Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Waiting for Auto

I wonder who will believe us when we tell them how long we were here.
- the wife

No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants--they're too smart to wait in these *%&@ lines.
- another satisfied DMV patron

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you've been waiting on a hot, sticky summer day for a chance to ride your favorite amusement park roller coaster and you think you're near the front of the line when you turn a corner to discover yet another endless of sea of would-be riders snaking slowly through a new series of turnstiles in front of you and you realize that you're still an hour or more away from actually boarding the coaster?

Yeah, our day at the DMV was sort of like that... except that no cool ride awaited us after we spent over 5 hours in a series of a half dozen or so lines... just two Connecticut drivers' licenses and vehicle registrations ringing in at a grand total of $527.

What made matters worse was that the DMV employees actually seemed to enjoy the collective misery of those languishing in motor vehicle purgatory. When we got to the front of the first of several lines, I asked the lady behind the counter if we would have to wait with the crowd of people to my left. "No," she answered, convincingly deadpan. "I don't know what they're waiting for. They must be here for something else." Moments later, the wife and I found ourselves waiting for our requisite eye exams in the midst of the same crowd.

Later, after we had filled out our second or third or thirteen-thousandth form of the day, I asked another attending cheerful DMV employee, "How long do you estimate we'll have to wait once we've completed this form?"

"The wait will be about two hours," he responded. He paused, looking from my face to my wife's and back to mine. "I'm just kidding!" He began to laugh, then abruptly ceased. "I'm not kidding. There are 60 people in line ahead of you right now."

"You are kidding," I half-asked, half-demanded.

"Yeah." He paused again, waiting, presumably, until relief had begun to reveal itself on our faces. "No, I'm not kidding." He smiled broadly.

We walked away, bemused.

"Was he joking?" I asked my wife.

"I don't think so," she replied.

"He must have been joking," I concluded.

He wasn't joking.

By the time our visit to the Connecticut DMV concluded, I had become completely disoriented, dazed and confused, nearly unresponsive to the normal stimuli of the external world. I was practically catatonic; neither pizza nor Watson nor latest issue of the New Yorker could rouse me from my stupor.

It wasn't until hours later when I watched the spastic wide-eyed unwitting Wipeout contestants, limbs flailing, stochastically caroming from one giant red bouncy ball to the next in hopes of winning $50,000 that I began to awake from my DMV-induced walking coma. In fact, our 5-hour DMV experience may have been rendered less excruciating, if not downright bearable, had Wipeout been broadcast throughout the facilities rather than the thirty-minute loop of DMV trivia and news they pipe through their closed-circuit television systems.

When I'm President...


Russ Parker said...

Easy street don't require a license. No registration required.

Mark said...

I spent time at the DMV yesterday, as well. Oddly enough, I had to go twice. I needed an updated license, and once I examined my new ID, I saw that they misspelled my middle name. Can't say I was there for 5 hours, but I feel your pain. My workers didn't show so much a satisfaction in my discomfort as much as a cold indifference regarding my very presence...

I approached the desk after waiting in line.

Me: How are you?
DMV employee:

Andy said...

That is one thing I appreciate about Pittsburgh. DMV offices around here are generally very reasonable in my experience.

The one exception was when I went to the state building downtown on the first of the month. There was a huge line. I was about to stand in it when someone else bothered a DMV empoyee walking by. They were not able to be helped right then, so I asked if I had to wait in line since I just had a camera card and everything was correct on it. He ushered me past the entire line to some seats for only camera card people, which was labeled as such, but I would not have seen it standing in that line. I felt like a VIP. I was in-and-out in 10 minutes.

After the guy helped me get the front of the line, some lady asked somewhat of the same question: "Do I need to wait in this line?" He asked her what she needed to do, and she rattled off 5 different things. He said "please stay here" when he should have said "Chick, you crazy? Get in that line!" So they even treated jerkoffs who needed to wait in line nicely.

watchwhathappens said...

um...welcome to new england?

yajeev said...

russ... takes one to know one.
mark... love the dialogue. wish it had had happened to me so i could've blogged it.
andy... i guess we're about even--you have your dmv, we have the pantry (and you are a vip)
watchwhathappens... thanks?