Friday, August 23, 2013

In which I am interpellated by a state apparatus.

I'm discussing the D.M.V., of course.

The people, in seven days it will be my birthday. I'm telling you know so you can start to compose your wittiest birthday wishes for Facebook. Or in person, whichever. Actually, I'm only mentioning my birthday (in seven days) because I'm hoping someone will bring me a cupcake.

NO. In point of fact, I am only mentioning my birthday, which is in one week, because I'm reminding you that I had to renew my driver's license.

Which can send a person into a tailspin, if you ask me, what with the whole memento mori aspect of it all. Yep, you're getting older, tempus fugit, too bad that your diem hath already been carpe'd and soon you're going to die. But not before you have to go to the D.M.V.

Luckily, I have a friend who is extremely in the know, who told me, when I was moaning in this fashion about this very topic last week (on Facebook), that you could make an appointment at the D.M.V.! And it would be super speedy, snappy, and relatively pain free.

Well! I got on the internet and found the fake Driver License website, and then discerned that it was fake when its information was patently archaic, whereupon I found the one true Driver License website. Whereupon I made an appointment and filled out my paperwork online. Whee! Then all that remained was to locate and assemble all the billion documents you need to demonstrate that you are a real person who really is a citizen (or not) and who lives here, in Utah, really, and also that you are not a fake person who just wants to while away her days in the D.M.V. in the hope that she will acquire a Driver License, I guess.

Luckily--and this is huge!--I only had to look five places for the folder that I labed "DOCUMENTS" many many years ago. A folder is one thing, but the real question--I hope you're feeling the suspense--is whether the DOCUMENTS folder had, in all actuality, any documents therein. But it did! I only looked five places--four of them file drawers--found the folder, looked in the folder, and therein I found, and to wit:
  • a certified copy of my birth certificate, speaking of memento mori
  • a copy of my Social Security card 
If I had needed to, I'm certain I could have rustled up my passport. But I didn't need to, according to the instructions on the website, which were clear-ish on this topic. Even so, I brought a recent bank statement, just in case.

So here's how it goes: you walk into the D.M.V. with your documents in your hand. (You will already have wrestled with yourself about whether you will wear and/or display your reading glasses, which you do not wear to drive--you will conclude that honesty is the best policy, you don't after all wear them to drive, but you do in fact need them to read.) You scan the room and find the sign that says:

If you have an appointment, 
check in here.

 So you'll walk over and check in. They will then send you to the woman who takes the pictures. She will persuse your documents and stamp them and instruct you to sit in the chair, then look at the camera. "You'll see a flash," she says, helpfully. Which you will. She'll give you a number and you'll go wait in a chair for about 90 seconds before they call your number.

You'll talk to the guy and he'll be extra friendly. "Delaware," he'll offer, as a conversation starter. "The only state we see less than Delaware is Rhode Island."You'll chat about this, and then about the reading glasses, and then you'll take the eye test, which you may actually have dreamed about the night before. You'll lean your head against the machine, which will light up the screen. Yeah, you'll think, those letters on the left side are kind of ... flickery? Then you'll realize that you can't fidget. Your head has to lean up against the machine with steady pressure. Once you realize this, the letters on the left will swim into place, and you'll read the letters on the top row like a boss. Or well enough, anyway, because you'll get the license.

The guy will print out your temporary license. He'll punch a hole in your old one. You'll look at your new picture and reflect that you look simultaneously exhausted, truculent, startled, and--inescapably--older.

And this will temper your sense of triumph that you're walking out of the D.M.V. precisely ten minutes after you walked in.


  1. I LURVE the DMV appointment system. It makes me feel smug.

  2. Oooooh! I wonder if the Alabama DMV has uch a system? That would make me so happy!

  3. And this post was worth its weight in much gold for all the practical info here. Thank you, HTMS!



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