Meeting Ralph

I just spent the last hour at the DMV and to prevent my lower half from falling further asleep, i got up and decided to wait in the back of the room.  after a few minutes an elderly man stood next to me papers in hand. he wore a nice ironed shirt, but it seemed strange next to his unkempt white hair, wrinkled face and missing tooth.

i asked him how long he’d been waiting and he said, only 15 min. i told him I’d been there a little over an hour and mentioned something about the system, the bureaucracy of it all..i found out his name was Ralph. Ralph seemed sad. he said “this whole country is going to crap.” he seemed defeated. and just shook his head a lot when i asked him what he thought about all the stuff that is going on in WI –

Ralph told me he has a great granddaughter who will be 10 months old this month and he wonders what kind of a world she will grow up in. what kind of America she will know. i asked him if he is a veteran and he said that he was 74 and in both Vietnam and Korea. He disproved of the cuts to veteran’s benefits . he also said that his niece’s boyfriend has been on so many tours she cant be around him because he has lost it. too much war- PTSD.  It seemed like he was worried for both her and his great granddaughter. i told him I’m an optimist and i have been having trouble seeing the glass half full lately too.

it seems so apparent in the dmv that we live in the confines of a government. with social security numbers and the lady who my dad says sounds like Logan’s run saying, “ now serving D 3 6 7 at window number 5.” so it was strange to, well not so strange for me i guess, but the juxtaposition of such a great human interaction amidst this robotic, legal, systematic transaction that IS the DMV was beautiful. like a flower budding between concrete.

now that i am writing this i wish i had asked him what he thought should be different, better. how to get out of this mess? Ralph thank you for your insight and your stories. they need to be heard.

as i was leaving he smiled and waved and nodded his head as if to say thank you for listening, i enjoyed our talk. i hope i get to re-watch that conversation when i get to heaven save it for me ok God?

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