Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yup, the DMV

image In California the DMV was about 4 miles from our place – after licensing myself and 2 cars, I figured out that you can’t EVER go there just once to get things done, they don’t design it like Target –where you can get everything in one place.  I imagine the rest of the government works like this – but really only have experience with the IRS outside of the DMV, I don’t think the post office counts because that is like a real business. 

In CA you had to have proof of insurance linked to your driver’s license.  For some reason they lost my record and gave me like 3 days to prove I had insurance.  Easy because I emailed that, except I emailed the address on the card they sent me and that was not active any longer- so after a few of these things, I got it right. 

Today I went to license and transfer title to our new SUV –the Lando aka the 13mpg snow beast.  Piper asks every day when I pick her up from school if it’s still green.  She also will come into my bedroom after I’ve gone to bed to tell me she wants ‘Floop Loops’ for breakfast.  I’ve fallen off the subject….

First I had to get an emissions test – sort of makes sense, but in NH they have this racket called a State Inspection – you go to just about any place that has guys working in coveralls and they do these inspections.  They basically check to see if your car is roadworthy – checking things like windshields, brake lights, brakes, and a few other major safety items.  It makes a lot of sense because I’ve seen some real pieces of decroded crap on the roads.  If your car doesn’t pass inspection – it means you have to get something fixed, just so happens they can usually fix it there for a few hundred bucks.  I found that usually you could bring your car to a few places and basically go with the place that said you needed the least amount of work.  They always got me on ‘ball joints’ about $200 each side + labor.  But they don’t do that here.  Just emissions.  $15.  Cool.  I get 13 mpg in the city but I somehow still pass emissions. 

So I’m at the DMV with a folder full of all the paperwork I need.  Oh yeah, I have to pay the sales tax on it too.  Ugh.  The lady was pretty nice except she said I was missing a signature.  Crap. 

So I leave and call the lady who is like 2 hours away. 

She just so happens to be on the way to a meeting down the street from my office – so I go get her signature and then hustle to the DMV.  I started this at noon btw…

I got back to the DMV.  I grab ticket number 77 and they’re on 33. 

Now in Washington there are a lot of people from all over the world.  A lot of Indians, Mexicans, Eastern Europeans aka Commies (sorry, I just watched 2 days of James Bond marathon that taught me that they’re bad), Whites and Asians.  At the DMV this becomes an interesting mix, an ethnic jambalaya of sorts.

There’s the nerdy Microsoft guys – they go in pairs together because I’m guessing one of them is a dungeon master of some sort and the friend has to go along to keep a protective spell.  I’m just guessing this, but I’m probably right.  When on Friday afternoons guys bring in robots to fight each other – you know the combined SAT scores are probably in the 99th percentile. 

There were Mexicans, all in 2’s and 3’s.  In CA, there was at least 1 person there at the DMV who spoke spanish – in WA, the DMV was staffed by all Asian ladies who didn’t appear to be solid in their Spanish.  So that sort of made things creep along real slow like.  Lots of staring at each other and slow speaking but not much getting done.  I’ve been in meetings like this at work.  There were more people who came in looked around and left.  Maybe they were looking for some DMV gift certificates or something. 

There were a bunch of white guys but they were a tough working crowd, I felt a bit out of sorts in my gore-tex TImberland fancy boots among the guys all in black steel toes and Carhart jacket/pant combo.  They could have all played pretty believable pirates if they just had swords and the big hats.  Lots of scars, missing teeth, and certainly the most stinky bunch of guys I’ve been around except for the homeless guy who’d poop in the bathroom consistently at Burger King. 

One girl was there, in WA on a college internship and she tore her miniscus or something in her knee and needed a handicapped parking pass for 2 months, her surgery was tomorrow and I knew this because she was a loud talker.  She was from Wisconsin.  Probably the loudest talkers are from Wisconsin.  I also know that she had an existing cyst that they’ll go in and take out why they’re fixing her knee.  I mean really, that’s a lot of detail for the DMV lady. 

Now they’re in the 50’s. 

Number 57 is a lady who is getting new plates.  Somehow this also meant she needed to explain to the lady behind the counter about the new Bodies exhibit at the museum and that you really need 2 days to see the whole thing. 

Number 63 was a Chinese girl whose dad gave her a car.  She really is saying that because if you don’t pay for a car, you don’t have to pay sales tax on it.  Apparently her dad also gave her sister the same car a few years ago and you can’t give a car as a gift twice.  She had to pay.  But they don’t take debit or credit cards but they do online.  They also have a cash machine that got quite a workout in the lobby. 

The pirates were numbers 64-76 (some were just renewals, which they could have done online but not everyone knows about the internet) and then it was my turn. 

$1,100 later, I had new license plates and a truck ready to roll.  Except it needs an oil change.  I was out the door 4.75 hours after I had started.  Forget fixing health care, fix the dmv.

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