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  • My husband needs a new driver´s license. I also want one! No: not because I want to drive again, I really do not want to drive, but a driver´s license in Mexico is the best identification you can get.

    How can they give me, a nearly blind person, her driver´s license? They can and they do, because here nobody ever checks your knowledge about the rules of driving or traffic signs, here you only have to fill out forms and pay.

    So we go to the huge municipal building with all the offices a little bit outside of town.

    Three short and stocky traffic policemen stand around in the office. They are all packed into their uniforms; each carries a huge golden badge on his chest. Not real gold, of course. It is all just fake, but they carry themselves as if it was real gold there on their big chests.

    “We cannot attend you," one of them laments," because our boss has not arrived. He should be here, but he is not and without him we cannot do a thing!"

    People sit on chairs along the wall. All chairs are donated by the local beer brewery. Without the brewery we would all be standing.

    Another policeman answers a phone call. Obviously the person on the other end of the receiver wants to know the offices opening hours. I hear the policeman answer," Yes, this is the office for driver´s licenses, but, no, even though, yes, I do work here, no I am not sure about our office - hours, just wait a moment, I will ask my colleague...."

    The boss arrives an hour late, he looks bad, probably a severe case of a bad hangover, but he hands us some forms and we have to fill them out. We do. Then he gives us other forms with which we have to pay. We have to pay quite a lot, about 150 Dollars each, because this is a permanent license.

    We walk to the IRS - office on the other side of the building to pay our fees. There are 5 cashiers, but just one is working and so the queue is long.

    My husband has eaten an apple and wants to throw away the rest of the apple, but cannot find a trash can. In a corner to my left I read a sign announcing a trash can, but when he goes there, there is just the sign sticking on the wall, but no trash can whatsoever. He asks a security guard about a trash can. “I am sorry," answers the guard," There is no trash can in this whole building!"

    My husband finally does what he does not want to do, but what many others have done before: he hides his trash under s sad little bush in the center of the building.

    Slowly our queue advances. When we get close to the cashier I see her sitting under a bright red Christmas ornament that is hanging from a fake Fir tree twig that is fixed to the ceiling. In the 3 months since Christmas quite some dust has collected on the ornament. Outside spring is exploding, this week Semana Santa - Easter - will be highly and intensely celebrated. But the cashier does not care and all of us, who just want to advance to the front and pay, we do not care either.

    After having paid we need to make copies of the documents. We walk back to the original office, which by now is packed with people. The boss announces that they just have the material for 20 licenses today; anybody over number 20 today has to return tomorrow and hope to be luckier then. But not many leave, they try to persuade the boss. Maybe they give bribes? Probably. But I do not catch anybody giving a bribe.

    Meanwhile young boys carry huge towers of tortillas and quesadillas to the stocky policemen. They might not know their office hours, but they sure are well fed!

    It takes another 2 hours until first my husband and then I am called to be photographed by a very unfriendly woman. “Are you Mexican?" she asks me. “No, I am German, but a permanent Mexican resident." I explain. She nods.

    Ten minutes later she hands me out my license. On it she has written that I am Mexican. My blood group is also wrong. But I do not complain. Better to be Mexican on the driver´s license.

    We make out as fast as we can, my husband and I, we laugh, we tell each other that we never have to return here again and outside it is a wonderful spring day and not a cloud in the sky!

    Art by Kiki ( People In Offices)
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