Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DMV, You Are My Frenemy


My third son had to renew his permit because his driving test is scheduled two weeks after the permit expires. Brilliant. 

In our great state, you have to go online and schedule your driving test. Wow, what a time saver! Well, that was my first thought, anyhow, before we saw the list of available times was completely filled for the next six months. That was when we realized we missed it by two weeks. Drats.

Monday seemed like a good day to go because all the students were back in school - another benefit of homeschooling. The parking lot didn't look too packed and I was hopeful. Then I walked in the door.

The line snaked all the way to the entrance; in fact, I couldn't even enter until a few people were processed. Or at least I thought they were finished. It turns out that I was waiting in line to get a number to wait in another line. DMV, you are on my poo list now. 

On the other hand, the crowd at the DMV kept me on my toes. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest style, the huddled masses of humanity churned and bubbled with conversation and borderline insanity. If someone broke out into full fledged freakout, it wouldn't have surprised me a bit. 

While crammed in the line, one lady walked in and out twice, mumbling and complaining to herself - she was mad, buddy! And she was dragging a kid behind her who looked so calm through it all while she nearly popped her facial piercings right out of her mug.

Then there was the camo family. Mom, Dad and toddler were all dressed in the same style of camo. In spite of that - I saw them. The remarkable thing noted was the continuous reference to "Daddy" as "buddy." 

"Hey, there, buddy...where we goin'? Lookie over there! Can we get some french fries, buddy?"

Okay, okay; I confess that I eavesdropped on their conversations because: 
    1) I couldn't leave the line and I was bored. 
    2) There's no way to ignore people talking within your "normal" personal space range (about 18" for moi).
    3) I legitimately wanted to see how many times the kid call his Dad "buddy."  

Of course, this auditory invasion was for scientific data collection, should we ever need to study the phenomenon of the buddy-Daddy (and I know it was his Dad...Mama pointed that out; she called him Daddy even though Junior never did).

Finally, we got to the front of the first line and were directed to the Express Line. Whew! Gonzo and I took a seat and waited...and waited...I glanced at the counter and I saw three open windows but only one customer being served. The ticket in my hand reminded me that I only had nineteen people ahead of me in the Express Line. Express Services was my "category."


Rolling my eyes, I turned and smiled at the normal couple that sat near me. Apparently, the girl and guy knew each other and had just happened to meet at the DMV. Coincidentally, they both had just gotten engaged and they chatted about the upcoming weddings. 

Okay, okay; I confess that I eavesdropped on this one additional conversation because: 
    1) I couldn't leave the waiting area and I was bored. 
    2) There's no way to ignore people talking within your "normal" personal space range (about 18" for moi).
    3) I legitimately was amazed at the girl's explanation of her most important plans.

The main thing she was worried about was meeting her guy's parents in the coming week. Now engaged, that was a must, the future bride mused. She told her friend, "you know how much I smoke" and I surmised that habit wouldn't sit well with the new in-laws by the commentary that followed. But her concerns didn't stop there. As I tried to look around and ignore the ever louder conversation she began to explain how she also was "a serious drinker." Her in-laws would have a fit if they saw her chugging her normal amount of tequila or Jack Daniels, so she asked her friend what he thought about having Peppermint Schnapps on the bridal table. She thought that would look more lady-like and maybe take her mind off smoking. 

The guy she was talking to just stared and politely nodded. When his number was called mid yak-a-thon, he popped up out of that chair with remarkable speed.

Dear DMV, you are my frenemy. I appreciate the fact that you licensed all my sons. Once they were driving, I had a bit of a life again instead of living in the car. For that, I'm grateful. Surely there is a better way to process requests. Perhaps ten more DMV stations in our county would be a start.

When we finally were done at the DMV, I practically ran to my car but I took care to look both ways and add an extra layer of caution in my driving.

All those people in the DMV would be on the roads by the afternoon. God bless 'em.

21 comments:

  1. I cannot stand any trip to the DMV. I renew my license online, which is only good for twice in a row--then they want an eye test in between. I bring a book and try to zone out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See? Proof that you are many, many IQ points above me. That would have been a great idea, if I'd thought of it. The best I could do was to play a game on my phone (which I hardly ever do - so you know I was desperate for distraction!).

      Have a great day, Medeia!

      Delete
  2. Good morning, dear Cherdo! Your post has me flashing back to my own recent experience at the DMV. I accompanied Mrs. Shady who went there to get her license renewed. It was the same drill you described only worse. The online appointments site was booked months in advance. On the designated day and time we arrived at the DMV headquarters to find the line spilling out the door and extending 50 feet down the sidewalk. It took a half hour to get in the door. The place was a snake pit filled with unhappy looking adults, fussy kids, crying babies and several people with productive coughs, which is always nice if they happen to be standing next to you in line. We followed the yellow brick road and finally made it to the reception desk. Mrs. Shady handed over a stack of documents to the scowling clerk. Nurse Ratched took one look at the birth certificate, handed it back and told Mrs. S. it was unacceptable because it was a copy and not the original. We were told we needed to come back another time with the correct documentation, go to the end of the line and start over again, Mrs. Shady blew her top, created an ugly scene and drew everybody's attention to us. It wouldn't have surprised me if they had called security, wrestled her to the ground and carted her off to a rubber room.

