Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Casualties of California Budget Cuts

Today I had to go to the DMV to get my driver's license renewed. I have done it by mail for the past 14 years or so. I guess they decided I don't look like my old picture anymore. I have a slight confession. The woman at the DMV desk was slightly distracted, and I didn't realize until she had everything printed out that my weight information wasn't correct. I told her that it was off by about 30 pounds. She said, "I won't tell if you won't." ;)

When I first went to the desk the woman was whispering. I knowingly commented, "You have lost your voice." She nodded and whispered, "I've been sick. I'm waiting for a call from the doctor now. They have already made us take off 4 days this month, so I couldn't afford to take another day off. That's a 20% cut in pay, and I only make $16 to begin with. You will probably be my last customer." It was humbling for me to realize that she only makes $3 an hour more than my son is making at his part time job.

She must have needed a listening ear, because she began to tell me all about her illness. Hmm....I kind of forgot that this happens to me all the time; that people tell me their life story out of no where. Anyway, she told me that she had been ill for some time. Suddenly the phone at another desk rang, and she said, "That's probably the doctor." She stood up and looked over to see if it was for her. She walked that direction, then the next thing I knew she was running out the door with her purse! Another woman came to take her place temporarily, and helped me finish out my work. She told me that the other woman's mother in law had been sick and suffering for quite some time. It sounded like she was dying, and they had called this woman to come quickly to see her.

For me it was a reminder that there is a lot of pain and suffering in this world. Trials are part of this mortal experience, and come to all, no matter how good of people they are. I couldn't help but say a prayer for this woman who is facing so many trials at the same time.

I must say though that I was impressed by how quickly I was able to get out of DMV. I was there for a total of only about 45 minutes. I did have an appointment, but I noticed the lines moving very quickly. I applaud them for being able to work quickly, despite budget cuts and employee cuts. I didn't quite know what to say to the woman, but all I could think of was, "It's so sad, I wish I knew who misused the funds." I don't think we can blame it all on the governor. I have my own list of mis-spending in this state, but I know there are many things of which I'm unaware. It's a scary future for people like the woman at DMV.


Jake said...

While I don't fully agree with furlough days, I can understand why they are needed. They hit some people harder than others though. It makes me feel lucky to have a job (my husband anyway, but we own our own business). With our job however, working with foreclosures, we've been fortunate enough to help A LOT of people from the misfortunes of others. It's a blessing other vendors in the industry take for granted.

Christina Bess said...

That comment was from me, I don't know why it shows Jake.

Ramana Rajgopaul said...

Delirious, you did not have to say anything to her. That you listened did more to her than anything that you could have told her. People like you are rare to find. We need more like you to reduce the sadness that is around everywhere.

Inklings said...

I was thinking the same thing. People tell you their "life stories" because you listen.

My mother-in-law always says that most of the world's work is done by people who don't feel well.

Sometimes I think of all the stress and trials that one person has and multiply it by the population of the world, and it is truly an overwhelming feeling.