Free-Floating Hostility

Saturday, January 22, 2005

My Trip to the DMV

Most of you know that I as yet do not drive. I got a permit when I was 18, allowed it to lapse, failed the written test for a new permit when I was 22, passed on my second try, then allowed that to lapse, got a new one at 23 in New York, and failed to do anything with it before going back to California. Last fall I returned to the DMV to face my demons, only to discover that the birth certificate which I had used to get a) all previous permits b) my passport and c) married, was not an original but a copy. I was not only mad that I couldn't have a new permit to let lapse, I was nauseated at the ease with which one can apparently get a false ID from a real government agency. After some tangles with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I was able to obtain a proper birth certificate, and armed with the latter I headed back to the DMV this week ignoring the nagging suspicion that these events were all hints from God to stay away from cars.

The staff of the Davis DMV are fairly depressing people. The boss, at 6'5" with a JerriCurl, towers over his staff of middle-aged women who have given up on life, freely dispensing reproach to his underlings and would-be drivers. For some reason, this man terrifies Michael and causes him to avoid the DMV at all costs, which is why it took so long to register the car. When my number came up I obediently went to the counter of a woman I will call Tootie. Tootie was relatively friendly, as DMV staffers go, and took a reassuringly long time to examine all my official documents. I was starting to feel better about national security when she turned to her neighbor, whom I will call Merle, and said, "Hey, Merle, look at this. New York City birth certificates say you shouldn't accept them unless you can see the security features listed on the back." Merle turned to her coldly and said, "They all have that, Tootie. You know they all have that, right?"

There was one last hitch in that the DMV does not take credit cards and because I do not drive I had to walk over the freeway to Safeway in order to find an ATM before I could take my test, but I made it in time. Fortunately it had taken so long for Tootie to get to me that I had ample time to study the California Driver's Handbook and therefore passed the written test with only two mistakes (you're in a truck's blindspot if you can't see yourself in the driver's mirrors? That's supposed to be useful information??? More like the correct answer should be stay the fuck away from trucks.). So, I have my fourth permit, and am determined not to turn 25 without a driver's license. I drove to work yesterday and it wasn't that bad. Cross your fingers for me, and for everyone else on the road.

1 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Form at January 22, 2005 4:04 PM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Mazel Tov! Driving is awesome, especially outside of New York. It is one of the major things I miss about living in a big city. (I do not paying for parking or car insurance at all though.)

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