Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Surreal Life


My day at the DMV

Yeah, I know, complaint stories about the DMV are so incredibly clichéd, but honestly, as long as I have called and made appointments in the past, I’ve never had a problem. Breezed in, 10 minutes, breezed out.

Not this time.

This experience was a SNAFU beyond belief. So sit back, relax, and enjoy my tale of torment and woe.

So, I’m doin’ the whole post-divorce name change thing, right? I started with the Social Security card (and by the way, THEY are a government agency who has their act so totally together it’s amazing – zero problems with them). Once that was done, I was free to move on to the DMV.

I followed the instructions on the DMV website and made an appointment.

I showed up 15 minutes early for the appointment because that’s just how I roll, yo.

This is where it all went to hell. No handbasket involved – it was an express cart.

The local DMV is located in a strip mall. Don’t ask me why – that’s where it’s always been since back when I was 16 and took my driver’s exam for the first time. When I arrived, I immediately got an unpleasant feeling as I realized that most of the strip mall’s buildings and parking lot were either gone, or were in the process of being bulldozed away. The heaviest area of construction seemed to be at the end of the mall where the DMV had been located. The building was still there, but the parking lot in front of it was ripped up and I felt a bit queasy as I thought it looked like they had closed or moved that office and never updated the website.

Still, there seemed to be a lot of cars and people down that way so I decided to park and check it out. After picking my way through rubble and bulldozers and enduring the obscene catcalls of the construction workers (note: I will NEVER in a million years understand why men do this – I cannot believe that there has ever been a woman in the entire history of womenkind who has EVER responded to this. But whatever) I finally realize that yes, one door of the building is open.

Unfortunately, there is a massive line of people straggling out of it.

Still, I’m early, right? I have plenty of time to get up to the appointment desk and get my business taken care of.

Then I get through the front doors and get a look at the horror that is taking place inside. The place is JAMMED with people. There’s ONE long line leading up to a desk and the line is not moving. I look in vain for any signs saying “appts. go here” in the hopes that I, who have an appointment, need not wait in the line of doom. I also look in vain for any signs or actual human workers who can tell me what, if any, forms I need to fill out before I get up to the desk.

No luck. In either category.

So, after heaving a huge sigh of annoyance, I enter the line of doom. I stand there for 15 minutes and the line doesn’t move at all. However, a DMV worker finally appears and starts pulling various people out of line after asking them questions so I think “a-ha! he’s searching out the ‘appt. people’ and giving them preferential treatment. I shall be saved as soon as he gets to me.”

This, gentle reader, was not to be as I quickly realized that the only people he was pulling out of line were female, dressed like sluts and under the age of 18. This, apparently, is far more effective at the DMV than having an appointment.

Finally, in desperation, I ask the people in front of me if they have appointments. This does not work as they do not speak English. Then, I notice a group of about 5 people standing up at the desk where the line of doom eventually terminates. They are not actually IN the line of doom however and yet some action seems to be taking place in their general vicinity.

I get out of the line of doom (a calculated risk) and go over to this group. Hooray, they are all “appt. people.” I am saved!

Apparently, having an appointment does mean you get to be in the shorter line and then you are processed alternately with the people from the line of doom. An improvement, but a very small one.

It is now 15 minutes PAST my appointment time, but I wait patiently and finally it is my turn at the desk.

Whereupon the zombie retard worker looks at me and says “I’ll be right back.” AND THEN HE LEAVES!

I should mention here that what is happening at the desk is that they give you a ticket and send you over to chairs to sit and wait for your turn. So, again, having an appointment buys you very little as it still does not mean you are going to get processed.

But I digress.

Zombie retard guy is gone for 15 minutes. I see him wandering around the rest of the DMV office. He randomly stops to chat with other co-workers. I think he went to the bathroom. He got some coffee.

Finally he returns and I prepare to tell him that, hey, I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT. You cannot make me wait in line with the rest of the unwashed masses. Okay, so I would never really say that, but I am still suffering from “appointment-having superiority complex” at this point so go with me here.

