Sunday, August 1, 2010

DMV: An Exercise in Endurance

Riding with a new-to-American-roads driver, my awareness of our driving habits has been heightened. My own lack of a full stop, my disregard for speed limits, my beloveds habit of not waiting for others at a 4 way stop are put under the scrutiny of the Department of Motor Vehicle’s scrutiny.

Its 1:00 pm. Our appointment was at 11:20.
We arrived at 11:15. At window number 19, there is a line of 9 people before we can even sign in. At sign in, they ask for MY license, which I disconcertedly left at home: our first fumble. What to do? The clerk tells me that anyones license will do, she just has to type in a number. I scan the 200 people awaiting service and as I do I am greeted by a waving man. It’s the pastor’s husband whom I met JUST yesterday at a funeral service! He agrees to letting us use his license. Aha,, recovery.. but then Hiromi is asked for her passport. Nothing had prepared her for bringing it. I will not be daunted.. so race home to get it while she stays at the DMV waiting for Abby to bring my license. (We had called Abs for the license hiccup before realizing that “ANY” ones license would do.)

Once that is retrieved, I can’t even find a parking place! So I park in the reserved area under the verbal scolding of one of the examiners, while I dash in to make connection with Hiromi. Beloved window 19 sports another set of highly motivated faces, and after more waiting to get back to the front of the line AGAIN, we are sent to seating area to wait for the magic voice to call our number. 10 minutes and its called, we are asked by the male attendant why we are at this window? Hiromi respectfully answers because we were sent there. The guy calls window 19 and makes some kind of disparaging remark that this is the 3rd time today and we are sent back to window 19. Hiromi lines up politely but i grab her paperwork and march up to the front and wait for a break in the customer line to declare we were sent to the wrong window. He looks over her paper work and we are now instructed to line her car up in the examination lane. We do so and I leave her alone in the car while she awaits her turn. There are 2 cars ahead of her. 40 minutes she waits in the hot sun in her car. Isn’t there a law about leaving pets in a hot car?

While she waits I meet George and Wendy Payton. Turns out through our conversation that they are missionaries just arrived from Tanzania w Wycliffe. They are renting Verl and Lois’s old home. While we have a long chat (they actually finish their fast food lunch) Hiromi worriedly shoots over to me and says the examiner says that she cant take the test in her car because the driver window won’t roll down. With determination I go over and have her try again. She is right- it is getting stuck. I remember that Fred told me he had forced the window up and down a few times when we first brought it home, so as she depresses the window control button, I push the window into its door slot and voila, an open window. The examiner give us grace and says, “Ok, that will work.”


So off she goes. As she pulls away I count how many cars have accumulated behind her. TEN. I remark to the Payton's that THIS is why I don't want the government to take over my health care. After 20 minutes, she drives in. The examiner tells Hiromi that she does really well. Sadly however, she had never encountered a “Keep Clear” ground area and because she rolled into it before the signal turned green, she fails. She is instructed to make another appointment, which we can do at window #... you guessed it- window 19. We can make it to window 19 blindfolded by now so I make the appointment for Fullerton Aug 17th, when we hope to further work on our endurance.