Since I'm an ex-DC person, this caught my eye:
But I forget: this is Minnesota. This is nothing like the DMV of DC, a hellish labrynth populated by dead shuffling souls and stone-faced civil servants who will, on the bus home, replay over and over again the sweet moment when they put the CLOSED sign over their cage just as you got to the head of the line.
That actually happened to me. I remember it clearly. I also remember it was about as crowded on the other side of the counter than it was on the side where everyone was waiting. What were all those people actually doing?
Ah, you say. But have you ever tried licensing a car in Prague? As a foreigner? Exactly. Which is why when I need to drive I rent.