Yesterday was the last time I would need to stand in a long line at the Department of Motor Vehicles for that particular errand.

Or so I thought.

My youngest son, Tad, was poised to take the test for his learner’s permit. Unfortunately, typical of our deal-with-it-at-the-last-moment lifestyle, we neglected to look at the paperwork before taking our place in the long snake of a line. After finally reaching the appointment lady, she peered at his papers and scowled up at him over her bifocals. “You need to bring in a certified copy of the birth certificate.” She glanced behind him and hollered, “Next!”

I shook my head, mad at myself. Tad is my fourth child! One would think I’d have this kind of task mastered. Home we went to dig up a birth certificate and return to the DMV.

The second time, the line was even longer.

The appointment lady looked through Tad’s now-filled-out paperwork and said, “This isn’t a certified copy of the birth certificate. Next!”

Well, it really was a certified copy, but there didn’t seem to be an effective way to point that out to the DMV. They’re always right, even when they’re wrong.

Back home to hunt for the original birth certificate. Of course, it wasn’t there, but tucked away in the safety deposit at the bank. So off we zoomed, retrieved the birth certificate out of the dusty vault, and hurried to return to the DMV.

The third time, the line disappeared into the horizon.

Thankfully, the appointment lady could find no objections. Tad took the test and passed.

But I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering why I seem to frequently find myself in those situations, in which I’m about 85% “there” but miss critical components to complete a task.

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