"Local Broker's Head Explodes at DMV. Brain Goo Everywhere! More at 11 P.M." OK, that was the headline I dreamed about while napping, but it could happen. Why I saved my trip to the DMV for Friday is a mystery. Oh, yeah, it's the DMV (Death March Victims). I would save it for an hour before the apocalypse if possible.
It was all my fault. For some reason, the DMV didn't send me a license renewal this time around, and by total accident, I was filling out a form to work with a new bank and found out that I was due. I tried to renew online, but the website told me I had to pick 5 out of 10 types of ID to prove I am a US citizen, and then I needed to happily bring them in and apply. (OK, I added happily, but I was just trying to be positive.)
When I finally went to the DMV this afternoon I forgot to take my file to prove I'm a US citizen. No problem. Look at my old license. Look at my old head. Look at my wife dancing around wishing I had done this on time. Everything points to my citizenship. I speak English as a first language (though I could work on that a bit).
When you enter the Virginia DMV you have to line up, much like prisoners being carted off to some unknown destination in some undisclosed facility in some unknown county. It's a sad looking bunch. My wife immediately started rubbing my arm saying, "Breathe in, breathe out." Why? I hadn't even gotten to the executioner at the head of the line.
When I did, I said, "I need to renew my driver's license." No problem, right? She looked at old license, and then she glanced up with disdain in her eyes and said, "Do you have proof of citizenship?"
To which I replied, "I've been driving in Virginia nearly 40 years, and now I need to prove I'm a citizen?" My wife was suddenly rubbing my arm again, my eyebrows were up (that's always a bad sign), there was a slight whistling sound rising as the built up steam started to escape my ears and the executioner said, "Yes." The gleam in her eyes told it all. I expected her to smile with a big gold tooth shining back at me. But, she didn't smile. Smiling was for slackers, and she was no slacker! "Next!"
Ahhhhhhh, duct tape, where's the duct tape. I needed duct tape. I left with no renewed license. I was now driving illegally. An hour later I returned with my passport, voter registration card, birth certificate, conceal carry permit and old expired license. I thought about bringing my mother, but my wife reminded me that she would need to bring proof of citizenship too. This time, the executioner gave me a number and in her very best Marlon Brando Godfather voice said, "Wait over there and they will call your number."
Moments later I hear the digital voice say, "E199, to window 4 please." What? One nintey-nine? I'm B49. Did you miss B49? What about A? What about B? What about me? Was I in the restroom? My wife was sure the executioner gave me a number that doesn't exist. Maybe she gave me the last one they call each day. It's all my fault! I will never drive again!
No, in about 30 minutes, they called my number. I was ready for battle this time. I had my old license, my other IDs and an application for my new license. I got to window 6 and there was the sweetest little blonde employee I could have asked for. I know there is a God. She was a bit disarming, but this wasn't over. I still had another 30 minutes going through all the details of getting a new license in a state where I've had one for nearly 40 years.
When time came to give my proof of citizenship my wife grabbed my file and said, "Here use your birth certificate. Oh look, it's expired." The DMV employee laughed along with the neighboring employees, and from then on things went pretty well. We all had a nice laugh at my expense, but I didn't mind, I just wanted my license. Hey, I'd do standup on the counter if we could move this along and get it over!
So, the headline was just a dream, and for the record, if you approach things with a good sense of humor it always goes better. Oh yeah, one more twist to my story. They are mailing my license in 7-8 days. Why? I don't care as long as I don't have to go back there for the next 8 years.