application because I had filled it out on line to “Save A Step” as broadcast on the DDS website. “Well, Sir, good for you, take a clipboard for your application and I’ll give you a number”.
Number? I was the only one there! Number? Really?
But now we had an issue … The number machine wouldn’t print. This caused quite a stir among the staff, with all four gathered around the machine. I was asked to have a seat while this catastrophe was dealt with. After several minutes and multiple attempts to print a number, the source of the angst was uncovered … Out of paper. Phew, thank goodness we averted that tragedy! The nice lady gave me my number (B145) and asked me to take a seat.
Seat? I’m still the only one there …
After another few minutes an automated voice announcement stated “B143, Window 4”. There was no B143, I’m still the only one there. The staff looked around expectantly at me, I said “B145” and held up my ticket. The auto voice came on again, “B144, Window 4”
Seriously? I was starting to look for the Candid Camera people as I held up my ticket and said “B145”. The omnipotent auto voice came back on and said “B145, Window 4” … For a brief moment I considered not acknowledging the DDS auto voice god just for the chuckles but quickly realized that these folks could be packing firearms, so up to Window 4 I went.
I gave a very nice young man (seriously, very nice) my clipboard, which he set aside (Why was I given that clipboard?). I gave him my supporting documents to prove I was who I said I was, and he gave me a required “vision test” … (Stevie Wonder could pass that vision test) … then took my picture which resulted in an ominous looking likeness of me posing as a serial killer. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself …
I departed with my newly minted DDS license in hand and another hearty “Welcome to Georgia” still ringing in my ears. I’m not sure why, but as soon as I got in the car I immediately felt like pulling into the fast lane and doing 22 mph …
Oh, I haven’t told you? About Georgia drivers?
You have Massachusetts drivers, notorious for their horrible discourteous driving habits. You have Philly drivers, obnoxious and aggressive and never achieving anything by their aggression ( just like the Eagles) (that’s another story altogether). You even have Memphis drivers, singularly the worst drivers I have ever encountered. Yes, I know how fast and aggressive and seemingly insane NJ/NY drivers appear to be, but in general, they have control of their vehicle and despite the fact that they are talking on the phone, eating breakfast or yelling at other drivers (and possibly all three at one time), they have the main goal of getting the car moving to the destination as fast as possible. Not so, these Georgians.
Georgia people don’t ever appear to be in a rush for anything. A car will pull out onto the highway in front of you, immediately slow down to a snails pace, then continue to drive at many (many, many) miles per hour below the speed limit. BTW, the State of Georgia calls anything with pavement and lines painted on it a highway so you can easily get stuck behind a car doing minus-miles-per-hour (’cause it sure feel like you’re going backwards) and not be able to pass. Flashing high-beams, honking horns, weaving to see around the front car … none of that is working down here in Moderate Georgia.
Did I tell you the Georgia State motto? “Wisdom. Justice. Moderation.” I believe that they don’t need Wisdom or Justice … Moderation, that’s the calling card they need here. Don’t do anything too fast, let’s not be too hasty there now, can’t be rushing around here in Georgia. Just take your time and get in line behind some slow moving person … don’t necessarily have to be in a car to get stuck, either; store checkout lines, post office, car wash, anything that has a line will move s-l-o-w-l-y. It’s been my hardest adjustment so far. I compensate by leaving 2 hours early for anything with an appointment time.
And that’s why the traffic in the greater Atlanta area is so horrible! Nobody can get on the good foot and step on the gas … get off the cell phones, stop shoving food in your mouth, wake up and drive the car! Nice people, these Georgians, but slow as molasses …
Another full-disclosure moment, here … I had written a much longer, considerably-less-than-complimentary section about Georgia, but Sheila reminded me that a fair percentage of residents in Georgia maintain weapons and also know how to skin a carcass. Sheila has been here a long time, and although not a Georgia native she is accepted (we were at a Christmas party on Saturday and I heard her use the phrase “fixin’ to” several times … as in “I hear you’re fixin’ to move up yonder” … now that’s posting some serious Southern credentials right there!) as if she was raised here and not in California. I guess she does look Southern (with some West Coast mixed in) … here we are in semi-fancy wear for the party