I stole a nervous glance at the woman now behind me in the queue. She was rather tall, with dark, well-coiffed, medium-length hair. Her smooth skin was of a fair complexion. She was wearing a white tank and a short jacket with a matching mini-skirt that showed off her long legs. She looked like she must exercise - but just enough to keep in shape without getting all muscly or anything. Or losing her considerably shapely figure. A lot of the other men in line behind us seemed to be staring at her. Pigs.
She also had brilliant green eyes that seemed to light up the whole room when she smiled. Which she did. At me.
I turned back to the sweatshirt-wearing woman in front of me. She was still playing peek-a-boo with the little girl.
"Anyway," I started again. "What were we talking about? Vampires? Oh! Wait. 2012! So, do you really think the world is gonna end in 2012? I guess that's what a lot of people are saying. My friend told me that his pastor said it was right in line with some stuff in the Bible, too. I don't really understand all that prophecy stuff, myself, but I thought I might go to church with him tomorrow, just to hear what they have to say."
Despite her best efforts at playing hard-to-get, she couldn't ignore me any longer. She turned back to me.
"No," she said. "I do not, even for a minute, think that the world is going to end in the year 2012. If there were something disastrously wrong with the planet, or the sun were about to explode, or if we were about to be hit by an asteroid or something, I think NASA or JPL, or the ESA or some scientists, somewhere would know about it before your local pastor."
"Yeah," I countered, "but what if the Mayans are right and there's a secret planet that's dark, so the telescopes can't see it, and that's what's going to hit us. Or maybe that's when the aliens promised the Mayans they'd return, and when they get back, they're gonna be pissed that we haven't mended our ways, or something, so they're gonna wipe us out and take our planet."
Oh no! I was arguing with her! That's not at all what I wanted. I'd have to find some common ground again!
"Do you have any idea," she asked, "how crazy that sounds?"
I was stunned. She continued, "If there's a dark planet out there that telescopes can't see, just how do you suppose the Mayans would have known about it? And besides, there are no Mayan prophecies about dark planets. You're getting your doomsday scenarios mixed up. Then again, it seems everyone else in the world is, so why not?" She threw her hands up in frustration.
I noticed that a couple of the Registrar workers were putting up "Out to Lunch" signs at their stations. That should slow things down a bit. I felt a wave of relief. I had little more precious, precious time. Women are fascinated by men who can carry on an intellectual debate. Maybe I could spin this in my favor, after all ...
"OK, but what about the aliens?" I asked.
"What about them?"
"I mean, what if that's why the Mayans ended their calendar in 2012. Because of aliens."
The woman behind me must have been listening, because the interjected at that point. She sounded a bit ... Irish? Or French. I wasn't sure. Who can tell the difference between all these crazy foreign accents, anyway?
"I have heard that calendar ends because it is begins of new age of peace." Greek, maybe?
We both turned towards the woman who had so rudely interrupted us.
My dream-girl responded before I could say anything. "What the hell does that even mean? New Age of Peace. Pfsh! Suddenly people are going to stop fighting over wealth and power, and everyone's going to start sharing, and then some mystical race of space aliens is going to come on down and Buy the World a Friggin' Coke?"
The dark-haired woman tilted her head to one side, her eyes narrowing. "I don't know. Is just something I heard on the tele-vision." The way she said television, it sounded like two words. Definitely French. Or maybe Russian.
"Besides," the first woman continued, "the Mayans "ended" their calendar in the same way the calendar on the wall over there "ends" on December 31st."
She was actually using finger-quotes now. How quirky and adorable! I think I really like that kind of thing in a woman.
"It doesn't mean the world's going to end," she went on. "It means you start a new calendar. A new year. Or, in the case of the Mayans, a new calendrical cycle. Or do you panic every year when you get to the last page of your calendar?"
I had to step in and fix this, and fast: "OK. You're probably right. I was just theorizing, you know ... because of your book."
The man with the two girls was called up to one of the two stations that remained open at the counter.
"Have I mentioned how this isn't my book?"
"NEXT!" Oh no! I was too late. Unless the guy with the kids finished in a hurry, my moment was slipping away. The woman in front of me turned on her heel and went up to the counter.
The woman behind me said, "I do not know what she is angry over. I think new age of peace be nice for good change."
"Uh-huh," I said, dismissively.
She continued. "Do you no think so? Or you be thinking the aliens coming?" She gave me another one of those smiles.
"I dunno," I replied to her. "We were just talking, is all." I turned back towards the counter again, straining to hear what the woman in the sweatshirt was saying to the Deputy on duty. She was being very quiet, but I thought I made out the name ... Dessoshin? Fezozchin? What the hell kind of name was that?
