Wednesday, June 6, 2012


To say a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is challenging is a dramatic understatement.  It's brutal!  There are always huge lines, too little staff and employees that seem to take fiendish delight in thwarting sincere attempts at being card carrying, law abiding citizens.

When we arrived at the DMV, there were only three other customers there.  What's wrong with this picture?  Had we entered the Twilight Zone?  The place is normally crazy-crowded and getting your license, registration and new plates is guaranteed to be stressful, squared.  With only three people here, how long could it take?  

Our branch offers a unique little twist - before you can approach the actual license bureau line, you have to talk to a pre-screener whose job description must be to force you to leave the office empty handed. I think she probably gets a performance bonus if tears are shed during the process. 

Katie had researched what she needed and she arrived at the office well prepared. She took her social security card, her Ohio driver's license, her passport and a copy of our 1040 tax form from 2011, all to prove that she was who she said she was and that she was living in our state. As additional proof of identity, she also took her mother. It was not enough. 

 "We have to have an original of the tax document; a copy won't do" said the pre-screener.  I could hear triumph in her voice.

Kate, who had devoted a significant portion of the morning on her hair-do for the photographic portion of the process, was undaunted.  We went back home, got the entire packet of tax forms and came back to the DMV again. Of course now the place was jam packed - and people were not oozing friendliness, either.  I toyed with the idea of bursting into song, but as I was mentally going through my repertoire searching for something suitable for my debut, suddenly it was our turn.

This time as the pre-screener green-lighted Kate for the license bureau line, she also told me - with nothing short of sheer joy in her voice - that in addition to filling out an intimidating and ridiculous form for new license plates, I had to go to another city to pay personal property tax on the vehicle before I could purchase the the plates and tags.  And, of course, it was too late to make that round trip today.

The picture on Kate's new South Carolina license is very flattering, which is lucky because she will be carrying that very same license for the next TEN YEARS!  It doesn't expire until 2022, making the $25.00 license fee the bargain of the decade, I'm pretty sure.

I couldn't resist humming a happy tune as we left the building.

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