Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun times at the DMV

Today was a big day in our household.  Z turned 15 & 6 months old today, and that means, Learner's Permit.  Z has been waiting for this day since his third birthday.  By the time he'd turned 10, he was calculating the number of months and he's been counting down the days for the last few years.

Was he ready?  Had he studied?  Not that I was aware.  We'd picked up the study guide a few months ago, but he never asked me to call him questions or help him study.  Whenever I asked him if he'd studied the book at all, his response was always that he had an app on his phone and had taken the quiz a couple of times and gotten most of them right.

So today, we arrived at DMV with me thinking we were probably wasting our time and Z thinking he'd sail through the test with no problem.   Z even dressed up for the occasion.  Which means he didn't wear his pants with chains all over them.   Of course, he didn't wear shoes either.

S tagged along for my moral support and to make fun of Z when he failed the test.  Nothing like sibling love.

I don't know how your DMV works, but here in Virginia, you go inside and stand in line to get a number then you go sit and wait a couple of hours for your number to be called.  It felt like we waited an hour to get our number, but it really wasn't all that long.  Just long enough for me to consider the reasons the DMV needs multiple armed guards patrolling the place.  We got our number, sat down and prepared to wait the normal 30 minutes to an hour before our number was called.

Suddenly, after only five or ten minutes, they announced our number.  Wow!  This is going great, I thought.  Z and I went up to the counter, I handed over the necessary documents and the lady started typing away.  All of a sudden, she gets on the phone and starts calling for a supervisor.  Crud.  A supervisor??  Turns out, their computer said Z's social security number was already being used by someone else.  WHAT????   I think they must have seen the panic in my eyes because they were very nice, and calm.  They thought it was most likely a data entry error on their part but they needed to research it, so back to the chairs we went to wait.

Thirty minutes later, they called us back up to the counter.  All they'd been able to determine so far was that it was a child using Z's social security number.  They still thought it was probably due to a data entry error on their part.  They were still researching and back to the chairs we went.  I was appreciative that they were keeping us updated and I was glad to know it was a kid who had the number and not some 40 year old criminal, but still....   At least they were playing good music over the loud speakers.  Of course, my kids begged to differ on that one.  They were also getting rather embarrassed because I was starting to sing along and chair dance.  It is so much fun to embarrass my kids.  :)

It wasn't long before they called us back up to the counter.  Now what, I wondered.  The research was done.  It was a data entry error on their part and "a note had been put on their computer."  That was about all I could get out of them as to how the situation was being fixed.  At this point, I was ready to accept that answer.  I was getting pretty hungry, and therefore cranky, and at least they had fixed the problem in their computer so we didn't have to come back another day.  Unless of course Z flunks the test...

They handed Z a computer screen thingy to sign his name on and good grief!  You've never seen someone have so much trouble signing their name.  It was pretty dang embarrassing!  First of all, he doesn't write in cursive.  He learned it, never used it and promptly forgot it, but it's the DMV law  - you have to write your name in cursive.  He finally managed that task except he'd written his nickname, not his legal name.  Crud.  Gotta start all over again.  You'd have thought they were asking him to perform brain surgery.  Finally, his name is signed.  Now he has to take off his hat and get his picture taken.  We stood their and argued for a few minutes because I hadn't brought a brush into DMV.  Then the DMV employee made him put his hair back in a ponytail.  Z HATES his hair pulled back and really hates to be hatless.  But he really, really wanted that learner's permit so he pulled his hair back.  Photo taken, time for the eye test.  Passed that just fine.  Go sit back down and wait for an available computer so he could take the test.

While we were waiting, they called another person up to the counter.  This lady had to have been at least 130 years old.  Her son, who was at least in his mid 50's was helping her.  He had to help her get up out of the chair because she couldn't do it on her own.  He had to help her walk past the six chairs to the counter because she couldn't walk that far on her own.  I mean, this lady was OLD!  As they passed by us, the woman asked her son where they were.  He replied that they were at DMV renewing her driver's license.   OMG!  This woman can't walk and doesn't even know where she is, but she's getting a drivers license???  And yes, she got it!   A few minutes later, DMV took her picture, they paid and they walked out of DMV with a new license for the old woman.  Sheesh.  And I was worried about Z driving!

Finally, they called Z up to take his test.  He was there at the computers for quite a while so I assumed he'd survived the first part of the test and had moved on to the second part.  When he was done, he walked back over to the counter then over to me.  He needed $19.  Which means, he passed!!!

Aack!!  Woo-hoo!!  Aack!   I'm still not sure if I'm super excited or terrified.  A little of both, probably.  What I do know is that I need a drink.  And a big, gigantic bottle of valium.

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