    Weeks later, after Mrs. Shady paid a large sum of money to have an original birth certificate shipped to her, we returned to the scene of the crime and got her license renewed. All in all, a very pleasant experience.

    Happy Tuesday, dear friend Cherdo!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Only the husband of a nurse would use the term "productive cough."

    If any other business in the world had that many people clamoring to get in and partake of their services, they would add locations, right? It doesn't have to be a gigantic building!

    Another thing that plagued the employees was the slowness of the computer. Even a print job was slow as molasses.

    I'm glad my car tag can be renewed at the county clerk's office.

    Hey, guy - have a good day!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can't even believe I'm about to type this but...

    The DMV here in Phoenix - where they call it the MVD - really isn't too bad. I've only had to go there a few times in my 19 years here, but in each instance, although there was a wait, it wasn't too lengthy because they seem to have a pretty efficient system. Or maybe they just have more clerks working.

    I remember the nightmares that the DMV was in the Los Angeles area, and amazingly, Phoenix (which is last in just about EVERYTHING else) makes a visit not too painful. Shocking for sure, but true. Maybe the trick is in calling it the MVD?

    Of course my Brother is undoubtedly sick of the place. He's had to take his wife there for the written test and she's now failed it like 6 or 7 times. Someday she'll likely pass it by accident. I'm glad I won't be living in Airheadzona at that time, because she'll just be an accident looking for a place to happen.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got nieces in Phoenix...I'll let them know!

      Okay, I'm not one to pick on a person's relatives, but six or seven times she has failed the written portion? Statistically, I'm with you...surely she'll pass it accidentally in the future. Wonder how many times she will do the driving test?

      Delete
  5. Cherdo, I had to laugh at the conversation between the newly engaged, getting married "friends". I'd bet the guy went back to hug his fiance, knowing how his friend was behaving. Yikes...glad I'm not the inlaws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my thought exactly. And she looked like one of the few normal people in the whole place. Her "big problems" were actually scary, ha ha. Bring on the Schnapps!

      Delete
  6. Ah yes, isn't the DMV the greatest place to overhear stupid conversations? I love that the girl is so worried about her amount of smoking and drinking... but never once considers maybe just toning it down for a day. No, wait, that's not possible! Instead, I'll just have my in-laws hate me. *puff puff chug chug*

    I went to the DMV a few months ago and overheard a girl talking about how she'd be a great president, were it not for the fact that she's been in jail. It made for a fantastic post. I'm now convinced that if I'm ever lacking blog material I should just go sit at the DMV for a day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That will work fine as long as we don't tap into the same bunch (ha ha ha).

      Delete
  7. Oh yes...been there and what I love is when 2 who work there close their windows and then there are only 2 windows open for the 500 people in line. They probably needed to have a smoke and drink. Wait..that girl would fit right in! So instead of wine at the table she thinks it is more classy to have peppermint schnapps? Now this is a class act...it reminds me of the time I went to a stripper wedding (that's another story). Why would any parent think it is cute to have them call their dad buddy? I actually believe i have seen skeletons all cobwebbed over holding their ticket

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, you're gonna have to email the stripper wedding tale because I already have disturbing visual images of what that bride did as she walked down the aisle.

      But, Birgit - you're brilliant! The bride-to-be could get a job at your DMV. I didn't understand the Schnapps at the bridal table, either. Maybe she thought she'd have minty fresh breath when they pulled her up off of the dance floor.

      Delete
  8. I can't imagine not meeting my girlfriend's parents until we got engaged. Is that normal in America?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's normal anywhere, Michael! If for no other reason, giving the extended family a bit of your time is probably a good way to assess your future mate. I know, I know, you're going to say there are exceptions - and I agree - but most are just another chunk of that branch of the tree.

      Delete
    2. I met my first girlfriend's parents before I even realized I like her. That made that whole part of it a complete non-issue.

      Delete
    3. See? I like smart young people.

      Delete
  9. The DMV has to be one of the biggest drags we all have to put up with. I always try to bring a book because you know darn well you're going to be there forever. I think it must be a little bit like hell's waiting room.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good call...and I like your name for it.

      Delete
  10. I now think that my DMV is some form of Heaven. I admit that when I needed to change the name on my license it took three trips because of the then new Homeland Security requirements. I felt mildly irritated, but the feeling went away quickly. The employees are polite. I think they're doing their best. Some patrons are crabby. I tell them jokes. If that doesn't make them laugh, I stand on my head. If that doesn't work, I get out my stilts and lumber around. And so on and so forth.

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and where am I when you are doing this? Don't you know I am constantly gleaning new fodder for blogs?

      I really don't believe all DMVs are like this; I've been to some that are fine. Not this one, though. I've been here 24 or 25 years and it has always been the same.

      Delete
  11. It's hard to have any complaints about this place. It's easy to get a drink at party halls in Boston MA since they actually keep enough bartenders working at once, and you'll almost always find a place to sit. I love the vibe, the area, the people and the food at this place.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo