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Monday, May 19, 2014


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.


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...


Lisa Isenberger said...

In NM it's called the MVD and it used to suck and take hours on end. Then these express MVD services showed up. There is an extra $25 fee, but that's enough to deter most folks keep lines short and we can be in and out in 15 minutes. Also to get the piece of paper with the real thing arriving in about a week. Earlier this year they added a driver's license renewal by mail feature. I haven't tried it, but that means we potentially don't even need to go in at all! Hooray!

Carolina John said...

yea we do DMV right. Some locations are still better than others, but I'm usually in and out of there in about 15 minutes. What I hate is that you have to have cash, they don't take credit/debit cards. ugh, I'm never prepared for that.

runner26 said...

my best DMV experience was went I needed to change my ny license to il and went there pregnant (little did i know i was to have the baby two days later - i thought i had at least another week!). in any case, they treated me royally - a special seating area, line skippage, friendly banter, and an actual license in less than an hour (which included taking the written test for IL which i checked over like 16 times b/c i had pregnancy brain and didn't want to screw it up). so i can't complain. i also had pretty good experiences in Harlem in new york for some reason. the lines were pretty short and people were decently friendly. but, it still is a giant pain in the ass and they typically make you feel like you've done something wrong. just think about karma..

Amy said...

omg so true about the Florida DMV. I have been twice. In about 15 years and that's enough.