Saturday, January 23, 2010

...and thank you for visiting your local DMV office...

I haven't visited a driver's license office in many years. I have the same dread most of us do: I might have to take a test; I will surely have to wait in an interminably long line; and I'll wind up carrying around a truly horrible picture of myself. Whenever possible, I do things online.

Volunteering at the high school directly behind my house, however, requires a California ID. My Washington State Driver's license won't do. Apparently, proof of existence in Washington state doesn't mean I actually exist in California. (I wonder if I would disappear if I lost my WA license while in CA?) Swell. A visit to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was in my immediate future.

My first overture to the DMV was on the internet, of course. I was able to set my appointment online. Yay--something I recognize as a Good Thing! The office was very full when I arrived, but I was moved fairly quickly through the lines. A man complained bitterly that I was getting preferential treatment. He was told an appointment is a Good Thing (see? I knew it!). I filled out forms, answered questions, and actually got to the front of the line--ready to have my picture taken. But the printer wouldn't work. Then the computer wouldn't work. Then the phone stopped working. Uh, oh. I broke the system!

I felt compassion--and not a little concern-- for the DMV employee who stood on a chair to tell hordes of people in myriad lines that all systems were down in Sacramento. Everyone had to come back later, maybe tomorrow. The bitterly complaining man's face turned bright red and a vein stood out on his forehead. He stormed out the door. A Good Thing, because just then the beleagured employee behind the counter told me my information made it through before the system crash, so I wouldn't have to come back.

As the sunshine hit my bemused face outside the building, I mentally gave hero awards to the DMV employees who braved sullen crowds and continued to work--fairly cheerfully--under such daunting conditions. And I wondered if I really would get the ID card in the mail within 3 weeks, as the man behind the counter said I would. (I did.)


Anonymous said...

Bitterly Complaining Man must not have used the services of Washington State's DMV. Our state is somewhat hit & miss. There are some who make it an ordeal, and others who seem happy to return a smile with a smile. -CP

Bemused Boomer said...

You sound like the motivation speakers--or Abraham Lincoln: everyone is just about as happy as they make up their minds to be!

OK, I admit, I was kind of annoyingly cheerful that morning. I was so pleased to have my very own appointment that I made on my own computer without any help. I'm probably lucky he didn't smack me one!