Best DMV Visit, Ever.
Down here in FL I guess they had a problem with illegals, dead people and criminals getting IDs and driver’s licenses willy-nilly (and I think 9-11 had something to do with it as well). Now you have to show up at least once, either to get a new license, transfer your license from another state or renew a license with a fistful of identification proving not only you are who you say you are but also you need to prove to them that you really live where you say you live. When I move down here (HOW long ago was that?!) I walked into the DMV office, handed them my CT license, showed them the registration and insurance card from my folks car and they took my picture and gave me a shiny new FL driver’s license.
Anyone who’s been to the Bridgeport Connecticut DMV office knows the jokes and horror stories about DMV offices aren’t exaggerate or made up. Standing in line for an hour only to find you’re in the wrong line because the signage sucks. Unhelpful, bitter and evil employees. A parking lot with enough spaces for thirty cars already full of the twenty employee’s cars. The office being in the middle of a residential area meant there was almost no parking on the street and the line of cars waiting for inspection often blocked the side road (and sometimes wrapped to the next block) so you couldn’t even circle the place hoping some lucky soul was able to escape and give up their parking place.
Down here in FL you can either go to the DMV itself or go to one of the Brevard County Tax Collectors offices to take care of your needs… well, you could, but then they closed every DMV office in the county, then I found out the tax office, which had been just four miles down the road was moved more than triple the distance away in some new sub-division I’d never been to.
I called the tax office to make an appointment. They don’t take appointments for renewing your license. The post card they sent me telling me I had to show up said they did but I was told that was specifically for DMV offices of which there are none. Oh, and that also means the tacked on fee for doing your DMV business at the county tax office is unavoidable. Fair, huh?
Nicely they had given me months advance notice of needing to renew my license in person but I wanted to get it out of the way while the cool weather was still around. The process is, for some, so complex they have a website dedicated to what you need to do and bring.
Gathered, go… got. The tax office opens at 8:30 AM so I figured “Show up a few minutes early and I’ll be first in line!” Yeah, that worked out. I walked in the door and there were just a couple people in the lobby area waiting for the gates to be rolled up… and thirty or more people lined up down the hall that I missed at first glance. Ugh! Now, my back and hips are in such bad shape that standing in place is even more painful than walking around. I got to the end of the line and couldn’t even see the tax office entry anymore! I was just about to say to hell with it and try another time when this nice guy in line in front of me started chatting and it distracted me enough that the time went by quickly. Thanks anonymous stranger! You made things easier.
Then I heard the giant chain doors roll up and the murmur of conversation dropped as the office opened. I dreaded this moment. I knew, just KNEW it was going to be like waiting in line at Disney; take two steps, wait, take two steps, wait… and then it began.
The Best DMV Visit, EVER. The doors rolled up and the line straightened out and started moving and kept moving. We rounded the corner all thirty plus of us just kept walking. I have NO idea where all those people went. Maybe some went to Carousel (extra points for getting the reference there) maybe some were fed to the dragons, I really don’t know.
It was a minute, perhaps two from the time the doors opened until I got to the entrance. Standing there was a nice lady and a box. On the box were a list of options of why you were there each next to a button. The nice lady would explain to the people who were thick which button to press. I figured it out all on my own, thanks. I pressed my button and out popped a numbered ticket. Number 808… Wait, EIGHT HUNDRED AND EIGHT?! But there were only thirty people in front of me, forty max!
Then the next best moment happened. There were chairs. Lots and lots of chairs and some, thankfully, were even armless (us fat people hate narrow chairs with arms). I sat down and noticed they were Now Serving #802… 803… 804… I hadn’t been sitting in my comfortable chair for five minutes when the loudspeaker (which you could actually understand!) called my number. Five minutes!
I walked over to the window I’d been directed to and another comfy chair and met Alice the lady who was going to help me. Not only was she going to help me she was going to joke with me and smile. Someone working at a DMV/Tax Office SMILED at me! She went through my paperwork. It was all in order. I walked around the corner and spent a half minute passing the eye exam and walked back. She took my picture and asked if I was or wanted to register to vote, I wanted to. The time it took to her to fill out that paperwork and for me to write out a check (for some odd reason they won’t take Visa in person and all my debit and credit cards are Visa branded) was almost exactly the time it took for my license to be printed. She handed it to me, told me to have a nice day and I left. I was in and out of there in less than twenty minutes!
Best DMV visit, ever.
Hawk (Ya’ll ain’t gonna see that license picture. No way, no how!)