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Old 11-03-2016, 06:30 PM   #22
Madeline Maple
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 32
Madeline Maple can now be the recipient of "two cans" jokesMadeline Maple can now be the recipient of "two cans" jokes
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CHAPTER 10
Franny
June 19, 2013

Franny moved the seat forward so she could touch the pedals and gently rubbed the top of her belly as it pressed lightly against the bottom of the steering wheel. Her breathing slowed as she got over the exertion of climbing into the car. It pleased her to feel how soft her belly had become.

She couldn't believe she'd already lived in Fargo for two years. Her Iowa license was about to expire, so she figured it was finally time to get one for North Dakota. She'd been putting it off, somehow hoping the move was temporary. A license seemed more permanent than she wanted North Dakota to be in her life.

Franny pulled out of the driveway and headed to the DMV. She thought about the email she recently received from someone at the college where she taught a couple of writing classes every semester. They wanted her to start teaching classes online instead of showing up in person.

On the one hand, the online classes paid the same amount and gave her more control over her work schedule. On the other hand, she couldn't shake the thought that the request for her to teach online was related to her weight gain.

Just a few weeks ago, one of the people in charge came to see her teach. She thought she did a fine job, and she got a positive review. However, it was clear to Franny that her size caught the person off guard. There was even a line in her review letter about how her teaching was "surprisingly energetic." What was so surprising about that? She had thought.

Franny hoped she was being paranoid, but she wondered if she was asked to teach online classes because they thought she was too fat to teach in a regular classroom. Franny knew the world was prejudiced against fat people and especially against people as big as her. But she didn't want to live her life assuming everything in her life had to do with her size.

Franny decided she would try to be positive and think about the online teaching as a challenge with added convenience.

As she pulled into the DMV parking lot and took note of all the other cars she thought, This place looks busy. It's gonna take forever. She let out a long sigh. Franny planned to get there right when it opened, but on the way she passed a Denny's and decided it was time for a grand slam breakfast, despite the fact she had already eaten a pretty sizable feast before leaving home.

Franny pushed her seat as far back as it could go to get out of the car. Half pulling half lifting she managed to get one leg out. She then wiggled her rear end to the edge of the seat. Again through a combination of pulling and lifting she got the other leg out. After pausing for a minute to catch her breath, she heaved herself into a standing position and began lumbering her way into the DMV.

The place was crowded, full of long lines and short tempers. Franny checked in at the front desk and prepared herself to wait a while before her number was called.

It wasn't more than a minute before her legs were pleading with her to sit. Franny noticed an unoccupied seat in the waiting room, but there was no way on earth she would fit into it. Luckily, a man seated next to the empty seat noticed Franny's situation and offered her his place.

Even with two seats it was a tight fit for Franny's hips. She squeezed into the space knowing that she was rubbing against the people on either side, but she had no choice. There was no way she was going to stand for as long as it took to have her number called.

At least I only have to do the eye test, she thought. When Stan did this last year he was randomly selected for a written test and a driving test, so as annoying as it was to be waiting at the DMV, she thought it could be worse.

Just when Franny was starting to wonder if she'd be at the DMV all day, her number came up. With nothing to support herself on either side, Franny had trouble getting out of her double seat, but she managed. She had now lived for many years as a supersized person, and she found ways to cope with environments not built for her.

Franny waddled to the counter wishing she would soon be finished with the whole ordeal. She tried to ignore the clerk's reaction as she approached. The skinny girl behind the counter looked astonished when she saw Franny. It was something she had grown used to. It's not everyday you see a 550 pound person. Franny just wished more people would hide their surprise.

The clerk finally pulled herself together enough to ask for her paperwork, and Franny handed it over with a smile. She may look at me like I'm a freak, Franny thought, but I'm gonna kill her with kindness.

The woman looked over the papers and then excused herself for a minute. Franny felt a bead of sweat trickle down the side of her face as she saw the clerk confer with a middle aged man dressed in a striped button down shirt and suspenders. Franny checked her phone for messages and tried not to think about the discomfort building in her knees as she continued to stand.

After a few minutes the clerk returned and started giving her directions on where to take her car for the driving test. Franny interrupted, "Hold on, what driving test?"

The woman pointed to her paperwork. Sure enough, next to where it read "eye exam required," someone had stamped in red "drivers test required."

Her face felt hot as Franny exclaimed, "That wasn't there before. What happened?"