As I open my mouth to explain, he looks right at me and says “Sorry, I can’t give out any more tickets right now. I’ll come back when I can.”


I do not get a chance to make sure I am in the right line or ask about forms or tell him my appointment-having status.

Now my line of appointment-people and the line of doom people are all just left standing there, slack-jawed in amazement. And then things begin to get ugly. There is muttering and then louder muttering and I’m sure there would’ve been torches and pitchfork if, you know, we’d had them handy.

Finally…30 minutes later!...a zombie retard chick walks up to the desk and she looks right at all of us and then ignores us. She staples some papers. She gets her purse out and puts on some chapstick and then checks herself in the mirror and then she goes and wanders around a bit and then finally comes back and asks “does anyone here have an appointment?”

YES! It’s my moment of triumph and so I (and about a dozen other people) all raise our hands and pretty much scream “I do! I do!”

At which point she looks very annoyed and says to all of us “okay, whoah, back off.” Listen, dorkface, YOU try standing in line for an hour while no one helps you and you are patently ignored when, dammit, you had an appointment!

She then says she can help “registration people only.” So all the people who are there to register title or pay their registration or whatever, get to jump the line. I’m still standing there, first in line, still not being helped.

Finally another DMV zomboid comes over and whispers in her ear and I guess maybe the planets have correctly aligned or something because they are now going to hand out driver’s license tickets.

Which means me.

Yay. Finally.

So the zombie retard chick looks at me and asks me for my paperwork. Whereupon I pull out my current license, my divorce judgment restoring my maiden name, and my new social security card with the name change on it.

And she says to me (in a voice that leaves no doubt that she thinks *I* am the zombie retard) “no, your PAPERWORK.”

Now, remember back when this all started that I looked everywhere for signs or a person to direct me to the correct forms and found nothing except the lines? Which led me to assume that one made one’s way up to the front of the line and was then directed to the correct forms (if any)?

Yeah, not so much.

So I tell her “What forms? I’ve been waiting in this line and there’s no one to answer any questions nor are there any signs directing anyone what to do.” She looks at me as if I’m a particularly dim-witted species of jellyfish and then turns to the room in general and yells out a name (which I didn’t catch) and lo and behold, it’s junior perv guy who was pulling all the young chickies out of line and ignoring the rest of us. He walks up and she asks him “how come this lady doesn’t have any forms?” Ah ha! HE was supposed to be working the lines and directing people, but was too distracted by 16-year-old butt cracks to do his friggin’ job.

Perv guy looks at me and then looks back at the chick behind the counter and (with a totally straight face) says “oh, she must’ve slipped by me.” Now, before I can flying tackle this guy and beat the crap out of him while screaming “SLIPPED BY YOU, MY ASS!” over and over, the chick nods wisely, says “yes, she must’ve slipped by you”, hands me some forms, tells me to fill them out and come back.

Yes, people, I have now waited 2 hours in line and accomplished exactly nothing.

But I have an appointment!

I get the forms filled out, take them back up to her and she gives me a ticket and tells me to go wait in the chair area. Great. I’m still in line, but at least I’m sitting down.

Ten minutes later I get called to a window, processed, photo taken (yay, no more FAT GIRL D/L photo!) and I’m outta there.

Two hours of bureaucratic stupidity for something that took ten minutes to accomplish.

Only at the DMV, folks.

But make sure you have an appointment. It really makes a difference.


P.S. The new D/L arrived in the mail this week and while my hair looks a bit funky, the picture does not suck at all. I was shocked, but pleased. As far as the state is concerned, Kelly Osborne is no more. I’m back to Morgan now and couldn’t be happier. I even made it to the bank this weekend to get the name on my account changed, new checks ordered and a new ATM card ordered. No more lame Ozzy jokes every time I pull out my card at a store. Woo hoo!

1 comment:

Kaos Siberians said...

And not a day too soon!

Congrats on surviving the DMV/namechange horror.

Now, imagine that you use a name NOT your birth name, but have NEVER bothered to get your social security card changed to reflect your "use" name...and then get married and try and change both at the same time.

Now that, dear, is HELL. Your two hours at the DMV...hah!