Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Trip to the DMV

The time had come for me to renew my driver's licence, to which I bade it a resounding good riddance.

My first driver's licence featured an old picture that was of my 18-year-old self, circa 2005, when I was a university Freshman who used to weigh 257 pounds. When I became health-conscious and shed the fat, it came to pass that no one ever believed that the girl in my I.D. was me. While this is undeniably flattering, this sometimes proved to be frustrating because I still look young enough to be underage, and whenever I got asked to show some I.D., either to buy lotto tickets or to go into a bar, cops and security guards grilled me on proving that I was indeed the same person and that had not borrowed the card from my hideous Jabba the Hutt sister. So I happily welcomed the prospect of getting rid of my "before" picture with open arms.

Like most driver's licences, mine was set to expire on my birthday, which is both an ingenious and annoying day to have something expire. Seriously, imagine if every important document we dealt with functioned the same way. Credit cards, passports, Air miles, Homeowners' protection insurance, even the yearly Costco membership.

Anyway, not being particularly keen on spending my approaching birthday sitting at the Department of Motor Vehicles, aka, the DMV, I sacrificed one morning to this necessary activity and psychologically prepped myself for the onslaught that was to come.







(Clearly, I hadn't thought my ominous excursion through. Can't you almost hear J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor playing in the background? No? Just me? All right, then.)

When I arrived, I took my place in the line that had at least twenty people in front of me. My temporary adjacent companions were a young mother with her baby, and a man who sported a wifebeater and shorts that were at least three sizes too large to sit at his waistline (as it is dictated of Miami male fashion).  By great coincidence, both of these adults happened to know each other. Sandwiched between them, I eavesdropped listened as they exchanged pleasantries about why they were at the DMV (she had lost her card, he needed to renew but the card had already expired) and fawned over the adorable little girl who was, surprisingly enough, well-behaved.




That is, the baby was well-behaved until her mother went to sit down. As far as baby physics go, the second Mom finds a moment to relax, a high-pitched wailing and screeching fire alarm will be emitted by the chubby-cheeked bundle of joy.




Trying to ignore the child, I approached the DMV clerk. From his deadened eyes and near-automaton style of speech, he made it obvious that the poor souls who are in servitude for this department are members of some underground cult that worship paying state taxes and fees. I presented my passport, social security card and  my car's registration so he could grant me passage to sit down.

He perused each document and asked:






Effectively, I needed more documents. And I thought that here in the United States, I had escaped dealing with French-style paperwork. I should count myself lucky that I was not also required to take a blood sample so they could code my DNA into their database for future reference.

After another drive back home, where I dug out a phone bill bearing my address and wondered if I should also take my birth certificate before I decided against it because it states that I was born in New Jersey (please refrain from making any "Jersey Shore" jokes), I stood in line once more. This time, as the line advanced inch-by-inch, I got to eavesdrop listen to the tribulations of a pair of teens. They still wore their high school uniforms and chatted about how they were going to mooch food over at someone-they-barely-like's house. After another twenty-person shuffle, it was soon my turn again.






I was deemed worthy of passage and was asked to take a number. I hoped the DMV prisoners would be kind and not complain about having to sit for two hours because they realized that EVERYONE ELSE was in the same boat and complaining about the obvious would have been utterly pointless.

Thankfully, a most wonderful thing happened.



A collective groan emanated from the crowd as the  two-hour wait was now further delayed by another ten minutes. During that time, I kept myself entertained by creating scenarios of what would happen should my picture turn out horrible and the clerk refused to let me take a second picture. I had already lived through seven years of having cops doubt that my previous I.D. was a real one; I wasn't going to deal with that again.







Thankfully, my picture came out quite nice and I avoided having the awkward internal conversation that I had conjured in my mind. I then proceeded to pay through the snout for my new issued strip of plastic.




When I got my first licence seven years ago, it cost fewer than twenty dollars. I suspect that when I have to replace the new card another eight years from now (when I'm 33, ack), it will be priced at $100 and that we'll be required to take aviation lessons because we will have obtained electric flying cars in the shape of big-eared elephants.

Maybe when that day comes, DMV will stand for "Ditching Mobility Vehemently." Long live Ditching Mobility Vehemently.

