Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Morning at the DMV

The previous time I got my driver's license renewed, there was a DMV office just around the corner, a three-minute walk from my house; since then, they've closed that one, so today, I got to drive to the new DVM office over in the old Cedar Hills shopping center, near Hwys. 217 and 26. Big building, lots of space, but, of course, only one clerk working the inflow desk, and three more behind the long counter that (theoretically) allows for twelve clerks.

It wasn't bad. I was only thirty numbers out when I sat down to fill out my renewal form, and I had my iPad, so I could do email, browse, and read. Only an hour-and-a-half wait, though just before my number was to be called, all the clerks mysteriously disappeared and that last bit seemed endless.

I enjoy looking around and seeing the teenagers come in for their first license, sitting deer-in-the-headlights next to their mothers or fathers. Back when I went for my first license, the procedure was to apply on the day you turned fifteen, unless it was a weekend, and it was considered pitiful if you got less than 100% on the written and driving tests. Big car culture, in my youth. Driver's Ed at fourteen, learner's permit, then wait for the big day. 

The DMV is like checking out at the Safeway where you always get behind a woman in the Express Lane who a) can't find her checkbook; then who b) writes a check as though it was her entry in the World's Slowest Handwriting Contest, and she's got a good shot at winning it ...

Other things have changed since my previous encounter with the DMV. Now, you need either a birth certificate or a passport, to prove citizenship; something official with your social security number on it; and something showing where you live. The inflow clerk, being nice, checked all those for me and initialed my form. Of course, the woman behind the counter, who was also pleasant and efficient, had to re-check everything. 

I'm always polite to these folks, I make a joke, and they generally appreciate it. Makes it better for everybody.

Hair color?

Well. Can't say "Brown" any more, can I?

"Gray ..."

Mother's maiden name? Place of birth? Read off the bottom line there. Which of the peripheral lights are blinking? You're good to go.

I can see retinal patterns on the horizon, given the new technology for checking those–they are already selling readers to police departments around the country, and once the database gets big enough, it is gonna be right out of Bladerunner.

Paper filled out, paid my $40–that's gone up, too–then I went to get my picture taken. Did that, got my temporary license, and all done. Good for another four years. In theory. 

1 comment:

Stan said...

I'm not sure about portable retinal-scanners, but I bet there's facial-recognition software that could be loaded onto your smartphone!