Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Needs of a Former Public Servant Are Not Served Gladly

I strongly dislike the DMV with the white-hot heat of the flaming digestive tracts of 10,000 monkeys eating 10,000 ghost chiles for 10,000 days.

Hear that? It's the relieved sigh of the USPS, upon disappearing from Val's radar momentarily.

The Pony passed his written driving test and earned his learner's permit today. He did that in a satellite station of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Which of course employs state workers. Who were actually polite this go-round, not like the battleaxe who banished me to the outer hallway before I even presented the birth certificate and social security number of Genius when he took his written test three years ago.

Even though nobody was talking to either of the two counter women, I was told to wait behind a portable sign until they were ready. I was already waiting behind the sign. Because the sign said, "Wait here until called." Not that it talked, of course. That was written on it. In English. Bet they'll get in trouble for that before long, and have to list every conceivable language and dialect to be fair and nonpartisan. I had with me a birth certificate, social security card, and a piece of mail with The Pony's name and address. The three items the official website listed as required to obtain a learner's permit. When the uniformed lady was good and ready, she called me. I handed her the paperwork and told her why we were there.

"I don't need that. Just the birth certificate." She popped up from her chair, grabbed a spherical camera off her monitor, held it in The Pony's face, and said, "I'm going to take your picture. Go to terminal number two and take your test. You can wait in the hall, Ma'am."

It wasn't long before The Pony came out. "We need that thing."

"What do you mean? Do I need to come in? What thing?"

"Just come in." He meant the birth certificate. The uniformed lady had typed his name wrong. Seriously. How hard is it to copy PONY off a birth certificate? This was a new lady dealing with the error, in the same seat as the old lady. She voided that printout and made a new one.

"You'll need to take this to the license office to get his official permit." I expected that. Off we went. With the birth certificate, social security card, and mail showing The Pony's name and address. Just like listed on their official website. The license office was back in Backroads. Right behind the dead-mouse-smelling post office. We were number 45. They were serving 39. We were lucky to get the last two seats. It's a small office. And everyone brings the wife and kids with them.

There was no sign of the witchy witch who took my driver's license photo from not-heaven, the one that I will have until 2019. Three workers were working. The first spent twenty minutes with an old lady and man at the entry window. The second was raking in money hand over fist for automobile licenses. The third was busy denying a woman the pleasure of paying money for a license on a trailer because she didn't have a title. That woman called her husband, they could reach no solution, and she left, unsatisfied. Really, DMV? You think people come in to buy a license for a trailer that you wouldn't even know they had, and they're trying to pull something over on you?

Finally, our number was called. I gave Wenchy Wench #2 the birth certificate, the social security card, and the One Story magazine that The Pony has a subscription to. The information that was listed as necessary on the official Missouri Department of Revenue website. WW2 shoved back the magazine. "I can't take that. That's junk mail." Yeah. Because 15-year-old kids get utility bills and check stubs and mortgage statements and property tax receipts. And scamming adults just happen to have the kid's birth certificate showing that adult as the parent, trying to scam a $3.50 learner's permit out of the DMV/DOR.

"He's 15. He does not get bills. There is nothing else he receives in the mail."

"Well, we can't take junk mail. We can take your information if he lives with you." I sent The Pony out to get my other purse. Just in case I had saved the information that it took me three trips to collect when I was unfortunately shot for my own license. Because I never got a notice of renewal for my six-year-old license. Aha! I had the check stub. You remember...because the utility bill wasn't good enough, because it's in Hick's name.

"Here's my check stub."

"I can't take that."

"You took it when I came for my license four months ago."

"It's more than 60 days old. I can't take it." Oh, of course not. Because nobody ceases to work for an employer within a 60-day period, I suppose. But after that 60 days, we're all unemployed. Trying to pull the wool over the DMV's eyes, living in a different place. Hopping from house to house, job to job, every two months.

"And you can't take this electric bill because it's in his dad's name, not mine."

"That's right. His dad would have to bring him in."

"He can't miss work for that. I'll go home and get a newer check stub." Remember, none of this junk mail nonsense was listed on their official website. No list of what mail is suitable for a 15-year-old kid. Oh, and their list said they would take a voter registration card. Even though poll workers can't ask for it when you vote. And mine had the year 1991 on it, even though it was mailed last year. So we went back home. Through the 92-degree heat, wasting gas, stomping our big-footed carbon SUV footprint upon the land, increasing the fictional global warming, just to make a minimum-wage worker's private license office low-bidder boss happy.

Something is wrong with the hoops I've been jumping through.


  1. I feel your pain, really, I do. But, this is one of those chores I always delegated to He Who. I was always able to make the teenage driving ritual a dad's responsibilty.

  2. I'm sure there are a glut of parents claiming teenaged kids that--in reality--are not their kids.

    Yeah, that's quite a clever scam. You choose a teen, give them your last name (illegally), spend hundreds of dollars every month filling up their hollow legs with soda and pizza and burgers, and then--the real jackpot: You get to pay for their college tuition.

    The DMV is onto you. You'd better walk the straight and narrow...

    1. In NJ the DMV has been privatized and they are actually quite friendly and accommodating.

      Of course we drink dirty water and pay for bourbon!

      Oh, and that is fictional "Climate Change!"...get it right.

      You had me laughing on this one...sorry for your pain.

  3. Should have told him to throw up on the counter as my mom told me when I was four and the mean nurse told her to go sit down. It got us some attention.

  4. Navigating the bureaucracy can certainly be a headache, as you've shown. The last time I went to the DMV I had #146 and they were currently serving #92.

  5. Kathy,
    Depending what he put into his Bubba Cup, he might have come up with the perfect solution.

    I know they still remember me from my complaining on the day they took the worst driver's license picture in the history of the world. There are signs about cameras, cameras in plain sign surveilling us at will, and signs saying they can refuse service to anyone who is disruptive or acts strange. Funny how there's no apology for the governor ALLEGEDLY selling our personal information.

    Missouri used to use the patronage system, but now, supposedly, offices go through a bidding process. They still pop up and close and new ones form after elections. I am skeptical of the bidding process. I still think it's just like school districts hire. It's all about who you know.

    Some people like to be the life of the party. Or the bookmobile, flashing breastesses and pretending one is there for one's mammogram.

    That's what happens when you don't live in Backroads. But people in larger population centers probably have more of a sense of urgency to move the numbers than the drawling HeeHawians of my ruralopolis. I hope. For your sake. Not because I plan to move to a city.

  6. Yeah. The DMV is lots of laughs. I feel your pain. My grandson turns 15 in October, so I'll be jumping through the same hoops. I'm his guardian, and he has a different last name. That's always fun to explain.

  7. Donna,
    Yikes! You might have to make FOUR trips back home to get all the necessary paperwork!