The DMV at 4:00 is just like a toddler at 7PM: screaming, crying, whimpering. Melt down time.
The lady at the front desk has been here since 9 AM. Her black head is covered in bright golden braids dangling down around her head. She obviously doesn't care much about her job, but she's never outright rude: only disconnected, automated.
By the end of the day, everyone in the place is ready to burst. At window 12 a black man shouts at a black woman (demonstrating once and for all that there is no underlying conspiracy of solidarity).
"What? I gotta do what?! Those last two people were wrong? I been here since 9:30, and you're telling me that those two other clerks I talked to screwed it up? Ya'll need to learn your job!"
The clerk, a heavyset, big titted 20-something, pushes back from the desk in her rolling chair, her face contorted into an utter melange of hatred. "I don't have to help you anymore, sir."
She turns and walks away from the desk, leaving the man alone. His hair is extremely short, sectioned into square chunks where he's twisted it during bouts of nervousness.
At the front desk, golden braids shoves back from he desk too. "No she did'ent!"
A coworker has arrived, similarly pear-shaped and dark skinned. She holds back golden braids.
"She di'ent call me bitch!"
In front of her, on the other side of the desk, stands a small tribe of anger. At the head of it, saying the same thing Golden Braids is, stands the mother, short, stocky, straight hair to her shoulders, denim jacket, white shirt and black pants, the most respectable of the tribe. Her children, one wafer thin girl, no more than eight and a boy, thick and round at age 10. Beside her, the cohorts are closer to mom's age; at least 16 and 18. 16 is a hoochy, thin and not yet rounded by puberty, wearing denim and pink. 18 is a giantess, 6'2", wearing an M&M jacket, colored candy treats dancing and playing music.
The whole tribe sings back praise to their mother. "She don't gotta be rude! This hah joooooooooooob." echoing back from each mouth, big or small.
"I can't be up in my job bein' all rude! I can't be up in my jooooob bein'
all rude!" The boy beats his chest, rubbing each fist over elbow, smacking into chubby breast, dancing in front of the women of his tribe.
Necks sway, heads slink along their chosen paths. "Mmmmmmmmm!" The little girl echos her mother, jumping up and down in place saying "She don' gotta be a bitch! She don't gotta be no bitch!"
The big girl now turns and holds back the mother. Her black M&M jacket proclaims the virtues (sponsors) of the M&M NASCAR. Round and bright candies stand frozen in the act of talking to no one over headphone microphones.
The mother turn to leave now, grabbing the arm of the boy and followed by the little girl. Hoochie and big girl stay behind. Mom exits through the front door, which is surrounded by upset and terribly bored people. Kids bounce around her, giddy with the thought of piling it on golden braids.
Big girl and hoochie stand by the front desk and wag their tongues. "She don' gotta be no bitch..."
"Mmmmmmmmmmm!" big girl echos back, he mouth closed, sounds emanating from her throat in a muffled rise towards the tumult of agreement.
Mom returns now, pushes her way through the crowd, looking some folks up and down with disapproval for having gotten in her way. Children remain outside, standing next to an obscenely overflowing garbage can and a cluster of black men sweet talking into their cell phones.
"I ain't goin nowhere. She can appologize to me. She ain't gotta be no bitch."
Golden braids hears this, tries to push aside the coworker that's trying to calm her down. She claws at the shoulder of the woman, who is just as thick and ample as her. "No she didn'! I don' gotta take this shit! Callin' me a bitch? Uh-uh!"
Index finger extended upwards, hand at arms length towards the mother, wagging it back and forth now. Head swaying behind the finger; her neck is a jelly, barely holding the whole thing together, swaying in the breeze of anger.
Outside the kids dance, heads forward, backs flat, swaying along in their own way. Taco Bell wrappers and bags droop from the garbage can, topped with half-eaten burrito stumps and a bit of rotten tomato. Inside, mother's gaze does not leave the counter, does not excuse golden braids.
"Spare some change so a fella can eat?" Raggedy smile comes from the mouth of the white haired and relatively clean black homeless man. Or is he? Homeless or not he is quite persistent. Everyone gets asked. Women get touched on the arm or shoulder.
"Dime? Quarter? Spare a dime so a brotha can eat?"
He won't leave without a no. Even then, he sometimes won't leave. Ignoring him only makes him touchy feely. Everyone is visibly uncomfortable, but the ineffectual security guard is nowhere to be seen.
This is, of course, the only real reason that there's a guard here.
At the counter, a white man, broken and worn from years of partying and inconsiderate body abuse leans on the grey surface, tired and bored. His girlfriend, is an equally worn white lady, thin, in a wheel chair and missing her left leg up to the knee. They're here to complete some sort of business for her, but all she's done so far is repeatedly ask the clerks where the bathroom is.
Each time she is answered, she finds the facilities and immediately returns to ask where they are again.
The DMV brings out the worst in humanity.