Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine needs a license

George and I spent Valentine’s Day at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Romantic, isn’t it?

Well, since we’re both not big believers of fake holidays made up by greedy American corporations and we both tend to be sobering practical, we decided to take care of George’s soon-to-expire driver’s license. It needed to be done, so why not on Valentine’s Day? Not that it mattered what day it was anyway.

We got up early and had a light breakfast, consisting of a Swedish cereal and some coffee. Then we were driving to the new DMV office on North Decatur Boulevard, which is basically on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Why the State of Nevada decided to build such an important administrative office, which obviously experiences a spry influx of visitors on a daily basis, all the way out in the boonies is beyond me.

Since we didn't have a camera with us, how about instead some digital renderings of the DMV building when it was still in the design stages? This is the outside view.

Maybe for the pretty view? There sure is a beautiful view to behold of the whole snowcapped Spring Mountain Range to the west and the distant skyline of Las Vegas to the south. Of course, we left our camera at home. So you just have to take our word for it. It...was...beautiful! It also happened to be a clear and sunny morning. According to the weather forecast it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy. Not that we were complaining.

Expecting long lines and that notorious long wait which is all too common at most DMV offices, we brought along books and magazines to pass the time. We headed to the first line to obtain a number. The line was fairly long, although not as bad as we’d expected. Surprisingly, it moved very quickly. When it was our turn, George was given his number and a short form he needed fill out. We walked over to a large hall, filled with hundreds of people waiting for their turn. While George was filling out the form to renew his license, the numbers were called in quick successions.

A 906...A907...H 102...A 908.

Our number was A 912. They just called A 909 and George was still filling in the blanks on the form. What the heck? He barely had signed the form before we could sit down for a few minutes when A 912 was called out. “A 912 at window 21,” a synthesized female voice announced through the PA system.

What? We don't have to wait at all? This can’t be. There’s something wrong here. The last time I had to renew my driver’s license it took over four hours. And now we don’t even get a chance to be completely bored out of our minds and whine how freaking long this still may going to take. We were totally not prepared for that.

Another digital rendering of the DMV on N. Decatur Blvd.,
this shows the waiting area.

There’s a government agency that actually works fast and efficiently?


After the agent at window 21 had input the information into his computer and had George do the quick visual exam, we were off to have his digital photo taken.

“Stand in front of the blue panel, please. Ready?”
“I’m sorry, I think I blinked.”
“Yes. Yes, you did. Let’s take another one. Ready? There, done!”
Another stern-looking woman asked George to sign his name on an electronic pad and said “Thanks, you’re done. You’ll receive the new driver’s license in the mail in approximately ten days. Next!”
Again, we were perplexed. This went all way too fast for us. We weren’t ready yet. I couldn’t even take one of the magazines out of the bag to read. And here we were, already leaving the building and walking back to our car.

This whole procedure, which we’ve dreaded having to do for weeks, didn’t even take 45 minutes. Wow! Our tax money at work. Literally. And the way it’s suppose to. Happy Valentine’s Day. We really liked this “present.”

After that shock, we decided to check out the Aliante Casino, which has recently opened and happened to be just up the street from the DMV office. It’s a surprisingly intimate casino and very tastefully appointed in warm red, brown and bronze colors with lots of wood paneling. The hotel lobby was refreshingly open, bright and airy and could easily compete with all these trendy boutique-style, “W”-like hotels. We opted to have brunch at their “Feast” buffet. Their varied dishes were plentiful, absolutely scrumptious and with $6.99 per person a total bargain. Especially in this dreadful economy.

Later in the afternoon, George and I walked our usual route at Pueblo Park. The walk was desperately needed after we ate all that food at the buffet. The weather was gorgeous and the sun warmed up the air just enough so we didn’t need a jacket. Later in the evening, we snuggled in front of the TV and shared some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

The far western end of Pueblo Park, near Rampart Boulevard
in the Las Vegas neighborhood of Summerlin.

There you have it. That was our Valentine’s Day.

Oh, maybe I should mention that we did spoil ourselves with an amazing dinner the night before. We went to one of our most, if not the most favorite restaurant in Las Vegas. Tamba serves arguably the best Indian cuisine around and we both just live for Indian food. Every time we go there it’s like absolute heaven. The tastes, the smells...everything is undescribebly divine. So if you will, you may call this extraordinary dinner our Valentine’s Day present to each other.

But we don’t need a holiday like that. We don’t need presents or a silly card. Nor do we need a special occassion to remind us to say “I love you” and how lucky we are to have each other. We know already. We say “I love you” to each other every day. Sometimes we look at each other and we just know without saying a word. There’s no need for a special holiday. Because for us, every single day is a special holiday.

It just is.

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