Friday, June 5, 2015

Let's hear it for the DMV!

Also, screw the DMV. You heard me. What? I'm complex and can feel several ways about things at once. I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles yesterday expecting something like Jean Paul Sartre's existentialist play No Exit, but with way more people and far less hope of getting out. Instead I was in and out in fifteen minutes feeling exhilarated, and yet at the same time conflicted. I was confliterated.
Look, I majored in theatre so can we just pretend that
was funny and that I didn't waste like four years of college?
Above: a typical DMV employee. Zing!
If you haven't already guessed, I'm about to make fun of the DMV which is, you know, pretty hacky. I'd like to apologize upfront and offer you a chance to bail out. Just so you know, I'll be going for some low hanging fruit here. Still with me? Great. Anyway, I had to go in because I renewed my license like three months ago and still haven't got it in the mail. There's no way to track it or check the status online, because apparently we live in the 11th century, so I've been driving around with an expired license which, turns out is kind of illegal.

I was kind of dreading, as one does, going to the DMV. Not just because of the interminable wait, but also because I think they staff every waiting area with at least one typhoid sufferer who will, without fail, sit next to and cough all over you the whole goddamn time.
Something something, the DMV sucks.
See? It's a comic gold mine.
Pictured: some of the many people
who hate my fucking guts.
Fun fact: did you know you can make an appointment? Well you can and totally should. It allows you to skip the just showed up like a sucker line and get into the way shorter people who took three minutes to make an appointment line. The best part is that both lines lead to the same desk with the same clerk (are they clerks? Agents? Concierges?) which means not only did I waltz past people who've been there for like forty de-humanizing minutes, but also that I was tying up the only clerk who wasn't at lunch (no, really). Their hatred was palpable.

Yes. It felt exactly like that.
So I get up to the only clerk, the eyes of everyone behind me stabbing into the back of my head like daggers, and I explain my situation. The clerk, let's call her Nicole, looked up my file and discovered that my address was wrong in their system. She fixed it, printed out a temporary license, resent my new one and I was out the door in fifteen minutes like the King of Department of Motor Vehicle-ing (and like, the Duke of Appointment Making). So thank you Nicole, you are now officially my favorite person until I forget about this whole thing and move on. So like, for a couple of hours. Tops.

Step 1: Press 'print.'
Step 2: Wait 8 weeks.
Step 3: Put it in the mail.
Ok, so a visit to the DMV didn't suck for once, where's the conflict in my otherwise exhilarating confliteration? You'd think it'd be from guilt surrounding the class based system which separates appointment people from non-appointment people, but to my surprise, it's not. I mean, just make a appointment. It's not hard. What I want to know is why is everything at the DMV always seems like such a brutal, time-consuming ordeal when it took Nicole like 30 seconds to fix all my problems. Like, when I renewed my license in the first place, the website said they'd need 60 days to send it out. 60 days. Nicole hit 'enter' and it was on its way. What gives?

I mean, is she a wizard? Or could it be that everything the DMV does is like secretly super easy and that they just complicate it deliberately with their bureaucracy, arcane forms and phone trees that lead nowhere because they enjoy cultivating an air of arbitrary authority combined with a shocking contempt for our time?
"Greetings registered driver. The auspices are good. If you fill out a change of address form today,
the fates may see fit to grant your request. Take a number and have a seat over there by the coughing man."

-Nicole, DMV clerk and wizard

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