Nobody likes going to the DMV. Let’s admit it: Getting a driver’s license is right up there with visiting the dentist.
But we all have to do it. And, last time, I told you about my discovery at the airport that my license had expired. So this time I decide to have St. Bob drive to the DMV in a separate car, in case I flunk the test and am forbidden to drive myself home.
I’d made an appointment and we take off. Except that I turn the wrong way by thinking of something else (ADD comes to mind), and have to pull over, wave Bob down, and then head the right way again.
We each turn south onto Rocklin Road. Bob changes lanes to get around a slow truck, and disappears. No problem; I’ll just arrive a minute later, right? Wrong. It’s been awhile since I visited the DMV, and all I can remember is that it’s tucked way back in someplace hard to find. Sort of by the fire station. Sort of by a bunch of construction.
So I’m motoring along trying not to get a ticket with my expired license, and suddenly my phone rings. Luckily it comes through the dashboard, and Bob’s voice says, “You just passed it. Come back and turn left at the first roundabout.”
Well, dang. I make a U-turn and head north again. I turn at the first of two roundabouts and soon I’m in a construction site that has big signs forbidding anyone to enter who isn’t wearing a hard hat.
I’m on a dirt road with bulldozers, but I manage to get out of there and go into another area that turns out to be a mini-mall. This can’t be right. I go back out onto the street.
I decide to turn at the second roundabout. Aha. Now I can see the DMV in the distance. I pull in and Bob is waiting, with his window rolled down, asking if I had stopped for lunch.
“You told me the first roundabout,” I say, “and it was the second one.”
“No; it was the first one,” he insists.
I decide to stop blocking the driveway and park. But I am not finished. “It’s the first one if you’re heading from our house, but I was coming from the other direction. It’s not like these roundabouts are named First Roundabout and Second Roundabout. You have to direct someone from where they are.”
“No, it’s the first roundabout,” Bob continues. “We should have a film crew follow you around. Joni’s Journeys.”
Whatever. We go inside and the woman cannot find my appointment on her roster. Waiting for her to locate my information is exactly why I made an appointment in the first place. But I stop tapping my foot and take a deep breath.
Finally she finds my name and has me fill out a form about the kind of license I want. I check “non-commercial,” because it is, and Bob tells me that no, it’s some other grade of license I’ve never even heard of and I grow irritated. Bob makes additional comments about his imaginary film crew.
Soon I am sent to Window 14, where I am given a vision test.
I pass with flying colors, right up until the girl tells me to cover my right eye. I explain that I have mono-vision contact lenses (which I highly recommend, to get rid of reading glasses). This means one eye has a contact lens for distance, the other for reading. She cannot grasp that I am able to see with one eye, and goes to verify this concept. It does not help that St. Bob—risking demotion to just Bob—tells her I’m blind as a bat.
Soon she’s back, telling me I have to take a medical form to my eye doctor so he can sign off on my ability to read the very eye chart I just read.
And now it’s picture time. Bob tells her that last time I had a gnat trapped in my lip gloss for the photo, information no one needs, although I did blog about it here. I ask Bob to hold my purse and then ask the woman if she can also take a picture of Bob holding my purse. She cannot.
And now they want me to take a written test. Bob asks if he can tell her what questions to ask. I glare at him with both my distance and close-up vision. She says no.
The written test is not written at all, but done entirely by tapping the right answers on a computer screen.
I miss only one—the one about how drunk you can be if you get pulled over. I miss this because I am Mormon and do not drink, thus do not file away such information. I think this is some kind of discriminatory way to keep me from getting 100 per cent, something I’ve been a bit too tightly wound up about since First Grade, but I don’t say anything.
“You’re already done?” the woman asks. She does not know with whom she is speaking. But I smile and she hands me the medical form and a temporary license anyone could fake with a good Xerox machine. Whatever. I stuff it in my purse, thank Bob for his moral support (NOT), he heads to work, and I drive to the eye doctor for his signature.
Except that the eye doctor isn’t in for another three days, so I have to leave the form at the front desk, and come back for it next week. And pay for a completely new exam. But of course.
Next time you’re trapped at a DMV, take along one of my books. Or, heck, if you forgot to make an appointment, you might have time to read all of them.