Barb the French Bean

**Update**

In case any of you were wondering as to how my real licence photo came out, just know that I am not entirely comfortable posting up photos of legal documents on the internet.

However, I will post this gratuitous image of how I imagined the photo for my card would have turned out, all at my expense.



(Yep. This is on the internet now. I think that I was hoping to channel some I Love Lucy "eeeewwww" spirit here.)

Hm. I think it does my hideous Jabba the Hutt sister proud, don't you? Give it up for self-deprecating bloggers as I Ditch My Vanity.

61 comments:

  1. Yeah, I change my look pretty much every year. The first time I had a beard, the second time I had really long hair, and the third time I was clean shaven. It was a pain in the ass getting into bars and such.

    Hilarious post! Good thing I've never needed a bunch of documents. I'll know next time to bring my life's portfolio though, just in case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wise choice, my friend. Please learn from my lesson.

      Delete
  2. Haha! This was so hilariously written, thank you for sharing :)
    PS I hate that awkward feeling being sandwiched in a conversation, not knowing either person!

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    Replies
    1. It is a dreadful experience, and one that garners a sense of exclusion. I don't like to feel like I'm being excluded from total strangers.

      Delete
  3. Hahah I'm going to have to go to the DMV when I move, and I am dreadddding it. Ick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ick, indeed. Be sure to take EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT with you!!!

      Delete
  4. I loved this. And I loved that the DMV guy was wearing a cloak.

    Wait, is cloak even the right word? And did I spell it correctly?

    I just realized I've never written the word "cloak" before. Ever.

    Wow. Thanks for producing a hilarious post that forced me to type the word "cloak."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do believe that "cloak" is the right word. Or you could call it a hooded snuggie. :P

      Delete
  5. DMV trip is to God's trial trip to hell above earth. I guess they recruit sex-starved, hatemongers in DMV I guess, every single one and I got my license from New Jersey, so I can understand the DMV pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *soothing pat on the back* Just remember to breathe and remain calm.

      Delete
  6. http://www.franklinmarshallshops.com/2012-new-franklin-marshall-c-203.html

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  7. Men in wifebeaters and baggy shorts? In public? Is Miami just a 24/7 studio set for bad hip hop videos?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The young men here sure seem to think so. :P This fashion doesn't attract me in the least. At all.

      Delete
  8. I really love all the things you think DMV stands for but I don't think any of them do it's evil justice. The fugue only just makes it. They should play that in the DMV. Over here you have to renew every ten years, so I have a bit left before I have to go through this. We're also not allowed to smile on our photos so I don't think something like that would ever happen to me. That's right, no smiling. I'm glad you managed to get out alive, and on the day you went in. From the sounds of it your trip wasn't as bad as it could have been.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're right, Mark. I did leave relatively unscathed from my journey into the depths of Hell.

      As for the music, the room was filled with the most dreadful sound of them all: Justin Bieber's voice.

      Yes. That's right. They were playing contemporary pop songs and I had to withstand that for two hours and ten minutes without being able to change their music.

      Delete
  9. You don't have to go through all that to renew here in Illinois... I think if you lose the card, you need all that info, but not to renew. I THINK. I wasn't exactly taking notes last time I did it..but maybe I should...hmmmmm

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In any case, verify on your state's DMV website for more details. And take all the documents you need.

      Even if the website claims you only need a handle of documents, take EVERYTHING with you.

      Delete
  10. Isn't that 'extra proof of residence' thing ridiculous? The only reason that didn't screw my wife over when she got hers renewed a few months ago is because for some reason she had an old electric bill stuffed in her purse. Otherwise we would have had to wait in line for 2 hours again, and she would have had to murder someone.

    Also, you know the worst part about these DMV mongoloids? They were taking their sweet ass time the whole time the wife and I were there. We got up to the desk after 2 and a half hours of waiting and we had to interrupt a 5 minutes conversation that 2 of the workers were having. Yeah, sorry to butt in and have you do your job, lady. But then, suddenly... they glanced at the clock. It was now 15 minutes until closing. 15 minutes until THEY went home. And they call over the loud speaker "okay everyone get into specific lines, we're gonna make this extra fast so everyone can get out on time." They sped up the process majorly, and we were out of there in 10 minutes.

