Thursday, October 4, 2012

87 shades of beige

It's a dive building in a dive strip mall in a dive part of town.  I spent an enjoyable time there yesterday.

How I got there reads like a math problem.

Q:  If the DMV's hours are this to this, and Wolfgang's schedule is that and that, and Mom's schedule is so and so, at what date will the three meet?

A:  Yesterday.

Math problems never tell the human side of the story.  About the divey DMV and about how that is the only location in the county where one can get a  new teen driver's license or permit.  About how it is also the only location in the county where those who have had their licenses revoked can get them reinstated.

As a result, the clientele consists of happy teenagers and criminals.

There I was.  With my happy teenager.  I suppose that's better than being there as/with a criminal.

As most know, the DMV is never a "quick errand".  Wolfgang got home shortly after the afternoon crosswalk action and we readied ourselves for the dive.  He got the required paperwork together while I assembled my survival kit.

Hmm... a book?  I considered bringing the 50 Shades book, but then the image that formed of me reading it in the dive DMV queue with Wolfgang, happy teens, and criminals just didn't seem right.  I threw a small sketchbook in my purse and we were off.

And it wasn't all that bad.  I learned a few things.  I learned that the worst times to go there are summer mornings.  I've been there three previous times in a little over the last two years.  Always in the summer, always in the morning.  Tsk Tsk.  Twelve hours of my life... gone.

I learned that ankle tracking devices used for criminals were inspired by a Spiderman Comic book.  I learned that when you're sitting in the DMV looking for things to look at, it's pretty hard to miss ankle tracking devices on the ankles of people wearing shorts.

I learned that DMV clerks at that location are strangely friendly, personable, and dare I say, witty.  What's up with that?

Oh well, we didn't stick around to find out.  We were out of there in a record time of 87 minutes.  But who was counting?


  1. I was waiting in the emergency ward of a local hospital with my husband who had early onset pneumonia, when an inmate from a local prison was escorted down the hall in shackles. That was weird.

    "There I was. With my happy teenager. I suppose that's better than being there as/with a criminal." I laughed at that :)

    1. Ankle tracking devices were an eye-catching twist to an otherwise mundane chore. I can only imagine shackles!!

  2. Oh my gosh I laughed from beginning to end! So funny! :)
    I can't really relate to your particular DMV. Ours has issues for sure, but our clientele isn't near as diverse as yours. I'm happy to hear it only took 87 minutes of your time, and thanks for spending a few extra minutes reliving it for us to enjoy!
    I'm curious about what Wolfgang thought of it all? Was this his first experience?

    1. Wolfgang's been there once before, to get his learner's permit. It's handy from the parental perspective. Sort of like "Scared Straight" in real life!

  3. I spent 3 hours in the emergency room when I dislocated my shoulder. I may have been in a wee bit of pain at the time but I definitely recall several characters with "police escorts" in tow. Good to hear you figured out the DMV system. Always a challenge to try to minimize your time "in line".

    1. On the rare occassions I've been to an ER, I've never seen anyone police escorted. I guess I won't rush to go just to witness that.

  4. I probably waited 1.5hrs at the Driver's License place in the divey strip mall. Of the dozen or so waiting, I was the only English as a first language (EFL?) customer.
    Vehicle registration is a different strip mall in an eveb divier part of town, so I go to the "upscale" town up the road; their dives are classier than our dives. Either way, it costs an extra $12 to title & register a vehicle at these for-profit "satellites" -- which I gladly pay.

    1. We seriously considered going to the less divey DMV in the next town up the road. In the end, we just weren't organized enough. Either way, it's a far cry from the days when the whole DMV was Mr. Whitehead.

    2. ....the most appropriately-named fella EVAR!

  5. Why is the DMV always so far behind the rest of the modern world? Oh yeah. They're a state agency. I think ours is finally now accepting check cards rather than strictly cash or checks!

    The clientele is not nearly as interesting at our local DMV. Ours is in the neighboring city, which happens to have a somewhat more upscale population. So we just tend to see snobs.