"Ma'am," the clerk took on a slow condescending tone, "your paperwork requires you to pass a driving test."

Franny took a deep breath and stared straight into the skinny clerk's eyes. "Number one, don't talk to me like I'm a child. Number two, I demand to speak to your supervisor."

The clerk, looking sheepish, quickly turned around and disappeared into a back office. When she came back she was joined by the man in suspenders. "Can I help you, ma'am?" He said this with a fake smile plastered to his face.

"Why did my papers get stamped with this?!" Franny pointed to the stamp, smudging the fresh red ink.

The man in suspenders maintained his smile. "Well, ma'am, North Dakota state law gives us the right to require driving tests for any applicant who may appear unable to operate a moving vehicle."

Franny just looked at the man. She kept expecting him to continue, but she finally realized he was done speaking. Dumbfounded Franny managed to ask, "Are you saying that I appear unable to operate a moving vehicle?"

"Well, ma'am, it's just...your size..." The man didn't finish the sentence and just kept staring at Franny with that same dumb smile.

"How the hell do you think I got here? Of course I'm able to operate a moving vehicle."

The man and his smile just stared back in silence.

Franny quickly considered her options. She could raise hell, threaten a lawsuit, and name drop the ACLU. On the other hand, she could just suck it up, take the test, and consider this another micro aggression from the fat hating world. The pain in her knees helped her decide against the hell raising option.

"Fine!" She said. "What do I do?"

The man in suspenders directed Franny to pull her car around to the back of the building. Franny slowly backed away from the counter, and as she was turning toward the exit, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the man in suspenders talking with a man wearing a long beard and cowboy hat. Franny couldn't be sure, but she thought they were pointing in her direction.

For twenty minutes Franny sat in her car waiting. Thank goodness she had stashed a Snickers bar in her purse to tide her over. Finally she heard a knock on the passenger side. The man with the cowboy hat and beard motioned for her to unlock the door.

He sat down and without making eye contact delivered a rote monologue about the rules for the test. Franny thought it seemed pretty straight forward. It boiled down to staying left of the traffic cones and doing what the man said.

He stroked his beard a couple of times and then ordered her to start driving. Franny complied, but as soon as she inched the car forward he told her to stop.

Again without making eye contact he said, "Please make adjustments so the steering wheel is unobstructed."

Franny noticed that the top of her belly pressed lightly on the steering wheel, mostly because her giant rear ended pushed her body forward in the seat.

Stopping the car, Franny moved her seat back a little, but it was almost impossible for her feet to reach the peddles. She pushed herself back against the seat, sucked in her stomach as much as possible, and inched the seat forward so she could again touch the pedals. She was feeling scared now, but she hoped that if she were careful she could keep her belly out of the way.

The car inched forward, and Franny thought her tummy wasn't rubbing the wheel, but it was difficult for her to tell and still concentrate on the test.

About halfway through she noticed her body had slouched down such that she was pretty sure her belly was again pressed into the steering wheel. She tried to make adjustments, but it was impossible to do it while driving. She briefly considered stopping again and seeing if she could slide back up the seat enough to keep her belly out of the way, but by that time the test was almost over, and it looked to Franny that she hadn't made any mistakes so she thought it didn't matter anyway.

She pulled the car to a stop behind the DMV, feeling relieved that she did so well. The man made notations on his clipboard and handed a form to Franny.

"You can retake the test up to three times per month with at least twenty four hours in between retakes." He then started to get out of the car.

"Wait!" Feeling frantic now, Franny almost grabbed the man's sleeve to keep him from leaving.

"Yes?" The man spoke while still not looking directly at Franny.

"Did I make mistakes?"

"The vehicle's operation was obstructed, ma'am." The man read his copy of the form as if that explained everything there was to say.

Speechless Franny just stared at the man until he again started to leave.

"So what do I do now?!"

He let out a sigh and repeated, "You can retake the test up to three times per month with at least twenty four hours in between retakes." And after adjusting the brim of his hat he added, "For now you can get a state ID inside."

The man made a third attempt to leave and this time Franny didn't try to stop him. She just sat there, stunned, not quite believing what just happened. She realized that she didn't even have her Iowa driver's license. It was still good for a few more weeks, but you had to turn in an old license to apply for a new one.

Franny cried softly as she reached for her phone and called her husband to get a ride home.
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