Recently, I received a notice in the mail from the California Department of Motor Vehicles. This piece of paper informed me that my driver’s license was near its expiration point. This signifies two things…One, that I am about to turn thirty and have thus outlived many ancient Eqyptian kings and queens; Two, that I have to venture to the vapid, bureaucratic mental parking-lot that is the California DMV. For some reason, this notice also informed me that I needed to take the written portion of the test as well. Should I study or just wing it? I like to believe I am a knowledgeable driver. This idea, coupled with the fact that I’m lazy and slightly arrogant, means that there will be no handbooks being opened or websites perused.
Thanks to modern technology (my camera phone) and unending boredom (standard DMV waiting time) I decided to document the affair.I arrived to the Costa Mesa DMV office around 8:30am. The line to get in was out the door and around the corner at this time. Nothing for me to do but jump in de line, rock my body in time (OK, I BELIEVE YOU!). The line is mixed with young folks studying up before they try for their permit, people like me renewing licenses and registrations, and older folks who seem excited to be a part of something. In front of me was a young girl looking over her Driver’s Handbook as if it was a signed copy of Twilight (New Hoon perhaps?). Her Teva-wearing father was doting over her nervously as they both were waiting for mom to arrive with a copy of her birth certificate. Behind me was an older gentleman who has no problem with litter, seeing as he felt the ground was a good place for the random wrapper he had in his hand. Teva-Dad did not like this and stared down Litter-Guy for a minute, then shyly turned back to his daughter and did nothing. The most eventful part of my morning had passed.
As I waited in line, a DMV worker appeared and helped answer any questions or provide any forms that people may require. For some reason he was also wearing a lab coat. I didn’t know that the DMV employed scientists but Dr. DMV was friendly and helpful despite his ridiculous white laboratory attire. In fact, all the employees I encountered in the DMV were friendly. I expected grunts and stares for most requests, but everyone was quite pleasant and helpful.
Finally I could see light, but this was just the beginning of the tunnel. I entered the facility nearly 45 minutes after arriving and I was again face to face with Dr. DMV. He looked at my paperwork and handed me a tag with a number on it. I was now to be known as G-049. It felt good to get inside and be assigned something but the second phase of operation Make Jeff Go Crazy was underway.
I found a seat and prepared my mind for a nice long wait, meanwhile my ass was already trained to sit and do nothing. The only thing I brought with me to stay occupied were my cell phone and my imagination. One of these things is laggy and annoying and the other runs wild and rampant. It seems others around me were not ready to succumb and sit quietly while the call of of random numbers and letters turns this open-floor office into a boring bingo hall. With no one to talk to, I regressed into the form of a 16 year old girl and turned to Twitter and Facebook to occupy my time. Here are a sample of some of my not-so-sane tweets:
Dear “bro” next to me, your sighing doesn’t make this DMV experience go faster. Sincerely, annoyed in Costa Mesa 9:54 AM Jul 29th
Dear uber important lady, your phone call can wait. We don’t care about your security sys/H2/Jag/2ndhome in VA. Sincerely, please shut the F up 9:58 AM Jul 29th
Dear DMV number caller, please call G049… sincerely, bleeding brain in Costa Mesa 10:02 AM Jul 29th
When they call my number at the dmv, I wish I had the price is right theme song cued up. 10:22 AM Jul 29th
Eventually, Twitter and Facebook no longer provided the stimulation I was craving so I begin to check the place out. The place is adorned with posters and various informative pieces of paper but the building is standard government drab. One corner had some vanity plates and a poster which I found hilarious.
The DMV Bingo Caller finally squeaked out what I had been waiting to hear as “G, 49” came across the speaker system. It was time to step to the counter and pay the $31 I owed to Governor Terminator.
After forking over my
wife’s hard earned debit card, it was on to the photo area then ultimately the testing section. I was going to make a stupid face, but I tried that last time and it turned out that I just looked ugly. This time around I went with a simple half-smile and pseudo boy-band hair…I think the look suits me.
My photograph in the system, I was now herded over to an area with testing spaces. The two-sided test sheet has 36 questions on it, but since I was renewing I only needed to complete one side and 18 questions. If I got 3 or more wrong I would fail the test. Was I nervous after I read that? Actually, yes I was…but just a little bit. I finished in about 5 minutes and got in line to have my test graded. In front of me was a young, cocky d-bag who was smiling and joking around. He was pretty sure he was going to pass, and exclaimed this to his waiting mother. He strode confidently to the counter and his smile slowly faded…he had failed…for the third time. I feel bad that I felt great pleasure from this fact, yet I don’t feel bad that the CA DMV is keeping another dumb driver off the road. It was now my turn to hand over the test. The lady graded it and was clearly surprised at the results.
Come on now hoons, did you expect anything less? The woman behind the counter did, because this is California and people don’t know how to drive here.
Time inside the California Department of Motor Vehicles behaves in mysterious ways. I have identified the fact that the DMV building acts as a time vortex, and time slows to a near halt. However, once you are outside the building time instantly speeds back up and you are now transported hours into the future. I entered the DMV building around 9:14am and exited it around 11:30am. I declare this phenomenon to be known as Glucker’s Theory of DMV Time Wormholes. Hopefully Morgan Freeman will discuss on an upcoming episode of his new show on that-one-HD -channel that I don’t recall at the moment.
If you have any tales of the DMV, please feel free to share them in the comments – you know we love hearing from you.