One of this week's necessary evils was a visit to our local Department of Motor Vehicles to request a replacement California Driver's License for "The Artistic One". Despite his laying of blame for the latest loss at the feet of the last Highway Patrol Officer who, not only ticketed him for using his phone whilst driving, but neglected to make sure he put his license back in his wallet.
It was still obligatory to appear in person with his application, to sign in the presence of a DMV employee, and to present proof of his legal identity in the form of picture I.D. otherwise known as a U.S. Passport. I had tried to make an appointment but the DMV schedule was full beyond The Artistic One's departure date for his trip to France so we joined the multi-cultural masses and took a number to await our turn.
I am implicated in these bureaucratic marathons as I would never inflict my French speaking husband on an unsuspecting government employee and would also never let him out of my sight with important paper-work that might be lost, shredded, or bartered for a facsimile of a French salami and baguette, if it happened to be near lunch time.
T.A.O. is off to his home turf next Thursday, depending on the ability of planes to land in the country of Freedom, Brotherhood and Equality, where a general strike is an ongoing menace. Students who have never worked a day in their lives are revolting about the need to work until they are sixty-two. T.A.O's seventy-fifth birthday is but a twinkle in his rear-view mirror and we just moved our business to a new location with the intention of re-inventing ourselves one more time. We also respect the journalist from French-speaking North Africa who commented that his readers' life expectancy was fifty-five so they had a hard time taking these "Manifestations" seriously. But I digress...
As the Artist's eyes closed and a gentle snore arose from the chair next to me I clutched my ticket, number G102 and watched the clock and the people around me. I saw several burgundy colored Euro-passports proffered to the clerks. They seemed to provoke very long wait times as finger prints were entered into the system and interim, temporary papers were doled out with instructions to return with additional documentation. I was not close enough to define accents or nationalities but everyone appeared to be understanding one another.
Everything ground to a halt as a young man took his turn at one of the numbered counters. He was tall and slender, dressed as one who does manual labor, and his face wore stubble which may have been fashionable or due to his not getting out of bed early enough that day. He leaned forward in a gesture of cooperation and the young woman who was destined to help him tried both her English and Spanish language skills, to no avail.
In desperation, she called out to all in attendance, "Does anyone speak Turkey?"
How can someone be so unaware of the other cultures of the world that they don't know that "Turkish" or "Turk" might be acceptable but "Turkey" is what we eat at Thanksgiving?
How can someone who does not speak a word of English be so arrogant as to assume that he would be accommodated without bringing an interpreter?
Darwin, where are you?