I had to renew a license tag at the DMV yesterday, and as DMV experiences go, it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t staffed by the usual Madame Defarges. One of the women had a sort of Chrissie Hynde thing going, if Chrissie ever got stuck working at a DMV -kind of detached, yet efficient. The other employee was a cheerful Hispanic woman who was, when I showed up, helping a tall woman in her late fifties with a title transfer. The tall woman was wearing pastel turquoise slacks and the clinical blouse of some kind of healthcare functionary.
She was asking the cheerful woman “Are you sure I can’t sign for him? He’s right outside in the car, but he don’t like to sign anything. He’s got a touch of dementia.”

I always thought dementia was an all-or-nothing kind of thing, but I don’t even own a pair of turquoise slacks.

“I think I can get him to sign” said the cheerful woman, and walked out to the car with the forms, leaving the tall woman at the counter. The elderly man in line in front of me suddenly recognized the woman in turquoise and introduced himself to her.
“Oh I remember you!” she said, and lightly hugged him- the Southern equivalent of an air-kiss.
“You used to bring them cans of peanuts in the morning when I was working at the school. They was so warm and good.”


“My husband left and I lost mama so I moved back to the house and started back nursing and took my maiden name again and daddy’s out there in the car he won’t sign anything. That girl’s gonna have a time with him. I’ll have to go out there and show him that orange fly swatter in the back seat I ain’t ever used in on him but it’s the only way to get him to act right, sometimes. He’s got more energy than most his age. You gotta watch him.”