I recently made a visit to a Secretary of State facility here in Illinois. I was forced to go in and request a license plate renewal sticker after they never sent it to me in the mail. With every email I sent, I was greeted with an automated reply. An automated reply that told me to either call (they never answered the phone despite 3 calls), wait longer (could take up to 15+ days despite living in Illinois), or go into the facility (which is an absolute mad house). I would have continued to wait until it arrived in the mail until the day I died except for the fact that I keep getting parking tickets (plate expired). It’s tickets galore. Yet, I paid for it in February and just never received it in the mail. I imagine that every time I park and walk away from my car, a man in an illuminated yellow and orange vest hops out of a tree and puts a ticket on my car. He then pulls out some lipstick, smears it all over his lips, and hops onto the back bumper of a bus driving by. The last ticket I received was frozen to my windshield for a day because of the bipolar weather Chicago is having. I drove around an entire day with a orange envelope on my windshield. I sent a third email requesting a human response, but received yet another automated reply. “I’m going in” I thought to myself. Flash forward to me entering the mad house. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be easy. It never is.
There were 3 people sitting in uncomfortable-looking chairs causing a commotion (old man hitting on a woman), 1 man at the counter under a sign labeled ‘cashier 1’ and 3 clerks behind the counter. 2 of the clerks were wandering around just touching things as if they were having a game of tag with inanimate objects. Based on previous knowledge of how life works, I got in line. The clerks kept looking at me, but not saying anything. I eavesdropped on the conversation between the man at the counter and the clerk. “SIR, you’re gonna have to have them come down here and sign this affidavit” said the clerk. “I DON’T KNOW ANYONE!” screamed the man. He didn’t know anyone. It was a damn shame. He then threw his arms up in the air and stormed out. Next in line, I inched forward when one of the people (old man) in the chairs started talking. “You’re so beautiful. You mind if I sit back down next to you for the rest of the day?” said the old man to the woman. She politely declined. He then turned towards the clerks and said, “Quit watching the clock! Help these people! LAZY!” A clerk that I didn’t even know was behind the counter stood up and shouted, “Sir you have a good day!” The man threw his arms up in the air and walked out. Also, let it be known that the way they say the word ‘sir’ comes off like they’re saying ‘asshole.’ It’s so pronounced and stressed that every time they said SIR I heard ASSHOLE. I was next in line. In fact, I was the only person in line. “Have you been helped yet SIR?” said the clerk. As I opened my mouth (not saying anything yet), she cut me off with, “we don’t do that.” I was already infuriated at this whole pain in the ass process so I fired back with, “can I finish my sentence?” She let out an exhale that sounded like someone’s last breath. I continued with, “I need to pick up a sticker…”, but before I could finish the clerk waved her arms around like an air traffic controller and said, “you need to go down there.” She pointed towards the other side of the room where no one was. You would have thought that the area was under quarantine. I looked down there and saw a sign that said ‘city sticker renewal.’
I walked over. 30 seconds later the same clerk walked down and asked me, “what do you need?” I explained the situation and was informed that I had to sign a form. “Oh you need to sign a form for that” she said. However, she didn’t follow that up with actually going to get the form. Instead she just looked at me waiting for a response. I said, “OK” which prompted her to actually go get the form. I filled it out as fast as I could and handed it back to her. She read it over and said, “Oh no. SIR! You checked the wrong box. She then stared at me to illicit a response. I didn’t give her one. Instead, I stared right back into her cold eyes and said, “then fix it.” Based on her facial expression, she couldn’t believe it. Perhaps the fact that I was so calm and not losing my mind like other people who come through shouting and arguing. Either way, enough was enough. “WELLLLLLL….SIR, I just wanted you to know that you filled out the”…but I cut her off before she could finish with, “You wanted to point out that I did it wrong. That’s great.” She muttered something and went over to the printer to print out the sticker. Side note, How does a printer print stickers? I have no idea, but holy shit that’s cool. She then made me initial next to the box that I filled out wrong, handed me the sticker, and said, “SIR, you have a good day.” I turned, threw my arms up in the air and walked out.