You know you've been to the DMV one too many times when you tell the children to "go to their normal seats", and they know exactly what to do...when, if the workers were wearing name tags, you could spot 5 you know by name. Yesterday we made our third trip to the DMV. As I mentioned before, my first trip was useless. But I never told the whole story about my second trip wherein I procured my Connecticut driver's license.
The process to get my license was as follows: Wait in one line to get a number; once the number is called, wait in a second line to explain the purpose of the visit and to fill out paperwork; the third line is for an eye test; the fourth line is for the picture and payment; and the last line is to receive the license.
Line #1 and Line #2 were uneventful, but I was nervous by the time I plopped down in my seat to wait for Line #3. Part of this anxiety stemmed from the fact that I had just heard the commander of Line #3 bawl out a customer with an, "I can't help you. Have a nice day", which sounded a whole lot more like, "I CAN'T help you HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!!" Moreover, I was still reeling from the news I had received in Line #2.
The majority of my time in Line #2 was spent filling out a name change form. I said to the gentleman in charge of Line #2, "You know, I have been Mrs. P for 15 years. Are you SURE you need me to fill out this Name Change Form?" He was sure. So, while I was changing my name in what seemed like a twilight zone moment, I took the opportunity to ask some questions. I explained that I was anxious to get my CT license. I needed the license to secure car insurance. And we needed the car insurance in order to get license plates. I wondered about the cost involved in registering our cars with the state. He listed the fees: $125 per car just to register, PLUS a 6% sales tax on the value of each car. My mad math skills kicked in as I was half listening. "So that's going to be between $2500 and $3000?" I exclaimed. He nodded. "But we already paid sales tax on the cars in Georgia," I argued.
"But you never paid them in the state of Connecticut," he responded then added, "Welcome to Connecticut!"
And so as I approached the lovely man who commanded Line #3, I was pondering the fact that if "Santa" must spend his (or her) life savings just to drive his (or her) sleigh in the state of CT, the children may receive nothing but coal in their stockings this year.
"Read the numbers from left to right," the Commander barked. I proceeded to read the numbers from right to left because, in my mind, he must have been asking me to follow specific, rather out of the ordinary instructions. After all, English is still this country's language, and English is read left to right. So if he had wanted me to read it left to right, he would have simply instructed me to "read the numbers". So when I received specific directionals, I assumed I was to do something different from the norm.
He glared at me. "I said read it from left to right."
"Oh." I rattled off the numbers. "I do know my left from my right," I added and flashed him a wry smile. He wasn't amused.
Next I was to look at a line of signs and identify the one that appeared the closest. I almost giggled when I wondered to myself how the Commander would react if I answered, "The little triangle one", but then I thought that perhaps not being able to identify a yield sign might be reason enough to prevent one from obtaining a driver's license in the state of Connecticut, so I refrained.
Needless to say, by the time I reached Line #4, I was not smiling so my picture looks more like a mug shot than a photo. I suppose that's more appropriate anyway. When you get stopped, I know from experience you aren't really in the mood to flash the officer a giant, friendly smile. So really the mug shot on a driver's license is a much more effective tool to use when trying to prove identity.
So I had my mug shot taken in Line #4. Line #5 didn't take long at all, and we were on our way home to await Trip #3 to the DMV.
Between Trip #2 and #3 my husband did the dirty work of finding local car insurance for both cars. Remember that ticket we got on our way to our not Disney Disney vacation back in 2009? That ticket never increased our rates with the friendly people at the Georgia Farm Bureau, but apparently when you live in the Insurance Capital of the World, they get you for everything. The ticket did indeed make a difference, but what can you do?
Trip #3 to the DMV began with the Grand Search for a Service Station That Will Check Emissions. We finally found one and headed over with both cars. At the DMV, only 2 lines were required for this task. Mark took care of his car, and I took care of mine. It was quite painless actually, and we left with new tags in our hands, a fact that doesn't make me all that happy: I had campaigned for keeping our Georgia tags through winter with the hopes that other drivers would throw me a little sympathy on the snowy roads.
As we left, I bid the DMV good-bye with an, "I hope I don't have to see you again until I have to bring my 16-year-old daughter here for her driving test." But then I retracted that farewell because, well, I have asked my daughter repeatedly to stop growing up, and I hope this year she'll actually listen to me. If she does, that will mean she'll stay at 10, and that will be fine with me.
Oh, and that astronomical tax fee the guy in charge of Line #2 on Trip #2? Well, I was informed by the kind man on Trip #3 that since we already paid sales tax on our cars in Georgia, there is no reason for us to pay them again in Connecticut. Hmmm...who'dathunk it? Now I'm just waiting for that phone call: "Uh, Ma'am, we're going to need you to come back in. Dude at Line #2 on your second trip to the DMV had you fill out a Name Change Form. That was the wrong form. Didn't you think it was strange he asked you to fill that out when you have been Mrs. P for over 15 years?"