Officially, I now dislike the DMV more than I loathe WalMart.
My first awful experience with the DMV happened when Cherry Ames was getting her learner’s permit. We showed up, copies of all necessary papers in hand (birth certificate, social security card, proof in insurance, my driver’s license and the log proving that she had completed the first six hours of driver’s education). We hopped in line all smiley and optimistic and started the long crawl to the counter. I spoke with the lady in front of us, telling her how my “first baby” was learning to drive. We visited with the folks to our sides as we snaked back and forth through the canvas corrals, inching our way to the front. After an hour and twenty-minute wait, it was our turn and we stepped up to the counter, spread the papers on the counter and handed the clerk our forms.
“We need the original birth certificate with the embossed stamp and the original social security card, Ma’am.”
What? Since when is a photocopy not good enough? And WHY isn’t this information posted in the instructions in the Driver’s Education packet? I yank our book out of my bag, turn to the instruction page and show the clerk the yellow-highlighted instructions that read “…copy of birth certificate…”.
“Sorry Ma’am. You’ll need to come back another day with original documents and then we can process the paperwork and get the permit.”
Flash forward a few years, and I am once again heading to the DMV for a learner’s permit, this time with Princess Pea. It’s the beginning of Christmas Break, and I have a pile of ORIGINAL documents in my hand, forms filled out and backup copies of everything. We wait – a mere hour this time – march to the counter and triumphantly spread the paperwork before the clerk.
“We need a VOE.”
What the heck is a VOE? The clerk explains that it is a “Verification of Education” form. I need proof that the minor child in my company is enrolled in school. A new requirement. I didn’t know it was a new requirement because we were using the same set of curriculum documents that we used to teach Cherry Ames how to drive. Princess Pea had her student ID with her, but was that enough? Uh, no. I had a tuition payment receipt in my handbag – was that proof enough? Still, no. There’s an official form that has to be signed by a school official, notarized and dated, and has to be presented to the DMV within seven days of issuance. But it’s Christmas Break and the school is closed for three weeks.
Skip through several more years. I took off work early last Friday to take The Architect to the DMV to get his learner’s permit. I had all of our original documents, the instruction log, a VOE from the school, insurance papers, my license and even a copy of the current water bill, just in case we needed to prove residency, because, well because by this time, I’m sure I’m going to get through the DMV process with no problems. We show up right after school and wait in line for an hour. Then, as luck would have it, we get the little old lady clerk who moves slower than molasses in January. By the time she finishes reviewing all of our documents, signs the papers and hands back the receipt, it’s 4:45 pm.
“We shut down at 5:00, so you will have to come back on Monday to take the test.”
What the heck? I swear, he can finish the test in 10 minutes – it’s multiple choice and nowhere near rocket science!
“Sorry, but we go home at 5:00 and cannot start administering a test at 4:45.”
Sure enough, another young lady comes out from behind the counter at 4:47 and starts escorting the fourteen or so people in line behind us out the door, telling them to come back on Monday morning. The doors will open at 8:00 am.
SO. The Architect and I are at the DMV at 8:05 this morning, to find the parking lot full and the line already backed up out the door. There are four clerks at the counter, but they are all either shuffling papers or talking on the phone. They don’t even start calling people forward until 8:20. We only wait in line for a very brief 45 minutes before getting to the counter, present our papers and check in.
“I’m sorry. We can’t administer driving tests this morning because the state computer system is down.”
I swear, I thought my head was going to explode. They could have posted a sign on the door or something. And no, they are not authorized to administer a test on paper or orally, unless you have a certified education plan that says you have some sort of disability that prevents you from using a computer terminal. This is why I now hate the DMV more than Walmart.
The clerk was very apologetic. I did manage to restrain myself from flying over the counter and whacking her upside the head, which turned out to be a good thing. Why? Because she gave us a magic ticket for whenever we come back for a third time for The Architect to take the test. He just has to show it to any of the clerks at the counter and won’t have to wait in line. Yeah for that!
When DirtBike gets his license, we will get through the line the first time. I have two years to prepare.
Keep the Faith.