Sunday 23 Oct 2016

DMV Madness
Matt Seinberg

With a show of hands, how many of you have waited on line at your state’s Department Of Motor Vehicles for any length of time? Excuse me while I count the raised hands.

That’s what I thought, mostly everyone. If you don’t want to waste your day waiting at a doctor’s office for a double or triple booked appointment, go to your local DMV office and be prepared to wait. Just bring a nice thick book and your smart phone.

The big difference is, you can’t complain to anyone about the wait, because the DMV can’t do anything about it due to budget cuts or they simply don’t care. I actually heard a supervisor telling some guy that if he didn’t like the wait, to write the governor a letter complaining about the budget cuts. Other than that, she had no advice. She just shrugged her shoulders and went to the next person on line, me.

Let’s go back to February 2012. I had to renew my license and wanted a new picture. I had some errands to do in the morning and I got to the DMV around 12:30 pm. What a mistake that was!

The line to get a number just to get in was out the door and the main floor with people holding numbers was packed. I decided it wasn’t worth the wait, and I’d keep that same lousy picture. I went home, got on my computer and renewed on line. Lucky for me, the new license showed up a day after the old one expired.

On this visit, I had to renew the registration for our Mazda 6, and get a duplicate sticker for our Altima. You see, I inadvertently put the Altima’s new sticker on the Mazda, so my wife was driving around with a registration sticker that was 4 months expired.

I could have ordered it online, but I needed it NOW. I showed up at the DMV office around 11 AM, and it took 45 minutes to get a number. I had posted on Facebook what I was doing, and my friend Mike, yes, the fellow with three hands, replied that I should try some pick-up lines and see what happens.

What the hell, I had time to kill, so let’s have some fun and talk to a stranger. There was a woman sitting next to me talking on the phone, complaining about the wait, so here was the perfect victim to commiserate with. I waited a few minutes after she got off the phone, and struck up a conversation about the wait at the DMV. I didn’t notice a wedding ring, so who knew what her status was? I certainly wasn’t going to ask.

I just wanted someone to talk to, and I certainly wasn’t going to try to pick up someone at the DMV. Besides, I didn’t think my wife would appreciate it. I just wanted to pass some time talking to another adult.

At 1:15 pm, my number finally came up, and I said goodbye to the nice blonde woman and ran to the window. The woman there, Linda, was very nice; she had me done and out in what had to be a record time, about three minutes.

I was so tired from the ordeal. When I got home, all I could do was to put the new sticker in my car and take a nap for an hour or so. When Marcy came home, I put the new sticker on her, gave her the registration and all was good with our cars.

When I was at the DMV, I also picked up some forms so Marcy could take Michelle to get her learners permit the following Monday. It had a whole list of items they had to bring for proof of identity. We got all that stuff together in anticipation for their journey.

They went to a different DMV office that I did, and instead of a two or three hour wait, they only to wait about 20 minutes. While Michelle was taking the test, Marcy got into a conversation with a fellow, Rich, whose son was also taking it. It turns out he’s a contractor and they started to talk about our kitchen renovation.

Marcy got his phone number, which is better than I did, and Rich told her to call and make an appointment. She called a couple of day later and left a message, and later that night his wife called to make the appointment. He came over on Friday morning, and I found him to be a truly nice fellow. Let’s see what kind of proposal he comes up and we’ll take it from there.

See what happens when you talk to strangers, at the DMV. You could end up saving money on a kitchen renovation.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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