I hope I didn’t scare you away with my title. It was the thought that crossed my mind as I sat at the DMV for four hours on Saturday. I had 0% food in my stomach. I feel like it’s important to add that information.
The only people excited to go to the DMV and walk out of the building a brand new person, alive, confident, and charismatic, are 16-year-olds who have passed their driving test and can finally cruise with their friends down the boulevard. That changes drastically when you have to go back approximately seven years later to renew your license. You think, “But I already passed the test. Do I seriously have to renew this? THIS IS BOGUS.”
Scratch that. The first time that kid goes to renew their license, they’re turning 21 and in the United States, that means they can legally drink which basically takes the fun out of it. So, they STILL walk out of that DMV a confident and charismatic person because they can shove that new shiny ID in the bouncer’s face as they stumble into the club. Many of us New Hampshire kids found reasons to head up to Canada for the weekend just to drink Canadian alcohol and eat poutine. Not I…I don’t care for your poutine, Canada.
Renewing your license after the age of 21 will make you think of a million things you’d rather do, such as eat a bucket of tarantulas or stab your arm repeatedly with a rusty knife.
Let me paint a picture of what the DMV looks like in New Hampshire:
A tiny, one room building with approximately two people working at the counter. You don’t even need a ticket number. It costs approximately $50 for the application and the actual license. You do a five second vision test, take a decent picture because nobody is rushing you, and you’re out the door twenty minutes later.
Let me describe my four hour adventure at the Bridgeport, Connecticut DMV:
I walked in and felt like I was crossing the border through Ellis Island. The security guard on duty looked like she would be of no help since I watched other lost souls run up with questions and she barely lifted her nose from her phone and told them to ask a manager. YOU GET PAID FOR THIS?
I eventually stumbled into a line I wasn’t entirely sure I was supposed to be in and walked up to the woman at the counter. I explained I was transferring my license and car registration from another state. She handed me my ticket number and told me I would be handling my license first. I think the angels above knew I would be waiting a ridiculously long time and opened a seat in this sea of irritated people. I sat down and pulled open my book Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. I started to rethink the book choice in public as it’s about cremation and Caitlin’s experience working in a morgue. I realized everyone else was zoning out and wouldn’t notice my morbid choice of read. Two hours passed, and my number was finally called. I ran up to the counter to find a man with no expression waiting for me. Since he didn’t start with, “Good morning” or “What are you here for?” I figured I’d start this wonderful experience by telling him what I needed to do. I pulled out my papers for registration and license before he slammed the breaks with his hands and told me to stop.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa…” he started. He sighed very loudly as if I was the worst possible person to walk into that DMV. “I need you to put everything together. You’ll need your passport, social security number, proof of address, and your current license.” I pulled out everything I had prepared and handed him my application. He slapped his hands together in annoyance.
“I SAID you need to put EVERYTHING together. Just put all of it on top,” he barked.
Well well well. If there’s one thing about me someone should know it’s that when I get barked at with a heavy level of attitude, I have no problem giving it right back.
So what did I do? I slammed all of the documents on the counter in front of him, hard.
“THERE YA GO,” I said sarcastically. Maybe he realized he was being harsh because he seemed slightly wounded by my reaction.
“Ma’am, you don’t need to slam it…”
THIS GUY was getting angry because of my attitude due to the fact that he gave me attitude. I started to feel the fire within my fingertips. I wanted to punch this guy’s lights out. What I wanted to say was, “I understand you don’t want to be here, and neither do I. I’ve been here for two hours and have accomplished nothing. Can we at least agree we should burn this place to the ground? Let’s do it together.”
Instead, he yelled at me for not having a second piece of mail for my proof of address (which their website states you only need one), but the angels were looking out for me once again because I luckily was using my electric bill as a bookmark. WIN.
By the time I got to the vision test, I was having an emotional breakdown and thought about bailing because in the end, this isn’t worth it. Oh, Connecticut. Never mind. I’ll just move back to California to avoid your DMV services altogether.
Let’s fast forward a bit after my crappy picture was taken. It’s going on 1:30pm and I got to the DMV at 9:30am. I watched residents, who took their picture AFTER ME, run away with their license in hand. And I was still waiting by the counter, tapping my feet with every passing minute. The woman looks up as she called my name.
“Did you get your license?” she asked.
“Oh shoot. I noticed like eight people got theirs before you. How strange. I guess it didn’t print.”
I went home afterwards and took a three hour nap. I never even got to register my car, which means I have to go back. I think the angels are saying, “You ungrateful, bitch. You’re on your own now!”
Your thoughts and prayers for my second trip are welcomed.