Friday, February 19, 2010

On The DMV

I legitimately feared this to be the experience I should expect.

Shockingly, I've only really had good experiences with the DMV after getting my license at 16. I think those first couple trips bought me some karma points or something. The wait was long because the computers were down, and rather than schedule my instant pass/fail test for weeks later, I took the written test and waited 4 days to hear back about my scantron, which was, obviously, a near-perfect score. So I waited a few days and got my permit, took my driver's ed program and got my junior license at 16, my senior at 16.5.

That was really it.

I've been down there only four times since then: once when we moved and I had to update my address, once to renew my license and update the height and photo, once to get my motorcycle permit (yes, I am secretly even more awesome than you originally conceived) and once just now to re-update my photo and renew that permit.

Now for moving, admittedly, they didn't alter my height then, which is why I made sure to get it done when I renewed a few years back. However to fix waiting at the DMV, my mom (who was there to fix her license as well) and I ran into this girl who went to my high school along with her mother. They were there for some similar reason and we killed time chatting.

When I went to renew it was up at school so I got to visit a DMV that used to be a bank. This meant that their "storage room" was a vault with A GIANT SPINNING WHEEL FOR A DOOR, casually left ajar behind some iron bars. Very laid-back atmosphere there. Not only was this place awesome, but the tellers were all speedy and super-nice. Like loving grandma/aunt nice. I was in-and-out in enough time to make it to my class for the day, which is great because my TA was waiting in line behind me and I didn't want him to beat me back and mark me late.

My last sojourn to the Department of Motor Vehicles was kind of hilarious. Out drinking one night, my friend Molly announced that she had to go to the DMV because, as a City Girl, she'd let her license expire over a year prior and now had to retake everything including her road test. I happened to mention, "Oh, wow, that's really funny, actually. I wanted to go down to the DMV tomorrow." This of course led to her disbelief that someone could want to go to a DMV, the revelation that I was learning to ride a motorcycle and me eventually demanding all Dave-related shenanigans immediately cease if Molly at all desired my licensed driver ass to schlep her down with me. This story ends with an equally speedy and efficient business experience for me, as I actually studied for my permit test. I believe Molly passed, despite years of real (not) driving interfering with her retention of DMV by-the-book regulations.

This trip was astounding. I remembered where the building was without having been there in at least six years, I found easy parking, spent about 5 minutes wandering outside looking for the right door and then remembered it's actually inside a little mall-type thing.

I got in, found the right form, filled it out in line and got the very polite clerk who had just uttered, "Girl, it's dead in here all of a sudden." She gave me another form to fill out, one copy for renewing my permit, the other for updating my license photo. She took me as soon as I was done, snapped a photo and sent me on my way to wait for my service as customer #F851.

I found a good seat in pew where I could view all the NOW HELPING numbers and saw that a clerk was NOW HELPING #F850, which cut my surprise short my finishing and requesting my F851 presence. I handed over my stuff, got told I have to wait another 3 weeks before I can actually renew my permit because it lasts longer than I thought, but I could just bring back the completed form and they'd update my photo right away. I saw it and it actually looks like me. Kind of a sad, brooding, head-tilted me, but still more like me than the long-haired, no-glasses kid on my current card.

Anyway, that all took me 27 minutes. The DMV faeries smile on me. I may still have to go back in three weeks, but in theory it should be relatively painless.

And yes, within the year I will be riding motorcycles, because I collect stupid skills and credentials. I am a motorcycle-driving, webcomic-producing, published poet minister, registered with Phi Beta Kappa. I might also become a notary, just because we need one lately. Ye gods, I'm an interesting fellow.


  1. Hahahahaha, I'm not even a city girl, I'm just lazy. PS, my real license came after my roadtest in September, but guess who had already left the country.

    So technically I still don't HAVE my license.

  2. Oh, Molly, you are truly one in a million.

    That said, I would like to find one of the 6,499 people exactly like you so we can laugh at you together.


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