Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

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The line for driver's license renewal at the secretary of state's office is backed up as usual. The wait in the "express line" is at least 30 minutes, and I am now 13 bodies away from the blank-faced employee at the counter.

An overdressed twentysomething woman walks in and heads directly to the front of the line. "Twenty dollars to let me cut ahead of you," she says, waving the currency under the nose of the woman at the head of the line, who looks shocked. "No way," she says, and turns away. The woman with the $20 moves down to the second person, repeats her offer, and gets another "No way."

The woman takes her bribe to the third person, a thirtyish-looking woman who doesn't look happy to be in line. "I bet you'll like this offer," the woman says, then repeats her bribe. The woman in line loudly tells her, "Get your ass to the back of the line and wait like everybody else!"

Everyone in the line cheers. Indignant, the woman stuffs the $20 into her purse. "You're all so self-righteous!" she shouts, crossing her arms as she takes her place at the end of the line.

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