M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, September 16, 2003  

DMV vs. MIL vs. SIL

My mother-in-law came up from Iowa for a visit this weekend. She’s still got Minnesota plates on her car, but the tabs have expired, so she wanted to get new ones before she came up. Not being here made that kind of difficult.

Trash’s sister offered to help take care of it. My sister-in-law was at work last week, talking to her mom on the phone about getting the tabs. She decided to conference the DMV in to the call.

Before making the connection, SIL explained how it was going to work. SIL was going to do all of the talking. MIL could be on the phone, but she wasn’t allowed to speak. MIL tends to be even more confused by bureaucracy than most of us are, and she’s prone to time-consuming digressions at the best of times. SIL, aware of all this, declined to give her mother speaking privileges during the call, because she was kind of hoping to get some work done that day for her employer.

So, SIL is on the phone. MIL is on the phone. SIL dials the DMV, and conferences them in. Of course, the call begins with an interminable initial greeting, during which SIL reminds MIL that she is not allowed to talk.

After the disembodied voice of the DMV spends a fair amount of time notifying them who they’ve reached, and explaining what they do, and reading a considerable amount of the Minnesota Driver’s Manual, they’re transferred to a phone menu. SIL hears this:

“If you have questions about your driver’s license, press one. If—”


SIL becomes irate. “Mother! Why did you press one? You don’t have questions about your driver’s license.”

“I might.”

By this time, they’d been spun off into a completely different phone menu, one that was of absolutely no use to them whatsoever. This call was screwed. SIL could call back, but her prospects for getting any actual work done during the day were rapidly dwindling.

SIL disconnected the DMV phone-bot and called Trash to complain about what MIL had done. She told Trash the whole infuriating story.

“I didn’t talk,” their mother, still on the conference line, said mildly. “I didn’t say a word.”

SIL allowed that although MIL had in fact obeyed the letter of her edict, she had still hijacked the call quite effectively.

Trash’s mom drove back to Iowa Monday morning. She has new tabs on her car. SIL went and bought them for her in person. By herself.

Today's best search phrase: "Cutting hole in basement floor for sewage pit." Actually, Trash has been after me to consider building a bathroom downstairs for quite a while. Maybe if I offer a simple "sewage pit" as a compromise, she'll drop the idea entirely. That's the best kind of compromise, you know.

posted by M. Giant 2:55 PM 0 comments


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