Thankfully, the Registrar repeated it. "Mary Sue Defozchin?" He'd obviously had had a tough time hearing her, as well. So her name was Mary. I decided that was my favorite name. I still couldn't quite get a handle on that last name, though ... Dechoshkin?
Mary handed the guy some paperwork. It looked like a simple tag renewal, so it probably wouldn't take long. Unfortunately, the guy with the kids was renewing his license, so he would take some time. And I was there to renew mine, as well.
Jesus help me, I thought. That woman there has your mom's name, and I think maybe she's the right one for me. Please help me out here, OK, Lord?
"You seem a smart man, and I like to hear you opinion." That had to be some kind of Eastern European accent. Maybe she was Polish or Lithuanian or something. "I buy coffees, you talk to me about this? I have not many friends in America, as I am just moving here for school."
The woman behind me just would not leave me alone! Still, I didn't want to appear rude.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm really busy this afternoon. Good luck making friends, though." I looked her up and down. No ... she wouldn't have too much trouble making friends. Any other day, I would have accepted her offer. But not today. Today I had a mission. A mission named Mary Sue Defaozzchinin. Or something. It was destiny. I could feel it.
I turned back towards the counter. The man with the two girls was standing in front of me. It was the man behind the counter addressing me, though.
"Would you mind watching that man's daughters for a moment, so we can take his license picture?"
"Um ... sure?" I didn't know what else to say. Besides, Mary was bound to be impressed. Women like men who are good with kids.
The man told his girls to stand there with me, and that he'd be back in a moment. He walked down to the other end of the counter where the photo station was set up.
The man behind the counter then motioned to the woman behind me.
"Ma'am, you can come on up here. We'll help the gentleman in front of you after those girls' father is done."
The dark-haired woman gave me a little sniff as she passed me. I guess she didn't take rejection well. This was just great! Now there was another delay. I'd never get out of here in time to catch up to Mary.
There was now an elderly gentleman behind me. He looked like a stereotype. He was grey and wrinkled and looked about five feet tall, hunched over the way he was. He wore a red Cardigan over a white shirt and the kind of grey pants that you'd have to call slacks. In one hand he held a cane. In the other were his registration papers and a grey fedora with a feather in the band.
I turned back to the counter quickly, before the man could try to engage me in conversation. You know how old people can get when they have an audience. Besides, I had these girls to attend to. One of them started pulling on my shirt. The other grabbed me by the hand. Hers was tiny and sweaty and sticky. Ugh.
The man behind me started playing peek-a-boo with the smaller of the two girls, using his hat to cover his face. Why does everyone always want to play peek-a-boo with little kids? Do the kids ever get sick of it? I mean, how long can that remain even a little bit fun?
After a couple of moments, the girls' father came back, freshly-minted license in hand. He mumbled a thank you at me, and took his daughters. Come on, lady, I thought at the Serbian woman, or whatever she was. Hurry up!
Then it was all over. Mary walked away with her new license tags and registration packet, and headed out the door. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
"Next!" The woman behind the counter was waving me forward. I walked up and took my wallet and papers out of my pocket. That was when I noticed a wad of bubble gum rolled into the bottom of my t-shirt. Thanks, girls.
I handed everything across the counter, and said, "I need to renew my license." I willed myself not to cry. I wouldn't give the Slavic lady the satisfaction of seeing me cry.
The woman on the other side of the counter barely even looked at me. "Is your address still the same?"
"Listen," I said. "I don't want to wait in line again, but I need to be able to find the woman that you just helped. Would you please give me her name and address?"
The woman looked up at me. "Are you serious?"
"No!" She replied. "I can't do that. It's illegal and unethical."
"But you don't understand! It's destiny! Mary and I ... we are meant to be together!"
"Look, sir. I don't care about your destiny. My job is to renew your license and send you on your way. If you want to go chasing after her, I can't stop you, but you'll have to wait in line again."
I looked behind me. There were at least thirty people in the queue now.
"But me no buts, mister!" She wasn't going to budge. "This isn't some kind of movie where the rules don't apply and everyone is expected help you find your true love. This is the BMV."
The dark-hared Slovenian at the next station was looking at me as if I'd lost my mind. Maybe I had.
"All right," I sighed, resigned to my fate. "Let's do this."
"Is your address still the same?"
We then went through all the standard questions. She told me to look through the eye-testing machine for my vision test. When I stepped up to the machine, I spotted it. Mary's copy of Twilight of the Gods. She'd left it right on the counter next to the eye tester! Oh, Joy of Joys!
After my vision test, I carefully slid the book off the top of the counter. Here it was ... the clue I would need to find Mary. She'd have to come back after her friend's book!
I would find her.
Oh yes, I would.