The Department of Motor Vehicles has long existed as a punching bag for the general American public. The experience of being inside of one is supposed to be a universally acknowledged torturefest. Everyone hates the place.

Well, I have been inside of one exactly twice and I have to say, I had a pleasant experience during the only visit I remember. My first trip to the DMV was to take the test and apply for my New York State learners permit. I do not remember this experience at all, which I think means it was something less memorable than torture. My second trip was a few years ago when my original license finally expired, after a good decade-long run. I rode my bike, meaning I was able to combine a ride and the reapplication in one trip. Not bad at all, and actually very nice. There was no line and I was still sweating by the time I reemerged.

Thus, I cannot help but scratch my head. Who are all of you folks that hate the DMV with visceral disdain? And, why are you going in there so often?

Last week my computer was having some trouble and I had to venture to the Apple Store at the Southpoint Mall in Durham, North Carolina. I had been there once before, nine months ago, to purchase my computer. I recall feeling as if I had traveled through time and space to another planet.

This same feeling coursed through my veins and rattled my brain last week as I waited to speak with a “genius.” It was just past noon on a Friday, yet the store was crowded with an array of folks who seemingly had something better, more important, or more pressing to attend to, such as high school, a job, or sipping tea at the retirement center. Who were all of those people? Watching them was further evidence that the world is completely doomed. People were walking around looking at all the products as if they were seeing the future. It was as if they were viewing machines that might save the world, when in reality texting and  playing with one’s phone is nothing short of public masturbation. Since you are no longer capable of interacting with humans in a meaningful way, you play. And you play some more. And then your life coach, Siri, tells you how to live your life and you smile as you follow her instructions.

A grey haired mother of around sixty years old was next to me with a bleary eyed, tooth picked arm young man, a person I think was likely her son. His skin was as white as paper, his t-shirt hung on him as if he were a scarecrow, and his eyelids were red and irritated, as if someone had squirted lemon juice in his face. He looked as if he had not been outside a dark basement in months and that he had never done anything remotely athletic that might have stimulated at least one single muscle to develop in his body. He had to be around twenty-five years old, but there he was, flanked by his mother at the mall.

His fancy phone was not working properly. He looked like he might burst into tears any moment, unless his life could be saved with a fixed phone.

I like the DMV. I do not like the Apple Store. A new gadget will not save your life, but it may end up dooming you to a life spent as a chronic public masturbator.