Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Life In Oklahoma

So I’ve been in Oklahoma for another month and, as you all probably suspected, the adventures continue!
My latest adventure?
My incredibly futile attempt to get my Oklahoma driver’s license.
You would think this would be a relatively simple task…I mean, when I moved to Missouri from Illinois, it was a huge pain in the butt…but that was only because I had foolishly let my Illinois license expire and therefore had to take the written test which I assumed would be easy and instead had questions like “When driving at night in the fog, for how many feet should your lights be visible? 300, 350, or 400?”
Let me just close the curtain on that particular disaster and assure you that I learned my lesson. Not only did I go to the Oklahoma Tag Office before my Missouri license will expire, I also actually got online, checked the website and carefully assembled all the documentation I needed.
And I was so incredibly pleased with myself that the ridiculous line at the Tag Office didn’t even phase me. I smirked at the different people getting turned away for lack of proper paperwork and lost myself in near hysterical self-congratulation.
Until, of course, it was actually my turn.
I walked confidently up to the gum-chomping, vacant-eyed, twenty-year-old clerk, handed over all my stuff and she, if possible, got even MORE vacant. “You can’t do that here.” She said.
And I sad “Do what?” meaning ‘What is it that I can’t do here?’
Unfortunately, this is Oklahoma and she thought I meant “Excuse me, I didn’t hear you.” So she said “YOU CAN’T DO THAT HERE.” Louder.
Which I, of course, took as a challenge to see who could actually be the loudest. “WHAT CAN’T I DO HERE?” I shouted back.
“Trade in an out of state license. You have to go to the Department of Public Safety to do that. To, you know, get a copy of your driving record and stuff.
“Wow,” I said. “That would have been really helpful information to have on the website.”
Unfortunately, sarcasm is clearly NOT covered in the Oklahoma Tag Office training so, she looked at me terribly confused and, of course, said “Do what?”
And I punched her in the face.
Ok, not really.
In the fantasy I was imagining in my head, sure, but in real life I just heaved a huge sigh and said “Never mind. Can you tell me where the Department of Public Safety is?”
“Oh, sure!” She said, perking up for the first time. “It’s in the Old Eastland Mall.”
And when I said “I don’t know where that is.” She said “Do what?”
And that's when I punched her in the face.
Ok, fantasy again…instead, I summoned up my best “You’re kind of an idiot but I’m a teacher at heart so I will put up with you” voice and explained that the whole reason that I needed to go to the Department of Public Safety was because I’M NOT FROM HERE so directions with landmarks—particularly OLD landmarks aren’t terribly helpful.
It only took about 5 more minutes to make her understand and get somewhat coherent directions.
And her directions were good but it would have been better if she had told me to drive north until I was afraid for my life, turn right at Murderville, pass the abandoned neighborhood in which EVERY window was boarded over, and turn left into the mall. Then drive around the entire mall lot twice until I knew for sure that the Department of Public Safety is the only office with no sign on the outside of the building…and I was there!

And you would think that the Department of Public Safety would inspire people to feel safe but the thing is, they themselves are clearly so creeped out by the environment in which they are located that you have to take a number off the door and they won’t even let you in the office until it’s called. Instead you have to wander around the lower lobby of the old Eastland Mall, dodging water from the leaking roof and making small talk with gang members.


So there I was, with the 9 and 1 already dialed on my phone, primed to press that final 1, when I finally get called inside.

I take in my old license, my wedding license, my new social security card, and a postcard that proves my residency to the window, hand it over and the guy says “You also need your birth certificate or passport to trade in an out of state license.”

Newsflash, this is more information that would have been helpful ON THE FREAKING WEBSITE!!!!

Which I was more than happy to point out to this guy but, as we have already seen, my sarcasm is not universally appreciated.

“I’m not in charge of the website,” the guy said.

“Clearly, no one is.” I agreed.

Oddly, this didn’t endear me to him…nor did my sweet inquiry that perhaps he was just making this up to irritate me , like some bizarre newbie to Oklahoma hazing ritual.

He wasn’t.

So I immediately stormed out of the office, grabbed the first gang member I could find, pointed out the Oklahoma official and said “You wouldn’t believe what THAT GUY just said about you…and your mom.”

Ok, kidding again..because if anyone is going to lose it and attack an Oklahoma Department of Public Safety employee, that person is going to be me….possibly this week when I attempt once again to get my license. Stay tuned for a news report featuring me and the Department of Public Safety, liberally sprinkled with the phrase “Lunatic rampage!”

Check out the other Theme Thursday rerun posts by clicking the link below:

A Mother Life</

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Life In Oklahoma

Ok, so I’ve been in Oklahoma for just a tad over two months and I have been incredibly crappy at staying in touch…which isn’t to say I haven’t thought about you all, I’ve just been adjusting to life as a married Okie.

It’s been interesting…they sell LIVE CHICKENS at the hardware store three blocks from our house, and I have had to face the harsh reality of Bible Belt liquor laws. It’s been tough.

In fact, getting married and combining our four-legged families has not been without its hiccups... For example, there was the hysterical time I went upstairs, found Opie lying on the bed and scolded him for still having his shoes on. The next night, I went up and he had his shoes off…but they were lying on the bed next to him….like it was the fact that they were on HIS FEET that annoyed me, not the fact that they were ON THE BED.