    Where the hell was this for the past 2 and a half hours you lazy assholes???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surviving a chilling, horror story like that means that you deserve an ice cold beer. And maybe some tranquilizers.

      I simply hate it when people are clearly flaunting not doing their jobs right in front of your face. Or, worse, when they are addressing you, they rudely ignore your presence and keep carrying on a conversation with their co-workers. Have some courtesy, people.

      Delete
  11. I hate the DMV and it's zombiemployees, but after sitting there for 3 hours one day watching the flora and fauna pass through, I realized that if 99% of the people I had to deal with were idiodouches, I'd be perpetually pissy, too.

    (Where's the new pic from the DL? We deserve to see it!)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, you really can't blame them for being perpetually pissed off. People can suck on so many levels.

      (And see the update above.)

      Delete
    2. Love the update!
      Take heart. Four years from now, you'll have forgotten all about those idjets...just in time to do it all over again.

      Delete
  12. When I started on with the state if I got invitations to apply at DMV I would run from said invitation and get it as far away from me as possible.

    My license expires on my bday this year. You just reminded me. Ugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A dreadful, but necessary, reminder.

      "Invitations?" Is that euphemism for "death trap?"

      Delete
  13. Hahaha you just wait til I get my license! JUST WAIT!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi beans,I see you all the time at those Beer Guys place.

    done my time at the DMV's of the world. Here in the VI, they actually tell you to bring a lunch and something to read. HA!

    Don't even get me started on documentation.

    Oh and my picture, it's crap, but I ain't going back in that line for nothin'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wise choice. Once you've escaped the doom of the DMV, you really want to avoid going back. :P

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    2. Amen, Faraway...The pic isn't gonna get good enough to warrant ANY more time in that cesspool of humanity...

      Delete
  15. Oh, LOL. It's comforting, in a twisted way, to know DMV all over the world functions pretty much the same. On my corner of the world, we tend to complain-complain-complain about Caribbean laissez-faire and the *sloooowness* of it all... But, apparently, it's not just the Caribbean :D

    Glad you got the new license!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the DMV is what binds all cultures around the world. :)

      Delete
  16. LOL! Great post! I just had a "lovely" experience at the DMV myself. Thanks for visiting my blog!
    -MJ

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  17. Oh la! The Beans, not only did I feel you needed a hug just vicariously reliving your DMV experience,it brought back up my own recent DMV experience. I needed to hug myself too. Pfwhewww!
    * * *
    Your experience IS THE VERY REASON why DMV scenarios are written into sitcoms.
    * * *
    I lost my driver's license. I back tracked called to every place I'd been the week I lost it. No luck. I ended up at the DMV. Turns out I could not get a duplicate license because I in fact did not exist. The DMV recently did an interface computer upgrade with Social Security office and Social Security said I did not exist and therefore could not be approved for a duplicate license.

    ~ I then drove 5 miles to the Social Security office to ask them if I existed, where their computer pulled me up and I did in fact exist. The SS office declined me a piece of paper from their computer with my name on it to take back to DMV. Neither could I entice the SS office to call DMV to tell DMV I existed. I myself did note one anomaly. My SS had my first, middle, last name written in full. Whereas my driver's license has my first, middle intial and last name. I had to get a brand new driver's license from the DMV in the very same way as it is written with the Social Security which was approved by all their computers.

    Dang me! I was kind enough to share w/ DMV this situation might be happening for a lot of other people. (I wasn't thinking of DMV or SS. I was thinking of possibly any other person just like me.

    Only thing is with the upgraded fee schedule I only had enough cash (DMV would not accept my debit card) to get it for one year. My new license expires on my birthday this year and I have to go to that DMV once again.

    AND PLEASE don't be harsh on yourself about the 'gratuitous' photo image. It is far far better than my real current driver's license pic...and you are far more younger and beautiful than I. Thank you for visiting my blog. Very much my pleasure to get to know you. I'm @grammakaye on twitter.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, Kaye, your story is enough to make anyone's head spin. @_@ Poor you! And the fact that you have to go back there *again*?

