Location: Oregon, United States

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Red Tape Days

Red tape days would be the opposite of red letter days. They are a nuisance, an irritant, and a pain in the tush! I'm off on a rant, so here goes:

Yesterday, I decided I was ready to take the knowledge test in order to get my Oregon driver's license. In order to do this, I needed to find some basic paperwork to prove my identity and my address. This is not a big deal, but things are still in, shall we say, some disarray, so it is a pain. Then I decide that as long as I'm at the DMV, I should get my license plates for the car. This means I will also need the title to my car and proof of insurance. Paul has been doing (or not doing, as it were) the filing, so finding the title may be a crapshoot. Which it is. If you were a Paul, where would you file it? Under A for automobile? T for title? C for car? It is not in any of these places. I locate a box of papers from the laundry room that has not been filed and find the title to his car. I find the proof insurance to his car in my glove compartment. Finally, in frustration, I call him at work and get his voicemail. Then I leave an email. By this time, it is 11:00. What a waste of a morning!

Paul gets back to me around noon and tells me I can't find the title "because I'm not looking in the right place!" I'm not laughing. He says it's in the fireproof safe in the garage. Now why didn't I think of that? And where is the key? Hmm, maybe it's in any of three places, all of which are notorious dumping grounds for things that Paul doesn't have a logical place for. I locate a few promising bundles of keys and try them one by one. I am ready to break out the crowbar when I notice that the lock has a series of numbers on it. Sure enough, it matches the key and I'm in and the title is there. Now I can go to the DMV.

Ha! You thought the rant was over! No! The DMV is a rant in and of itself! It was all I could do not to organize a mutiny while I was there. I certainly had the time. Getting a license consists of several steps which I will now enumerate:

1.) Enter DMV office. Look around for some indication of what to do next. Read sign stating that you should take a number and speak to the person at the information desk to get the correct forms. There is no person at the information desk. I take a number. It is 225, and they are currently calling number 175. Only 50 to go!

2.) Sit down and wait. While waiting, watch other people entering and attempting to figure out step one. This provides some decent entertainment.

3.) Read the fine print on your number slip because there is a lull in incoming entertainment. Realize that you are supposed to have the paperwork filled out when you approach the counter.

4.) Locate the wall with all the papers displayed on it. Or nearly all. I think. Because how would I really know? There is no one at the information desk! So I take one for the license plates and another to apply for a Class C Commercial license. This doesn't sound quite right, but it is the closest I can get, so I sit down and begin filling them out.

5.) Wait some more. By this time, it is more interesting to watch the people who have been here a while. Especially the woman running out of the place with her teenage son saying loudly, "Son, we've just broken every law in the book. Now RUN!" While he looks bewildered and follows after her. Sure would like to follow up on that...

6.) Wait some more.

7.) Get your number called! Locate the person behind the counter that called your number (there is no flashing light, or flag, or any indication which person called your number...what if I was hearing impaired? What if I didn't speak English?) This person ends up being very nice and informs me that a.) I cannot get my license plates today because I need to have an emissions test done and b.) that my other form indicates I would like to drive very large commercial vehicles. Which I don't. So I explain to her that that was the only form I could find, which she did not acknowledge, and we proceeded to fill out the correct form which she magically produced. Then I paid her for the privilege to take the test, she gives me the paperwork and instructs me to put it in the Red Bin across the room.

8.) Put paperwork in Red Bin. Look around to ensure this is the correct Red Bin because it feels really random.

9.) Wait. Watch others as they put their paperwork into the Red Bin. Or not. Some people stand there and get the man's attention behind the counter before putting their papers in the Red Bin. Just to be sure. I don't blame them. At this point, I am watching the clock. I got here around 12:30. It is now 1:30 or 1:45. Can I take the test and jump through the other hoops necessary before I need to leave to be home in time for the kids?

10.) Have your name called so you can take the test. 30 questions with 80% accuracy required. I am stinking nervous about this test and my stomach is in a knot. I figure they will ask me all the stupid questions like, "What will your punishment be for your first DUII offense?" I did not pay attention to this portion of the handbook as it most likely won't apply to me. Now I wish I had, because I'm sure 90% of the questions will be on this section. Fortunately, they don't and I only get one wrong - "What is the speed limit in a business district if the speed limit is not posted?" I guessed 30. (It's supposed to be 20 - I looked it up when I got home).

11.) Pass the test. Check in with the guy behind the counter for further instructions. He tests my eyesight, puts my paperwork on another woman's desk, and tells me to wait. Big surprise.

12.) Wait as instructed. Good thing I'm a rule-following first born. Watch people finishing their test. Now I know that the ones who have their eyes checked passed and the ones who don't failed. Ooo.

13.) Watch the woman who now has my paperwork have a complete sneezing fit and disappear.

14.) Watch the clock as it ticks away the minutes before I have to leave.

15.) Watch the woman who has my paperwork reappear and make a phone call.

16.) Look away so I don't have someone come and haul me out for threatening her with my eyes. So help me.

17.) Have my name called! Pay the woman so that she will give my paperwork to someone at the other end of the room.

18.) Wait at the other side of the room. Good thing I can walk.

19.) Have my name called! Have my picture taken.

20.) Wait while they print and laminate the ID.

21.) Have my name called! Win the prize for butt-ugliest ID photo. Maybe if I hadn't been there for 2 1/2 hours my makeup would still be fresh and my hair would be doing what it is supposed to! Ugh! I hate this place! And I get to come back tomorrow to do it all over again for the license plates. At least I know to bring a book...

To be continued...


Blogger Teresa B. said...

I loved reading all of this. Laughed out loud at #5 at DMV! We are coming in early August. Will email or call with details. We want to see you! love, t.

3:54 PM  

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