Equally upsetting, at least to him, is when I end a discussion with “Don’t try using your logic on me, I’m not feeling very logical right now!”

But all in all, we’re getting along great and, in spite of the fact that I’m remodeling the ENTIRE HOUSE, are living together in relative contentment.

The real challenge has been the animals…Peek is still convinced that he’s a human and while he’s happy that I got him another dog, he can’t understand why Bubba won’t listen to him and always tries to steal his bones. Prince, on the other hand, is still convinced he’s a dog and spends his time figuring out new and interesting ways to whack the other dogs on the head and run away. Bubba is the only one who understands that he is, in fact, a real dog…but he has decided that I am HIS human and that he should protect me at all costs.

Which is great in a lot of ways…but I’m not really used to big dogs…and they’re a lot more intimidating than small dogs…A lesson both the lawn guy and I learned just a few days ago. See, the lawn care people are supposed to knock on the door and let me know they’re here before starting on the lawn. But sometimes they forget…and they don’t come on a regular schedule so I don’t know when they’re going to be out there. So, late last week, the stars align and the lawn guy is trying to let himself in the backyard at the same moment that I’m letting the dogs out of the house.

Bubba does not take this well.

Peek also does not take this well…but Peek is old, a little fat, and more than willing to wait and see if the guy has a treat before ripping his throat out. Bubba, on the other hand, charges the fence like the guy was made out of ham.

I, of course, go running out and over to the fence as fast as I can…and am relieved to see that the guy hadn’t actually come in the gate yet…but now I have to get Bubba calmed down in the face of this clear and present danger.

A task made more difficult by the fact that the lawn guy is standing right on the other side of the fence, chattering away nervously, apologizing and assuring me he won’t come in until I get Bubba back in the house. The problem is, Bubba can’t believe that this EVIL STRANGER is actually DARING to talk to me while he is on guard duty. So the more the guy talks, the more Bubba runs around me in wide circles, barking and growling at the guy like a maniac.

If this happens with your Chihuahua, you pick him up, carry him inside, and praise his bravery. If this happens with your half-Rottweiler mix, you interrupt the lawn guy’s sixteenth apology and ask him to go stand by his car.

“Or better yet,” you say with a smile “actually get in it.”

“Are you serious?” The lawn guy then asks.

“This dog knows you’re here to kill me,” you explain. “And he’s not going to let you.”

On the one hand, I’m pretty sure THAT GUY will never forget to let me know he’s here before spraying the lawn…on the other hand, I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t think I’m funny AT ALL.

And that’s life here in Green Country.

Why Green Country?

I have no idea…I did some research and have not found a satisfactory answer, especially since things have not exactly been green here in Green Country. In fact, since the entire month of August was so hot I thought I was actually going to burst into flames (It got up to 115 degrees, people! Actual degrees, not the heat index!) the landscape has been anything but green. Still every morning the newscasters say things like “What kind of weather do we have in store for Green Country?” so Green Country it is.

And this is a rough segue into my last difficulty in adjusting: The language barrier.

Which is odd. I mean, this is the United States. And in my former position as Conflict Mediator Extraordinaire of Parkway Central High School, I became quite an expert at decoding the mysteries of language variations…I mean, if I can figure out things like “booty stank” and “sawn!” and “ two flats on a Cadillac” how hard could the slang in Oklahoma be?

And, to be honest, some of the differences sound odd to me but are understandable…like when people tell me that they’re “fixin’” to do something or that “we love us some (insert whatever).” Both of these things happen on a regular basis….the woman who did my nails told me that “We love us some Quiktrip here in Tulsa.” The woman who cut my hair did the double whammy and told me that she was “fixin to go on a bike trip” with her husband because “we love us some motorcycles on the open road.” And, lest you be under the impression that this expression is only used by members of the beauty profession, let me assure you that several other people have expressed their ungrammatical love of a variety of things.


Weird but understandable.

What’s weird but not understandable is the expression “Do what?”

I hear the expression “do what?” and I think someone is asking me what I want them to do. Sadly, this is NOT what the expression “do what” means.

Let me give you a case in point: I am at the grocery store trying to get in the checkout line. There is one lane that has a checker but the light isn’t on. So, I can’t tell if it’s open or not and I say to the woman “Excuse me, are you open?”

And she kind of jumps and says “Do what?”

Which confuses me because I don’t know what the heck that means. So, like a normal person, I say “Excuse me?”

And the woman thinks that I just didn’t hear her…so, slowly, LIKE I’M STUPID, she looks at me and says “DO WHAT?”

And because I handle it sooooo well when people talk to me like I’m stupid, I say “No, I heard what you said. I just have no idea what it means.”

Then, in this incredibly snotty tone, she explains “I didn’t hear YOU, so I said DO WHAT?”

Since this is the only actual grocery store in our suburb and I will be shopping there again, I made the prudent decision to just go to another line…while observing quietly that those words do NOT make sense. Well, kind of quietly…I mean, I didn’t yell. And there’s a chance she didn’t hear me.

In any case, according to Opie, in Okie-ese, this expression means “Could you repeat that, please, I didn’t hear you.”

If I start using it, please be sure to punch me in the mouth.

Anyway, this is getting long and doesn’t even begin to touch on mice and ghosts and other intruders but I’ll save that for a later date…hope everyone is well…and if you ever get to Green Country, come see us because we do love us some company here at the Yates house!

A Mother Life