The Agony and Ecstasy of the DMV

I have been to the DMV two days this week and, just in case you didn’t already know it, this is not a place to put on your “Must See” list of happy spots in our beloved Southern California. In fact, today, I sat among the huddled masses quietly waiting for the recorded voice to announce, “B0066” when  I heard a distraught female voice start to plead. “No, please.  That lady at the front desk told me to sign it like that.”  This was followed by some quiet murmuring from a woman sitting behind Desk 20, which evoked the response.  “No, really, I mean, she really did say sign on that line, not on the other.” Before it was over, that same young female was stomping through the sitting area, cursing loudly as she headed out the door. “You have got to be f–king kidding me.  This is bullsh-t!”

I was hoping two things at that time: 1) Please, God, don’t give me the lady behind Desk 20, and 2) Please help me control myself if I get a similar bureaucratic response. You see, the reason I was there today as well as two days prior is because my lady behind Desk 8 at the Culver City DMV had sent me away because the Vin Verifier had put remarks on the Remarks line, but had not check-marked the square right above that stated, “Remarks.”  Now if you’re wondering why I didn’t just disappear and pull out my pen to add that checkmark, I would have to say that she had also disapproved of his wording on the remarks that were not supposed to be on the Remark line.  Alas, I was doomed to return with a corrected version, hence my trip back today.

Today, I went to the Santa Monica DMV, hoping I wouldn’t get the same picky woman, though I had new documents from the Vin Verifier that supposedly were exactly right.  However, I had noted already that he hadn’t check marked the Remarks box again, and I was contemplating going to buy a heavy black felt pen like he had used.  But, instead, I decided to take my chances.

You can see why I might have been a bit nervous.  These DMV folks have a huge amount of power to wield over matters that can seriously take up LOTS of time in your day.

When my number was finally called, my first wish was granted.  I didn’t get the woman at Desk 20, but rather another woman at Desk 17.  When she asked why I was there, I whipped out all my new Vin Verifier documents plus all the other forms that I had spent all morning meticulously filling out, and said, “Yes, well, I have a couple of vintage trailers to register.”  She looked over my paperwork, didn’t seem to hang up on the unchecked box for Remarks and said, “Well, you’ll need to fill out one more piece of paperwork and you’ll be set.”  I stood very quietly and thought, “Oh, no.  This is what will do it. I’ll be back probably tomorrow, the next day and the day after getting that piece of the paperwork right.”  But instead, it was just a handwritten statement that said that there were no liens and that what I had said to her was all true.  I wrote all that out and then watched her methodically input the information into her computer. I tried to act normal, but my heart was doing a little happy dance.  In less that fifteen minutes, she handed me plates and all my paperwork and smiled.  “There you go.”

I thank her profusely, told her that she had made my day, then forced myself not to skip out of the DMV.

The good news: these vintage trailers now have the proper paperwork.  The better news: I do not have to return to the DMV anytime in the near future.

Thank you, nice DMV lady.  You made my day, my week and quite possibly this entire upcoming year.







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