Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adventures at the DMV...

Today I ventured to our beloved Department of Motor Vehicles to upgrade my drivers license to a New York State enhanced license. I don't have a passport, never fly internationally, and don't want to shell out $110 for one. However, I live within driving distance of the Canadian border, so I want the freedom to take daytrips there. I'm envisioning a Henry-free afternoon spent at a winery and shopping at cute places at Niagara-on-the-Lake with my hubby :)

So anyway, before I went, I headed to the DMV's website. After clicking with increasing pissiness for 5 minutes, I found a checklist of needed documents for an "EDL." This is necessary because I swear to the heavens it's a conspiracy at the DMV that no matter what overflowing sheaf of papers you come in with, it's never enough, and then what happens? You have to go back. And for the love of God, you never, EVER want to have to go back to that cesspool of disgruntled humanity that is the DMV. So I get my checklist and pore over it. I even printed a copy of the application form and pre-filled it out so that it might save me from waiting in another line. Yes, I emphasize *another* line because it is absolutely inevitable that you will be waiting in multiple, confusing lines at the DMV filled with angry people. This was foretold in the book of Revelation.

Thus, this morning, the first thing I did was look up what time the branch I wished to go to opened. 10 am. K. I arrive at 10:04, documents anally paperclipped and clutched in my anxious hands. From the parking lot, I espie a line. Oh fabulous, a long line. With no foreseeable entry point. It's this giant, winding leviathan that appears to have no beginning and no end. It was the alpha and the omega.

After gently elbowing my way through, someone took pity on me, showed me where the end was, and explained that this was the "Information" line. Doesn't matter if you actually need any information or not, you gotta wait in the line. So I do. There was a loud group of girls ahead of me and quickly, they got on my nerves. I have some kind of odd noise sensitivity and loud talkers and laughers just make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I'd rather not hear about their adventures in a local bar this past weekend. TMI.

I wait, and wait, and wait... we crawl along. Occasionally, the red sea parts to allow people to access the exit door. All look either (a) confused, (b) exhausted, or (c) extremely surly. Eventually I get to the front of the line, and the guy that provides my Information is surprisingly nice and competent. He seems equally shocked that I'm so organized and have all the proper documentation. It's a miracle. Sort of like the entry in Hank's childrens Bible that we read together last night at his request: "Mommy, where is 'Jesus Walks on Wato?'"

DMV guy asks if I want a new photo, and before he can get the question out I'm saying YES. Who likes their drivers license photo? I dare anybody to say yes. Naturally, I've prepared for this moment by wearing a cute shirt, combing my hair, and putting on lipstick. Lun.a.tic. I arrange myself and my picture is snapped. I'm asked to pick the pose I prefer while all I can see are orange spots, so I hope I picked a good one. A number is slapped into my palm and I'm told to wait in the oddly enormous and plush seating area. Numbers pop up on an overhead screen like a game of Keno. It's all sort of surreal.

Finally, my number is called and I'm herded to desk #7. Another shockingly pleasant person takes my paperwork and tells me to have a seat until my "interview." This sounds slightly scary, but I try to wait patiently. I wait, and wait, and wait... An unhappy customer keeps cutting into lines to complain about something, and he's starting to tee me off. None of us are having a good time here, ok buddy? Go sit down and wait your turn. By time I'm called up again, I have serious ants in my pants. Another *extremely* nice woman finishes up my application process, charges me $65, and tells me to have a nice day. My new license, complete with hopefully adorable picture, will arrive in the mail in 2 weeks. Total wait time - one hour and thirty minutes.

As I leave, an older couple grumble past me, murmuring sentences laced with exclamation points and the words "stupid" and "asinine." Just another day in paradise at the DMV.

After I get back to work, I had a reference desk shift. A man came to the desk looking for a book in the science book collection. He swore up and down that the QA section "just isn't there." "I'm telling you, it's just not there." More intervention required by the Catholic Librarian, who did so with an angelic smile :)

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