My driver’s license is about to expire in a few days on my birthday and I had made an appointment online to go in today. I get to the Hawthorne DMV at 9:20am for my 9:00am appointment. I see a very long line extending past the front grocery store doors out onto the sidewalk. I see an appointment line that no one is in and nonchalantly walk over to inquire. The lone woman servicing both lines is now attentive to me and I feel the glare of lots and lots of eyes from the no appointment line. She asks my name and hands me a queue ticket and says to take a seat and wait for my number to be called. I walk over and before I could find a seat my number was called. I go pay and update my address at window 17 with the DMV worker who at first growled at me because I was probably her 100th customer that morning but later melted and chatted up a storm after I asked how her day was going. Government workers have feelings too you know. My motto is: Kill them with kindness. It always works. Well, most of the time. I go pose for my new license photo and made sure to smile since my last one, which I had to carry around for 8 years, looked like a horrifying mug shot.
Holly and I decide to get Thai food from our favorite local joint, Krua Thai in NoHo. Their Krua Thai pad thai and fried leek cakes are my staple. Holly needs to exchange a DS game her Dad bought her for Christmas only he bought it from Wal-Mart. So, we have to venture to the sketchiest part of town where the nearest Wal-Mart is to be found. Deep, deep Van Nuys I believe. We park and we are instantaneously harassed by a group of men hanging out in the parking lot. We feverishly walk fast almost run into the store. When we get inside, waiting in the customer service line, I notice one of the workers cock a wooden-handled BB gun rifle. I assumed it was a BB gun because for goodness sake this isn’t Minnesota, where there is a sign at Costco that says guns have to remain outside the store, which means probably left inside your car. WTF. Why would you need to bring your gun to Costco in the first place?! But back to the BB gun in Wal-mart, after cocking the rifle I see the worker walk over and hand it over to a customer. Again, WTF. Did I just see what I saw? NO. This must be a dream. I’m dreaming it. Nope. I’m fully awake and I’m not in Kansas anymore. Strangest visit to Wal-mart ever and I am fully aware of the class disparity walking around this particular store and I’m not sure I am comfortable about it.