Sat, 07 Sep 2013 21:57:28 +0000

I leaned on the counter at DMV window No. 16. I handed the woman my tax forms. She skimmed the information.

"You work in media?" she said. "That's my dream, too. I got my degree in communications, you know. And then I interned at a TV station. It was the most amazing period of my life. There was so much energy and purpose in everything —

"Ugh, I wish I could feel that again.

"But I still got big plans for myself. I'm gonna keep trying. I still… do you have your passport?"

I handed it over.

"And you know," she said, flipping through my papers, "I can't complain about this job, but I think I've reached my potential here. I think—

"Sorry, do you have your application?"

She clipped the application with everything else and put it in a folder. She looked up and said, "I got this job right after college. I figured I'd just do it until I broke into the industry, you know? But look around here — there are people who have been doing the same thing for 30 years! That can't be me. Like I said, I have big plans for myself. It's going to happen soon.

"You know," she said, "I used to wonder if it's not meant to be. It's expensive here, you know. I feel good if I can just pay the rent. All I really want is to have something I'm aiming for — a goal, room for growth. I'm 26, so I still have time, right? You know, I try not to complain. I have a decent job and a wonderful family. But, my God, sometimes I really want to."

She handed back my forms, and I looked back at the crowd of people behind me, all waiting to see her — the woman behind DMV counter No. 16. I looked back at the woman and mentioned how crowded it was today.

"Is it?" she said. "I don't really notice. I just press the button, and I help the next person. That sounds bad — but I know it's going to get better. I know I'm gonna make it. Like I said, I have big plans."

I'd never met someone so far from the dream — yet so sure that the dream would arrive. I'd only ever seen the delusion on reality shows like "American Idol." But it was like watching a child stare up at the moon, as if one day she would grow tall enough to hold it in her palms — and listening to this woman talk, I believed her. If I owned a company, I would've hired her, if only because the upward inertia of her jumping up at the heaven could only help. And being unemployed myself, it was the kind of attitude that gave me confidence — the kind of hope that reminded me we are all humans on this earth, and that the distance between any given person and the moon is virtually the same for everyone.

So I told her I'd email a recruiter for her, even though my word carried little weight. I figured a little more upward inertia couldn't hurt.

"Really? That would be amazing, just really amazing. Oh, thank you so much," she said. "I should let you go. But thank you so much for reaching out to the recruiter. Maybe something will come of it, right? I won't get my hopes up, but thank you. It's all about getting a little closer, right? Anyway, you can wait over there. It shouldn't be long."

This was a few weeks ago. I emailed the recruiter. I haven't heard back.