This morning, Jerry and I took the first steps to becoming REAL NC citizens by visiting the DMV and applying for our driver's licenses.
No one wants to visit the DMV, just like no one wants a root canal, but compared with the Florida DMV? This was like riding a unicorn over a rainbow.
In FL, the DMV is basically purgatory: Super hot and nothing but waiting.
In FL, you can make an appointment for the DMV, but that appointment is worth as much as the money in Monopoly; the "appointment" just means that, at some point on that day, you will get your turn with a hostile employee. If you don't have an appointment, I assume that, exactly like purgatory, you just wait forever. 10 years ago, when Jerry and I went to the FL DMV, it shook out like so:
We made our appointment and arrived that day when the DMV opened. When we arrived, the line of people snaked along the side of the building: 100 people in front of us, all waiting in the sweltering Florida sun. So they smelled great. When they opened the doors, we were herded in to a giant waiting room decorated with the charming décor that all DMVs seems to favor: It's a design meant to deflate your soul. Beige linoleum, florescent overhead lights (one of which is obligated to occasionally flicker and buzz as if possessed), and uncomfortable folding chairs, all lined up with such close proximity to one another as to ensure that you will spend all day trying to establish elbow supremacy with the person seated next to you. Who, from the start, has an aroma that you can taste.
Then? We waited.
ALL. DAY. LONG.
But, after watching the procession of those who were called before us, it made us uncertain as to which fate was worse: the eternal waiting or dealing with the openly aggressive employees who, at all moments, seemed poised to push the secret behind-the-counter-button that would release the above-head tub of piranhas. Brought the wrong documents? Piranhas! Struggle with the vision test? Piranhas! Take too long signing in the rectangle box? PIRANHAS!
Eventually, in our respective turns, Jerry and I were each called forth and dealt with the surly examiners with the same trepidation as Seinfeld did with the Soup Nazi. Thankfully, since neither of us asked for bread, at the end of the day, we were each rewarded with our FL licenses.
And, we never went back.
In comparison, the DMV here in NC -- while still a DMV, that still made me feel a bit bitey (how hard is it for the online guidelines to be consistent with the reality of what the office asks for?) -- was worlds better. We were in and out in about an hour, the examiners were friendly and joked easily with us, and at no point during the process did I feel like it was possible I might have to spit in someone's eyes and leap across the desk to throttle them.
The only downside is that you don't immediately get your license -- just a piece of paper and the promise of a license -- but, in 8-10 days? That shiny little baby should arrive in the mail, and I'll officially be a North Carolina resident!
Then I can go ahead and submit the proof of residency to FL to excuse me from that pesky jury duty I postponed...