CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: The DMV: Unbelievable, Uncanny & Unfriendly

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

I am speechless. Maybe our president should be so afflicted. I am flabbergasted. Unfortunately, not for the first time. I am also abashed. A fancy way of saying embarrassed. So disconcerted I’ve almost convinced myself to suffer alone in silence. Almost.

Over the years we’ve been together through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows, the beautiful and the ugly. When the going gets rough, it’s not time to start practicing solo gallantry.

It all started with an unannounced visit to Department of Motor Vehicles. Without warning concerned readers, last Thursday at 8:45 a.m. I was at Lincoln Park district DMV office for a 9 o’clock appointment. [I’m always prompt.]

No sooner assigned F-012, the number pops up on the screen with instructions to proceed to Window 11. “Good mornings” are exchanged with smiles. [An early appointment is wise because clerks have not yet been hassled and should be in a friendly frame of mind.] Upon presenting my renewal notification, the third issued in less than two years, an explanation is in order because the clerk is puzzled. The discussion becomes more convoluted because her computer data does not match my verbal explanations; apparently because earlier misadventures at the Montebello office are not completely recorded.

I now have the sympathy and understanding of Window Eleven Lady. But unfortunately, not of her supervisor who has been called to intervene. Knowing this can only lead to further complications (and CR2S columns?), I suggest we forget the unpleasant past and proceed with the renewal process, as if for the first time.

After a 20/20 left eye hides the shortcomings of the right, I take the required photograph. Twice. Eyes closed during first attempt. [An omen?] I am then directed to the written exam room. For some reason, I am serene and confident despite a past history of failure – twice. While three ladies and two guys suffer in their booths, ole WTH whizzes Mensa-like and strides back to the quiz distributor.

My newfound confidence begins to leak like a faulty tire the moment she begins to wield the red pencil: one, two, three times [the allowed limit]the dreaded incorrect mark is made. Number four quickly follows. I have failed. Again. I am defeated and deflated.

Then the unexpected happens: She flips the test sheet over and marks four additional questions to be answered. A mulligan, a “You can’t be that dumb” second chance. I return to my booth, happy for the reprieve, but certain it is only temporary. Without confidence I peruse the quartet of puzzlers, reread, review and then finally check  the answer boxes, quite certain I will fail yet again. Miraculously, I didn’t.

I then go to Window 18, where another officious lady completes the paperwork. I’m home free! “Your license renewal will be mailed to you within two weeks,” she declares.

An 800-pound elephant has been lifted from a concave chest and I can now breath. I am so elated I seek out my friend at Window 11 to tell her of my good fortune. She seems honestly pleased. I stride out honestly pleased.

I am literally on the sidewalk when a loud, demanding voice rings out: “Mr. William, Mr. William!”

We all know my name is not “Mr. William.” But I knew it was calling me.

I wasn’t interested in what Ms. Supervisor was trying to explain. Nor did I even attempt a counter-argument, let alone display displeasure. I merely nodded. “You are required to provide an updated ophthalmologist’s clearance, after which a driving test will be administered,” she indicated. Neither was on the original requirement list.

In a last-ditch attempt to show huevos and hope for some sense of sanity, I patiently explained I had already supplied them with two (2) optical reports, the last one in March of this year (at a cost of $25 per). In addition, I had taken two (2) driving tests at Montebello less than two (2) years ago, the second of which resulted in a perfect score of zero (0) demerits.

All the while Window 11 Lady is nodding her head in supportive agreement. Alas, to no avail.

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After my tenth DMV visit, I only have a piece of paper that denotes it’s a receipt, not a license or permit and not a verified identification. It shows payment of a $32 fee, probably for annoyance and aggravation. Also a warning: “If this application is not completed by 11-14-14, it will be cancelled.”

You’ve probably never noticed, but there are signs posted at all DMVs: “It is illegal to threaten a state employee and is punishable by fine or imprisonment.”

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W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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1 Comment

  1. Takasumi Kojima on

    The DMV incidents: Wimpy;I only wish the rest of us could appreciate our own time lleft on this earth and not waste it thru the negatives and inability of mind that prevades this time in our lives. Forgetforness and inability to be keen are examples of what the human spirit was meant to be at this stag in life.

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