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DMV experiences I’d like to forget, but I won’t! 

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A renewal visit to the DMV, to update and take the written exam.

The DMV notified me that this year on my birthday, my license was expiring and it needed to be renewed. In addition, an eye exam, photo and the written test were to be taken. A visit to the DMV is not my favorite place to go. Not since my 16th birthday had I needed to take the written test! Now, flash backs returned from my visit long ago.

Back in the good old days at the DMV.

On my 16th birthday, I recall how nervous and excited I was to go to the DMV and get my driver’s license. Being one of the first of my friends to get one, it was a big deal. I remember the 3 foot long paper test, with 50 multiple choice questions. Knowing of few classmates that had not passed, I studied and passed. Missing a few questions did freak me out though.

Next it was time to hit the open road and show off my driving skills. While driving around the area with the instructor, I followed his directions, being overly alert and cautious. Knowing there were no steep streets near to park on, did give me a sense of confidence, since I’d had a bad experience, just a few weeks earlier.

Rolling backwards, down a hill.

Student Diver’s Education was once a week, for 6 weeks. It consisted of, my civics teacher, Mr. Snyder and 4 students, all driving together. One day, we were to practice parking techniques. It was my turn at the wheel next. We were driving up a very steep street, up towards the county courthouse. A spectacular view. The steepest street the entire county. It literally felt like our car was headed up towards the stars, at a 60 degree angle! Well, that’s where Mr. Snyder instructed me, of all people, to parallel park. My worst nightmare! All I remember was my feeble attempt to lift my foot off the brake to give the car some gas! Quickly! Just, not quick enough. Immediately, we began to roll backwards! I can still see Mr. Snyder’s large brown boot, stomping down hard on the brake, which was installed on his passengers’ side of the car! Abruptly, we came to a stop! Phew. I remember nothing else, except my humiliation.

Rolling backwards, again!

That very day, after passing my DMV testing, I drove to my best friend, April’s house. Excitedly, I honked the horn, as I drove up her steep driveway. She and her mom came to the porch, just as I jumped out of the car, announcing I had just passed my testing. She yelled out my name, I turned and we watched, as my dads’ car rolled back down her driveway, across the street and into a large rock on the other side. Oh yeah, it could have been so much worse! 

So that was then and this was last month.

First things first. Never go to the DVM without an appointment! I called for an appointment and a recording stated it would be a 2 hour wait. So, I went back online to make an appointment there. You need to enter your preferred date and time. I was looking for 6 weeks prior to my birth date, at 9 am. Nothing available. Then I tried 8 am. But with each selection, the same response, “No opening try again.”  Next, I selected “anytime available.” Nothing for 30 days! Why can’t they just say what’s open or closed, on the calendar they provide? Such a waste of time. I finally got 9 am, 5 days before my birthday. That was cutting it a bit close. I hoped nothing would prevent me from keeping the appointment, and that I pass the test that day. If not, you must wait 1 week to retake it. Guess what? I had to cancel my test date.

Without an appointment, I had to stand in line and wait, and wait…

I started conversations with a few people in line to pass the time. The little old lady in front of me was nicely dressed in her pink pant suit and appeared to be near 80 years old. She was very sweet, European accent but a little confused. She was there to renew as well. The woman ahead of her, dressed in red checkered mini skirt with a white satin bomber jacket with pink detailing and some sort of logo. She was a heavy smoker and appeared to around 75 years old. The couple behind me were two young love-birds, hanging onto each other for support or warmth.

After an hour the doors opened, our line proceeded inside where we waited for another 30 minutes. When I finally made it to the counter, I presented everything needed to qualify for the new Real Drivers’s License. This will be required in 2020 for domestic air travel. No extra fees, so why not? I was given #G19 and directed to sit and watch a monitor for my number.

After 20 another minutes…

The little lady in pink, walked over and sat down by me. Apparently she was detained, to fill out her application and was still confused. As I tried to help her understand, I then noticed I had the same application, which I needed to completed. My number was #G19 and they just posted #G17. I rushed as fast as I could to finish my application. By doing so I missed my own number.

Now what? Looking around the place was packed. The lines were even longer and there was no one to speak to without rudely cutting in front of someone. I decided to wait in the shorter appointment line, to let them know I missed my number.

At the counter, a woman took my number, looked at my application and told me I had made an error and I needed to redo my application. She handed me a replacement and told me to come back when it was completed. Again, I went back to sit with my lady friend to fill out the forms.

Oops, I made another error! I put the wrong date. Unbelievable! Back in line again for another 10 minutes. The same woman gave me yet another application. Back to a chair, once again. Third time’s a charm right? Looking over my work, I noticed I’d left off the last letter of my middle name, when printing it! Unbelievable! I was not doing this again! So, I carefully added the missing letter, in between my two names, in the space between them. I hoped for the best.

Back in line again. That same woman took my application and gave me #P29. Finally! Back to a chair again, anxiously watching the board for my number and the window to report to. By this time, I’m really unnerved by all this. How could I be such an idiot? It pays to take your time and do it right the first time! It’s my own fault and I was not happy with me!

The waiting game, again.

Another 20 minutes and BINGO, there it was. A brief flash, #P29 and a second later it was gone. Black outs on every monitor in the facility! Poof, all gone. No window# was listed. Again, I’m frantically looking for help from anyone. OK. Monitors came back on, but my number’s missing! Wow. I catch the eye of a clerk and quickly asked what about #P29? After a few minutes, I was told to go to window #5. Great, no one was there. I waited. Looking at my watch, was it their lunchtime? The clerk, at window #6, just finished with someone so I inquired. She said my clerk would return. Yes, she was back. OK. So now, reviewing my paperwork, I needed additional proof. That’s fine, I came prepared. Done. Eye exam? Passed. So, off to the photo window.

Frustrated, frazzled, famished and not finished, yet!

Now, waiting in line for my photo. Humm, what about the test? Maybe I slipped through without it? Nope. That was the grand finale. Incidentally, my photo says it all. I’d felt like I’d been through the wringer, and it showed!

It’s onward to the testing area, yippee!

I was feeling frazzled, yet a little confident. Knowing I’d read the handbook and taken some practice tests, I sat at the last computer by the check-in desk, trying to remain calm. As directed by the computer, I placed my thumb on the red control box to be scanned. I waited and waited… it would not register me. Trying again without success, I thought about changing seats but I didn’t want to start all over again. So tried to skip it and proceed, but it flashed again. Of course it did. But this time I was scanned. Ok.

The first question I was unsure of and guessed. WRONG flashed in red! Next one correct. Now, next to me an older woman was being seated with an assistant, reading all the instructions and answering her questions. It was very distracting, considering the test was timed and I was no longer calm, cool and collected. I started reading out loud and missed another question, because I had read it wrong! The next one I was unsure of so I passed, knowing it would be at the end. This was not as easy as I thought. Another question right and another. Oops, another one wrong! Wow. I’m starting to panic. All the rest of the questions were right, but now that last question popped up. I really thought about it. If I missed this I would flunk the test! I just could not remember this weird situation being described. By process of elimination, I guessed, RIGHT!

This was my 3 hour DMV experience. A word to the wise. Don’t make my mistakes! Prepare and get an appointment 3 months ahead, just in case you have to cancel. Also, eat something before you go. No food or beverages allowed.

 


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