      Thank you for such a lovely compliment! I must say that you are quite the looker yourself! ^.^

      Delete
  18. Love the DMV (sarcasm font engaged). A couple of years ago there was a huge screw up in the card making process, and my husband received a license with his name and address, but some chick's picture and signature. It was awesome. We still have it somewhere.

    And I did not hear Bach. I heard "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Just sayin.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Whoa. Now, that was just freaky. I wonder how the woman reacted when she received her card with your husband's picture???

      Delete
  19. Barb- I'm glad you survived the DMV. I beggged them to keep my old picture because it actually came out good and I still looked fairly young. I still can't believe they let me keep it!~

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You were one of the lucky ones! My mother had that done once when she renewed online, but then she had to go in and get a recent photo with her lasted card.

      Delete
  20. Hahaha. To think Orlando DMVs are much better...seriously. I don't have to wait around forever like you do in Miami.

    Hanny the coffee bean

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    1. Yeah, I remember how you once told me that you were in and out in, like, ten minutes. You'd think it would take longer for a big city DMV, too!

      -Barb

      Delete
  21. Sounds like a nightmare visit to DMV but then, when is it ever not? My DL photo is the worst photo of me I have ever seen (worse even than my passport photo) and I have to constantly show it to people for ID. Ritual humiliation on a daily basis. Argh!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The passport photo is another one that I can't wait to change. I had it taken when I was 16; I hated showing that to the French authorities at the airport. :P

      Delete
  22. First of all, big congrats on the weight loss! :D

    Your post was hilarious and horrifying at the same time, bringing back all sorts of unsavory memories pf my past trips to the DMV. It's never been anything other than hellish.

    Your funny photo is better than the "supposedly" unfunny one on my license. LOL

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Believe it or not, my funny photo is much, MUCH better than the previous one I had. XD LOL

      Delete
  23. Hubby's birthday is a week before mine so I laughed while he made several trips to the DMV. I learned from his mistakes, sometimes life is fair :}

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Heh heh. Learn from the mistakes of others!

      Delete
  24. This was hilarious! lolol... I hope I recall this when I get my license renewed later this year. It might help make the whole ordeal a bit more tolerable ;-)

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    1. Oh, absolutely. I suggest taking a book with you to read!

      Delete
  25. I will definitely have to remember all of my documents when I go get mine renewed... I'm not sure I would have gone back home. I would have left defeated and had to endure it another day. Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Good on ya for sticking it out! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Had I lived far away from the DMV, I probably would have left if for another day myself. But it's merely a ten minute drive (with minor traffic) for me. :)

      Delete
  26. I went to the DMV to renew my license last year. It took hours to get all gussied up. I was almost excited for a new picture. When I got there, I was told I would not be taking any pictures because I look the same. My face is frozen in time, which would be fine if it wasn't so funny looking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, la la! I had the opposite happen to me when I had to get my visa from the French consulate. I showed up with a copy of a passport-sized photo and didn't even bother to put on make-up the morning I went. Then, when I arrived, the secretary took my passport-sized photo AND snapped an image of my no-makeup face.

      ...Guess which photo went into my visa? :P

      Delete
  27. I've moved a lot so I've had lots of ID photos. none have been awful except my passport where I look like a boy. So that's pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Long live the day when you renew your passport photo.

      Delete
  28. Hahaha.

    I feel your pain. I went to our DMV and they have facial recognition. The computer would not recognize my face. They took my picture 9 times, each time saying things like "Raise you eyebrows" "Smile less," "Smile more", "wiggle your nose". They finally had to override the computer. I look very surprised in my driver's license.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh, man. I hope they never try facial recognition with the DMVs down here! It would take FOREVER.

      Delete
  29. This was hilarious! I love your wit. Luckily, in the UK we can just pop an envelope in the post... bet you're jealous?? I know what you mean about the picture, I mean a passport is 10 years. My first one, the picture was taken just before my 16th birthday, and I had to live with that spotty, pudding bowl-haired look for til I was 26. Mind you, my new one probably isn't much better! Thanks for following my blog.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No problem. I'll have to change my own passport in a couple of years. I only hope that I don't physically alter too much from what I look like now! :P

      Delete
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Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb