August 31, 2011

All's well that ends well

My big projects for work are done and therefore, I've been avoiding the computer. It's been lovely! Well, except for what I've been doing now that I'm not tied to my desk: trying to get a Texas driver's license.

In every other state I've lived in, you trek to the DMV and wait in line and they deal with everything all at once. Perhaps you have to get the car inspected, but they can handle everything else with one stop. Not here in oddly bureaucratic Texas (Republicans AND lots of red tape? Seems contradictory...)

When moving from out of state before one can procure a driver's license, the car has to be registered! And before registering you need car insurance and an inspection. THEN you have to go downtown to register the car and pick up the plates. Only after that can you go through the traditional DMV hell. Which is in an entirely different location.

Unfortunately for me, not only did I have to do all that, my California license expired on my birthday in late July, so I had to do the written and driving exams. At 2:30 yesterday, I passed the written test, but they said I didn't have enough time to take the driving test before they closed at 4:30. Back I went this morning.

"Go wait in line 10, ma'am."

I walked to the back of the building and saw a line of 10 people waiting in front of counter 10. There were empty chairs in the middle of the room, so, being 5 weeks away from delivering a big-headed baby boy, I pulled one into the line so I wouldn't be on my feet while waiting. Apparently, the rule that people in Texas are nice ends at the door to the DMV. The woman running station 10 called over the counter, "Ma'am, I need you to put that chair away and stand in line." I raised my eyebrows at her and shrugged as I followed instructions. Everyone else in the line gave me a sympathetic look.

When we got to the front, the older man in front of me gestured for me to go ahead of him. I smiled and shook my head and indicated he should go ahead. He tried to argue, but Bossy Lady called him forward.

While he was still standing in front of her, she beckoned to me. I went to the counter and started to put my Kindle away and get out my paperwork. "You don't have your paperwork ready?" She beckoned the guy behind me to step up to the counter. I stared at her in disbelief as she proceeded to handle all his stuff, answer two phone calls and then finally process my stuff.

I wonder if it was racial. I was one of only two white patrons in the building the whole time I was there. The guy behind me was her race. Could have been she assumed I was presuming on white privilege, or could have been innocent, but the combo of incidents was NOT pleasant.

THEN, it was still going to be over two hours before I could take the driving test! I went home, made lunch and then headed back down to purgatory. To take the driving test, I had to wait in my car in a line of cars, in the lovely temperate Dallas weather (105 degrees in the sun) for over 45-minutes. I thought my air conditioning was going to die.

When it was time to take the test, I was super careful, looked both ways at every intersection, slowed down and looked both ways when crossing the railroad tracks and thought I'd aced it. The tester told me I hadn't looked both ways (I guess just using my eyes wasn't enough, I should have turned my whole head each time), I'd not used my turn signal when parallel parking (fair), and hadn't stopped at the line for the stop signs. Thankfully, I passed anyway.

She then told me to go back to line 10 to get my license.


Fortunately, there wasn't a line.


Aimee said...

Wow. Just awful. Pergatory, indeed.

Lil'Sis said...

ugh...i have no other words for that than ugh.

Inkling said... Do they know how crazy they are? I mean, you can carry guns and ammo in Texas, and they are just asking for you to use it on them! You, my blogging friend, have the character of Job for keeping your cool in the face of absolute insanity. My brother and I have always believed that they interview the most legalistic, illogical, power-hungry people for DMV jobs and then take only the most insane ones.

Here in BC, they make you wait in one line, then give you a number where can go sit and wait until your number is called to do whatever business you need to do. It's not a bad set up, considering some of the crazy stories I've experienced in the States.

Have you ever seen the Validation video on YouTube? Kurt Kuenne is the guy who acts in it, I think. It sounds like the DMV folks could learn from it. =)

I'm glad you are officially licensed. Hopefully you won't have to enter purgatory for a long, long, long time.

Snickollet said...

What an ordeal! As I was reading, I was getting worried that in the end, you weren't going to get the license. Glad that you ended up with the license in hand, but what a massive amount of frustration. Ugh. So sorry.

michiganme said...

Unbelievable. I think you should write a letter to her boss. Wouldn't that be Rick Perry?

otr mama said...

(re: michiganme's entry) "Like"

Rachel said...

Wow, what a nightmare. Glad you got the license, but that sounds like a terrible ordeal. Why are the people at the DMV always so surly, anyway?

Jen said...

I think you found out first hand how Texas is keeping people employed! Paperwork takes up tons of man-hours.