Maybe God wishes to teach me a thousand new things, move me from being in a thousand different directions to just ONE, and show me a thousand reasons to BLESS his name. Maybe that is why He moved me 1,000 miles away.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Day at the DMV

Some may remember my story from the DMV in Chicago....following the yellow painted lines on the floor which was meant to guide one around to the different desks. The day I was there, the place was basically empty. I was told to follow the lines anyway, and the worker would then come over to the next post, rather than just helping me through all the steps at just one desk. I recall laughing at the oddity and lack of efficiency at the DMV and how comical and almost cartoon like the experience was. After today, I would take the Illinois DMV in a heart beat. And Minnesotans, you are spoiled with your many locations around the Twin Cities. In PA, I had the choice of going to the DMV in Allentown, or traveling almost 2 hours to the DMV in Harrisburg.
Here is my story.

Today I left the house at 10:30 to get my PA driver's license. I had all the documentation I needed to prove who I was: my MN license, my social security card, my raised embossed birth certificate, and two forms to prove my address. I walked in with the kids and saw the sign, "only checks and money orders accepted. No cash, no credit, no debit cards accepted." Of course, I didn't have the checkbook. I waited for Roy to arrive with the checkbook and then was able to get my number. The number I was given was C-109. The number being served at the time was C-62. I filled my time with looking at a magazine, watching moms try to keep their little kids happy, and the man who's job it was to make everyone with a water bottle or cup of coffee leave the building. There was also a place where no one was allowed to stand and wait, and Iwatched him tell people they had to move from that area. There were many signs around the room: No food, no cell phones, no loud talking, no drinks, no standing here. What can one expect, however, in a state where on the roads Left turns are not allowed and there are stop signs on ON RAMPS. Insane. After a 2 hour and 45 minute wait for my number to come up, I finally was able to bring my paperwork and check to the counter. I joked about the long wait with the lady at the desk, "Well, I should just make this visit to the DMV counter an experience worth the near 3 hour wait and enjoy my time here!" She glared at me and said, "It's like this every day. Talk to your government representative and tell them to open up another site." OK. After our 10 minute transaction I was sent to another line for my picture to be taken. The nightmare I never had (but would have had I thought of it) was coming true...I was going to live for the next 4 years with my puffy, 37 week pregnant face on my driver's license. At this point, I really didn't care. I jumped into line and looked at my watch...I had only 40 minutes before I had to leave to pick up the kids (which Roy had driven to class when we saw how long the wait would be) from the church near our house. After 50 minutes in line, it was my turn. The 85 year old couple in front of me (bless their hearts) took a while to process. So did the lady who couldn't speak English. So did the young man who didn't understand what TEMPORARY LICENSE meant and needed an 8 minute explanation. So did the girl who after her picture was taken needed to ask for driving directions. The man was pleasant enough...which was part of the problem why the line was taking so long. I told him I didn't have time for pleasantries anymore as I had been there almost 3 1/2 hours and was late to pick up my kids. He took my picture and asked me if it was OK. I previewed it, winced, and said, "at this point, what's a bad picture?" He sympathetically printed out my temporary license and Audrey and I RAN to the car to get the kids. I arrived 10 minutes late, and found them waiting in the rain for me.

Audrey asked me many times why we had to wait for a license for so long and why we needed to get one and why did we need a new license in a new state if I didn't have to take a test and I had a license in our old state. I told her it was because the government wanted our money, and I'd be back here in four years to give them more money. She seemed satisfied with this explanation. She then with a loving look said to me, "It was kinda hard to wait so long. But, I thought today would be the worst day of my life, but it was a good day." "Yes," I replied with a convicted soul, "it wasn't fun to wait, but I guess tomorrow it really won't matter that today was like it was."

Basically, at the end of most days, I realize I should complain less about the things here that are hard, strange, lonely and different. Hopefully, I'm complaining in my heart (and sometimes out loud) a little less. But, I may just write a letter to my representative, whomever that may be.


2and2is6 said...

oh my gosh- I'm exhausted just reading about your day-seems like it should be on SNL- not your real life!!! and seeing your tight, shiny foot- ouch! Thanks for taking the photo- that's a sight worth sharing! You're amazing to be able to laugh your way through the hassles of your present life- so glad your children are so wonderful and praying for loving and supportive friends to emerge quickly! Missing you and the kids tonight!!!

Kerri said...

ugh. It's the poking fun and knowing that my crazy friends are actually reading my antics that is keeping me sane right now.

Having a little downtime in the evening at the computer is my solice :)

rumpfork said...

Today at work I was chatting with a lady who just had a baby at age 42. As always happens, I once again starting thinking "I'm not too old! I could have one more!". Then I came home and saw that foot.

That DMV story is just insane. It also made me really miss Audrey. :(

Here's a poll idea for you - baby names! Let your public have a vote!

pw said...

Man. When you move again, move to our homely state of WI. Here its a snap to get your license. It took me less than ten minutes to receive my license (in hand!) and they only asked to see my "old one" for proof. No other forms of ID. Nothing.