I had to go renew my driver’s license today as it expires next week. I have previously been able to renew my license via mail however this year I did not change my address with the DMV soon enough and they mailed the forms to our old apartment. It apparently takes an act of Congress and more super powers than I possess to get someone at the DMV to send you a duplicate set of forms so off I went.
I knew this whole shebang was not going to go well when I strolled in to the DMV 15 minutes early for my appointment, only to be told I was mistaken and that my appointment was an hour later than I thought. The lady working the desk was very nice and informed me that I was welcome to wait but they wouldn’t take me before my appointment. I could either go to the coffee shop down the street and come back later or I could add myself to the “walk-in” queue, wait time approximately two and a half hours.
So I did the logical thing and went down and got myself a cup of coffee and people watched the yuppie Pleasanton soccer moms. It was at the same time relaxing and annoying because I wanted to get the DMV thing over with sooner rather than later as I still had to drive into work today. About half an hour later I got bored at the coffee shop and decided to head back to the DMV and read the book I thankfully remembered to bring.
I don’t know if any of you have been to the DMV recently but they are SO much more high tech than they were a decade ago when I took my initial driver’s test. I walked in and the woman (same nice lady) looked me up, gave me the forms to fill out and pointed me to a seat. Once I had the form filled out she took the clipboard and other paraphernalia and punched something into this little machine and out popped a number on a slip of paper. All around the room were TV screens displaying various numbers and which desk those numbers should go to. Mas fancy.
I settled in to wait and dug out my book and made some sort of polite comment to the lady on my right about the fancy high tech thingamajig. She was equally impressed and we began a conversation lamenting the release of our current licenses with their younger photos and smaller numbers in the weight field and the joys of taking our behind the wheel tests. She remarked to me that she failed the first time she took the driving test only to be told at her second appointment that the man who had administered her test always failed people who came in on their 16th birthday. I guess it was his thing. But how disappointing to fail the driver’s test on your sweet 16 birthday!?!? It totally ruined her birthday and I could totally understand.
I then shared the story of MY behind the wheel driver’s test and how I too failed it the first time. I had practiced SO hard and was really excited and feeling confident the day of my test (which was the day AFTER my 16th birthday – cheerleading practice – you know). I remember my mom had a Honda or some other such foreign four door sedan that I was going to be driving. Things for my test appeared to be going really well and the guy who was administering the test was friendly. Back up along the curb – check, three point turn, check. I was doing great!
As we were finishing up and heading back to the DMV we stopped at a red light and waited for me to make a left turn. When the light turned green I zipped right out there and made my left turn. I looked over smiling to the guy, sure I was going to pass with flying colors, and in a very dry voice he said “there was no left turn arrow at that light”. Whoops! Is that bad? Needless to say I didn’t make THAT mistake the second time around and managed to get my license on the second try.
And I always check to see whether I am at a left arrow or not before turning now. Ahem.
Anyway, this conversation with the woman in the waiting room passed the time quickly and I had barely had a chance to read my novel when my number was called. The rest of the test passed quickly, with only a minor scare at the eye test (my eyes and mouth don’t work so well in tandem), and I was quickly being handed my temporary slip of paper showing my license was not indeed expired. I managed to get out of there a mere three and a half hours later, which would have been only two and a half if I had managed to get my appointment time right.
Just think! I get to repeat this whole scenario in a few months when I change my name. Woo Hoo!