Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This morning was spent at the DMV - 3 hours.  That should say it all.  Anyone who has had to spend time at the DMV (and who hasn't) will know what I am saying.  The DMV has no mercy for the old, the young, the weary or the stupid.  We are all treated equally by government employees who have to deal with it all.

The old - One women, who must have been in her mid to late 70's, very nicely dressed and put together, wanted simply to make an appointment.  She had called the day before, and after going through the lengthy automated process (which is unbelievable in itself), was told the next appointment available was not until the third week of February, two weeks after her birthday and the expiration date of her current license.  At the DMV she was told that she could wait in the line with the others who did not have an appointment, currently 50 minutes deep and wrapped outside of the building, or call the 800 number to make an appointment.

The young and the stupid - This was the second trip to the DMV for me in the last 3 days.  My nephew (the young one) needed to take the written test in order to get his permit.  On Monday, with no appointment scheduled and hopes of getting in and out, we drove to the DMV that I thought might be the least busiest, wrong!  The line was out the door and inside it looped around a couple of times.  We waited out the hour stay in line only to reach the woman behind the counter with a disappointing tone as we realized that my nephew needed his birth certificate in order to verify his ID.  Hello! How stupid are we?

The weary - Today we made our second trip back to the DMV.  This time we went to what I thought might be the second least busiest DMV, wrong!  We planned to be there when they opened to get the advantage.  With proper ID in hand we arrived 10 minutes after they opened to find again another line out the door and what we thought might be a 20 minute wait.  An hour later (and a trip to Starbucks) we made it to the front of the line. Paperwork in hand we took our seat and waited the next 55 minutes until my nephew's number was called.  He left for the window indicated on the TV screen while I sat behind and opened my book.  As another hour passed I saw my nephew heading my way.  I followed him outside unable to tell whether or not this exhausting 3 hour adventure was going to have a happy ending or a long enduring ride home.  Success!

As I sat there watching people come and go, renewing their license, registration, ID's, watching people trying to figure out ways to avoid the long line only to be sent back to the end, I realized the one thing the DMV was very clever about...the voice that calls your number is so kind and gentle it is hard to be angry as she calls out the next number and you realize you are still 20 numbers back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a rough time at the DMV. I, like everyone else, have also been so frustrated with my experiences there. Something interesting happened the last time I went, though. I was talking to my representative who said that due to the state furloughs (budget induced) & being closed more often, the lines were out of control every single day now, not just at busy times. I learned the DMV workers are suffering, too. Hopefully we can rectify our state budget soon to address things like this.

Congratulations to your nephew! Having a driver's license is a milestone event.