Not Just a Number
The other day I realized that I needed to renew my driver’s license. Believing that there’s no time like the present, I proceeded to go ahead and take care of the renewal before it slipped my mind. I pulled into the parking lot of the DMV and considered myself fortunate when a car pulled out so that I could grab the parking space it had just occupied. The parking lot was full, so I knew I was going to have a long wait in line.
Sure enough, upon entering the building, I noticed a long line of people waiting to renew their driver’s licenses. I pulled a waiting ticket which revealed that my number was 479; the number on the board showed that they were waiting on number 456. At that moment I was grateful that I had worn my best pair of tennis shoes.
I felt so uncomfortable waiting in this line of strangers where no one even knew my name. I was just a number to everyone. I could have been nonexistent and no one would have cared less. As a matter of fact, those behind me in line would have been glad if I were nonexistent because then they could have reached the front of the line sooner.
It’s so easy in this huge world to feel as though your existence doesn’t really matter much at all, especially when you’re among strangers, and that’s exactly how I felt at that moment. I was so glad when my number was called. Even then I was still treated as only just a number.
I really couldn’t blame the staff at the DMV. After all, they were only trying to do their jobs as efficiently as possible, but it still left me feeling as though I were only a number – one number in a million numbers.
On the drive home, I contemplated how often a person has this feeling of insignificance – at the DMV, at the doctor’s office, at the post office, at the supermarket, or at any number of places on any given day.
I had been born and raised in a big city and so I wondered: are things any different in a small town? Maybe so, but would I ever have the chance to find out? I doubt it. So I guess I’ll always have to wonder.
Then I pulled into my driveway. My husband opened the kitchen door to our house and our little toy poodle Lucy dashed out the door to greet me, her fluffy tail wagging furiously. I opened the car door and she tried to jump up into my lap before I could even get a foot out and on to the ground. She began to lick my face, letting me know just how glad she was to see me.
I’m not just a number to her, a nonexistent nobody. To her I am the one who feeds her, walks her, plays with her, brushes her, scratches behind her ears, rubs her belly, and gives her love. To her I am her mistress. To her I am everything. To her I am immense. To her I am the world.
And then I realized that maybe I should start looking at myself through her eyes and try to remember that no one can make me feel inferior without my consent.