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DMV-Department Miserable Visit

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A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is likely NOT a preferred way to spend any part of any day. But, to drive “street legal,” it is a process to undertake every four years for a license-to-drive renewal. The trip could also be needed to deal with expired vehicle tags, unraveling some vexing auto insurance issue, registering a new-to-you vehicle bought from a private citizen, or, for the embarrassing task of replacing a drivers’ license lost. That brings to mind thoughts of how getting to the DMV could be tricky if driving one’s self without possession of the license…or  enlisting a family member or friend as a chauffeur. That’s a story for another day. This story is about the DMV visit I made earlier this week to renew my license AND because I’d lost the damn thing. Convenient, maybe, but when I explained to the receptionist I need to renew my Class B CDL AND I’d lost the license, well, routine inconvenience met frustrating embarrassment when she asked, “Do you have your long form physical?” Ooops. A detail I’d overlooked requiring another DRIVE to my personal physician for the process. “I need a long-form physical?” She nodded with a look of exasperation. “Well, I, well I suppose I’ll just renew with a Class E personal license,” I said, having already spilled the beans that I’d lost my soon-to-expire anyway card. “Take this number and wait to hear it called,” she said. I should have known something was wrong when I saw the number was an “F” series …for ****ed up. I was about 10 minutes into my “wait” when I saw the Now Being Served board had a number of “F506” …and the clerk behind that window was nowhere in site. Add to that my observation that 10 of the 20 DMV clerks seemed to decide to take a break at THAT precise moment. Note, now that my take-a-turn-and-wait number is F508. “Great,” I hissed through gritted teeth. “THIS is an omen.”  Over the next hour, many numbers were called. I heard EVERY letter in the alphabet from A to G, but not the first F. When I saw a K series number pop up, I’d had enough. “In ten minutes I’m out of here,” I promised myself. At the eighth minute, I heard “Now serving F508 at window number 5.” I was so intent on leaving I ALMOST didn’t hear the call. It repeated. “I’m right here, on the way!” Fearing I’d lose my place because the call repeated twice more. There was an exasperated look on the clerks face as I made the window.  “This will be painful,” I thought as I explained my situation about no physical and having lost the original license. What I heard next was both pleasing and unexpected. “Here is the physical form, you have a year to get it and renew without having to test again.” WHAT? A break? At the DMV? Oh, joy! Add to that, she readily suggested renewing to a Chauffeurs License, which opens a few doors for driving opportunities, and proceeded to ask the standard questions on the form, of which two gave us both a good laugh. “Have you ever become unconscious while driving, other than normal sleep?” Uh, no? “Is there and condition you have that would make you physically unable to drive?” The pause was that one extra beat before I heard myself say, “No, nothing other than road rage, I think.” For the next heart beat I thought the clerk might get really ugly, but she and I both broke into a hearty laugh! I departed the front door after about an hour and twenty minutes with the possibility of easy Class B CDL renewal within the year and street legal to drive until 2016. In the end, my “Department Miserable Visit” (DMV) proved less miserable than I thought it would.

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