The good, the bad, and the ugly. And the eerie…

The theme for the day was taking care of unpleasant, nerve-wracking little tasks, so I began the day by getting my driver’s license renewed. It has to be done every four years here in the Great Lake State but every *other* four years, you can do it on the Internet. I did the Internet thing four years ago so my number was up for a trip to the Secretary of State. Not my favorite place to go, mostly because it is always mobbed. Today, I resolved to get the dastardly deed done on the way to work and I did although I came close to bagging it (see the bad, below).

Okay. The good. Very cheerful folks working there. Polite, friendly, competent, and did I say FAST? Because yes, they are QUICK! So, once I got in there and they called my number (see the bad, below) the whole thing got taken care of in under about three minutes. Really! Also good? They do not apparently require you to take that obnoxious multiple choice test any more. What Every Driver Should Know. Despite the fact that I always used to ace that test, having to take it always made me nervous. There was always a trick question about driving a truck and I do not drive a truck, so I did not know it. Today? Sign on the line, read the top line of letters in the eye thingy, pay, stand in front of the blue photo backdrop and you are done and outta there. Wham bam, thank you ma’am!

The bad? The dern place STILL opens only 9-5 on weekdays. Well. I WORK during those hours. Yeah, there’s the 5-7 PM extended hours on Wednesday. I’m sure the place is mobbed then and I turn into a pumpkin somewhere about halfway home from work. How’s about opening a little EARLIER in the morning some other day? Or some Saturday hours? Customer *service*, don’tcha know. I got there at 10 minutes to nine this morning and there were already 10 people ahead of me. And we couldn’t get in. The staff was all in there having a wonderful time. I don’t mind that they don’t open the doors until the stated opening time. That’s business! The Plum Market does the same thing. It’s okay. I would do that if I worked there too. The problem was that when nine o’clock rolled around, they didn’t open the doors. Why not? I don’t really know but I’m gonna guess it was because the old wall clock behind the counter was five minutes behind. It read five minutes to nine. I think whatever my iPhone is hooked up to is more accurate and all the other smart phone owners did too. Get with the program, folks. Oh, and they take plastic but they ONLY take Mastercard and Discover. I of course have two VISA credit cards and a VISA debit card. Fortunately, I managed to cough up $18 in crumpled old cash. But what’s wrong with VISA?

The ugly? There was a nasty, draconian-style note on my renewal application that said they couldn’t “reconcile” my social security number and needed proof that it existed. Really? Say what? Well. Because:

Social Security numbers are used for child support collection and to assist in establishing identity.

Roight. I don’t really want to get into a rant about that but here’s a link. I mean, me? I have been driving for 40 years (yikes!) and I have had ONE accident (knock wood) in all those years. It was my first winter of driving and there was glare ice everywhere and somebody else came left of center. Wasn’t my fault and no injuries. Aaaaannnnddd… Then. 16 years ago I ran a red light. I am still mortified about that! Heck, we have elected officials that have accidents, speeding tickets, and DUIs up the wazoo! I am not some scofflaw. So, this initially sent me into a panic. I can rattle off my SSN plus the GG’s from memory but do you think I can find the blasted card? No. Because I have stashed it in a very safe place somewhere in the Landfill. [Long boring story] I was thinking I would have to take time off work to go downtown to the social security office and apply for a replacement card. And I was procrastinating about that and then I was panicking because it was getting late and I would never be able to get a new social security card in time to get my driver’s license renewed on time. And THEN! I READ the darn renewal application!!! Good idea, KW. Because, of course, I didn’t need the actual card. I could use a paystub, or a 1099 or a W-2. So, I dredged up a W-2 from last year’s taxes and took it in there and, wouldn’t you know, the clerk didn’t even ask about it until *I* brought it up! So WTF?

The eerie? Well, beam me up! How do you think I passed my time waiting to be called up to the counter? By using my phone handheld computer to: 1) pick at the NYT xword puzzle (Friday, therefore hard but I *almost* finished without any googling!), 2) play a few games of solitaire, 3) reply to an email from Sam the Archaeologist, 4) check twitter, fb, news, and the SOS’s own website to double-check that I had the right blasted documents. At any rate, the last time I had to sit around waiting to renew my driver’s license, I was twiddling my thumbs, not communicating with a friend in Hotlanta.

In the end, I thanked the woman who processed my renewal very warmly. I told her she was very fast and efficient and how much I appreciated that. The folks who work there have nothing to do with the byzantine bureaucracy surrounding the Secretary of State’s office. Except that I suppose they *could* reset that stupid clock…

So, that odious task completed successfully, I forged on to work and embarked on the next odious task of the day, which was to do my annual performance evaluation. I won’t talk about that except to say that it was the last possible day to submit it and I was not the only person who procrastinated until the last minute as evidenced by the groans coming from my cube neighbors and the crashes and general slodginess of the tool we use for those things.

Gooooood night, KW!

3 Responses to “The good, the bad, and the ugly. And the eerie…”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I absolutely hate the DMV; it’s the most depressing place ever. I dread going there, especially the wait.

  2. jane Says:

    for the past several visits to the Secretary of State I go to Chelsea. NEVER a line. I can leave work, drive to Chelsea, get my new tabs or whatever and be back at work all in less than an hour. I swear by this process. of course, if I had my act together an did it via mail or internets, I wouldn’t even need to drive there, would I?

    last time I was there I said ‘I LOVE coming here!’ and the clerk said – oh yeah – you’re from Ann Arbor. 😉

  3. kayak woman Says:

    I’ve heard that about Ypsi and Saline too. But here I am, literally within walking distance of the A2 SOS, so I persist. I do *all* of my vee-hickle registrations on-line and have been since the late *1990s*, believe it or not. It is REALLY easy and fast! That is, except for some fiddly Courtois boat/trailer type stuff that the GG does.