Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's amazing, the many types of people you find in the line at the DMV. A wide array of humanity, shuffling through the turns of the line, patiently(or not always) awaiting their call to a window.

The line was already long when I took my place. There was the man who expressed his regret, "I should have remembered to do this online," he proclaimed to all who waited, waving his envelope in the air. Further ahead, a woman rocked a car seat with her foot, bending down to offer a bottle when the baby squirmed and whined, and shoving the whole apparatus forward with her foot when the line moved. At one window, far ahead of me, an infantile young man(he looked FAR too young to be old enough to be applying for a license, but maybe that's just me getting old), handed over his documents and his cell phone, before disappearing behind a wall. At the second window was the client who doesn't want to understand that whatever she wants, is not going to happen today. "What do you mean I need...?" "Can't I have it faxed?" "Are you sure you can't just stamp it?" On and on, she would not leave the window. And we wonder why the DMV people are grumpy.

I was there to register my truck and horse trailer, finally trading my lovely green and white Vermont plates for ones of gold and blue. I dreaded it. Yes, I am shallow enough that, while green was maybe not the best match for my blue truck and my white trailer, the new plates are simply hideous. It still had to happen. I must add the fact that I was already frustrated as my computer froze three times while I tried to print out new insurance information. A five minute chore turned into a thirty-minute ordeal.

Step by step, person by person, I crept closer to the window. The mother strolled out the door with the baby seat draped over her arm, swinging with the motion of her stride. The proclaimer got his renewal, though he loudly congratulated the young man on his perfect permit test score.

"You'll make a good driver. Probably better than me. Just remember, if you get pulled over, be respectful and don't give the officer trouble and he'll be nice to you." The young man smiled and nodded, thrilled with his future behind the wheel and a little leery of this large man's advice.

It was finally my turn. I handed the woman my paper work. She looked it over. "Your registering an out-of-state vehicle. You need to fill out this form." She handed me a green sheet of paper, marked with red pen to indicate the required fields. Off I went and dutifully filled it out(and another for the trailer in anticipation) and got back in line. It was slightly shorter. This time a couple were bickering about what forms they needed.

"Do you have that one?"
"You sure it's filled out right?"
"I think so."
"Did you sign it?"

She turned her back on him and shook her head. They reached the window and she gloated when all was in order, "See? I told you."

Behind me, the woman who refused to take no for an answer had returned. She sighed dramatically and crinkled her papers, muttering, "I can't believe this. Such a pain."

I worked my way back to the front. We started over. She typed away, verified my license and passport. Yes, I am who I claim to be. Then she paused. Uh oh. "Your insurance card says 'replacement vehicle.' Are you transferring tags from one car to another?"

"No." Oh no.

From behind me the complainer yelled, "Hey, do you have a bathroom?" The answer was no, which prompted a new round of grumbling.

My attention returned to the woman behind the window, "You have to call your insurance company and get them to take the 'replacement vehicle' designation off the card. Have them fax it and I'll call you to the front of the line as soon as I get it."

Oh crap. Really? Sigh. Out the door, called the company(who were very nice, by the way) and went back inside to, yet again, await my turn. I met "Complainer" at the door, she gave up. I gave thanks for small favors. After a few scant minutes I returned to the window. More typing ensued, plates were pulled from a drawer, papers were stapled together, I thought my hour-plus ordeal was over. Screw registering the trailer, I'll come back another day to do that. I could finally go home, ride, garden. After all, it was a beautiful day outside and I'd wasted too much of it here.

The woman behind the window stopped her typing and shuffling. A crease appeared between her brows. She flipped a page back and forth. She turned to me and shook her head.

"Your insurance doesn't take effect until midnight. You'll have to wait and come back Monday."

1 comment:

  1. Great ending! So DMV! I sympathize! Talk about turning a button hole into a sleeve :)