Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The 9th Circle of Bureaucratic Hell - A Trip to the DMV

I got a letter from the DMV
the other day.
I opened and read it
it said they were suckaz!

-The Pharcyde

Seven months ago my license expired, unfortunately, I just realized. Luckily, by living in New York I avoided blatant, although ignorant, law-breaking. But I did have to venture into the New York City bureaucracy and renew and transfer my license from Massachusetts.

Few things in our mass-marketed-over-hyped world live up to their reputations. You will sit in stop-and-go traffic on I-95 during a holiday weekend. You will wake up on March 18th with a hangover. And you will wait and wait in line at the DMV. So here are a few observations and thoughts while standing in line in a downtown Brooklyn DMV.

One minute in line and someone is already storming out having been turned away after a good 90 minute wait in line, muttering under her breath, "mutherfuckers, you could have told me that while I was standing here." The DMV, ladies and gentlemen! Now I'm really looking forward to my stay in line and beginning to second guess that I'm in the right one.

I sympathize with the workers a little bit. If I had to deal with stupid questions from even dumber people for 8 hours a day I probably wouldn't smile much either. Case in point, the man who’s arguing that his birth certificate should count as identification despite the fact that it is clearly marked on the website and the wall as counting for “zero points” towards your ID requirement. The workers don’t make the rules, but they do need to enforce them. There's a reason they made the two most loathsome and miserable Simpson's characters DMV employees.p and s

90 minutes later I'm at the front of the line and I can't wait for my moment to shine. My palms sweat when I'm called, praying I've filled out the proper forms and have "six points" worth of identification. The woman scrutinizes my forms, passport and SS card, clips them together and tells me to wait for my number to be called. The good news, I'm through stage one! The bad news, there are two more stages.

20 minutes later I'm at stage two. I have a friendly chat with the Yankees fan employee who ribs me about the Red Sox. I take the punishment, he wields too much power at this point to call A-Rod gay or call Giambi a steroid abusing dickwad. He takes an awful photo of me (I look like I aged 10 years since my last photo taken only five years ago. Maybe it was the blinding light they shine in your face after telling you to stare at it.) Swallowing my pride get ready for stage three, the eye test.

I'm dreading the eye test and I brought my glasses along just in case. I always wear my glasses when I drive, but I don't want it noted on my license, because sometimes I forget my glasses. The eye test is taken at the cashiers desk. There's an eye chart about 5 feet away just behind the cashier and consists of one line of inch high, bold, capital letters. In other words, the eye test is a gimmie. After acing that I breath a sigh of relief. I also make a note to myself to keep a better watch of the cars in my surroundings because in all honesty Stevie Wonder could probably pass that test. I pay, take my temporary license and check the time. Two hours and five minutes since I first stepped into line. Not too, too bad and I feel like I've done my patriotic duty, withholding our nation’s great bureaucratic tradition, The DMV.


Geoffrey said...

gpkfahud. Oops, sorry that's the word verification!

Seems to me that you were the only person waiting "in line" at the DMV. All of the New Yorkers were waiting "on line." Glad to see you haven't become a complete New Yorker.

Rick said...

I argue with Jodi about this all the time. It's "in line" no question.