a crying baby/grumpy woman fiasco

Yesterday, Ian and I took a grand afternoon adventure to turn our Kansas driver's licenses into this.

saying hello to massachusetts

Because licenses here in Massachusetts are paper. Until they mail you the permanent one.

At any rate, it really turned into quite the adventure. Before heading to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, I got online and checked what we would need — two forms of ID and proof of address. Then I got on the bus to meet Ian.

We met near the office, ready to follow the directions I found online. After waiting in the freezing cold for 15 minutes at the bus terminal, we saw our bus drive past us on the street. It's stop was a block away. We rushed to the correct stop and caught the bus a few minutes later. Then we got off one stop past the optimal choice. After a moment of panic (on my part) and a quick pause to ask directions, we found the RMV, located in the Watertown Mall.

Walking into the RMV is like walking into the New York Stock Exchange (not that I've been inside the NYSE). After checking in with the desk and receiving a number with an approximate waiting time (40 minutes), you move to the center of the room, where there are more people waiting than there are benches. Along each wall are customer service cubicles — one wall for licensing, one wall for vehicle registration. When they announce your number, you look to see which cubicle your number is flashing over, then go to that cubicle. Even though most of the customers didn't seem thrilled, the staff was brusquely pleasant and the system efficient.

Thanks to consulting the Web site for needed documents, we didn't have any problems. My photo was appropriately goofy but avoided the deathly sick look and photoshopped hair my passport photo achieved. We also registered to vote during the licensing process, knocking out a total of three items on our how-to-move-to-Boston list.

The trip home went much faster since we'd learned the stops (the hard way) already. We hopped on the crowded bus, standing room only. Moments later, Ian snickered and whispered I should check out the lady over my shoulder. She had dirty blonde hair and a gaunt face that said "I smoke a pack a day." Her mouth was molded into a scowl revealing yellowed teeth, tipping like weathered gravestones. Her eyes glared towards the back of the bus with a surprised irritation. Then I heard the baby cry.

The woman's eyes tightened. A few more wails and she couldn't contain herself. "Put an f***ing bottle in it's mouth!"

Ian and I exchanged a glance. Her irritation was so unreasonable it was laughable. We restrained ourselves. I was worried for that mother somewhere in the back of the bus. Did most of the people share the voiced irritation of the woman? I held my breath as she shot out another comment.

Our fellow bus riders responded. "If you don't want to hear it, get off the bus." I exhaled. We would defend the mother.

"Just put something in it's f***ing mouth!" brought an even stronger reaction. The twenty-something sitting next to the woman accused her of verbal assault and marched up to the bus driver to complain, her dark curls bouncing.

The lady sitting in front of us paused from her book. "Someone should put something in HER mouth." I envisioned a bar of soap fitting under the snarling woman's curled upper lip.

It was dark as we got off the still-crowded bus. I could see the mother and baby through the glowing window, a cluster of people standing between her and the woman.

We laughed as we walked to the stop for our next bus. Public transportation is so much more entertaining than having your own car.