Not-So-Thankful Thursday, or Why the DMV and I Aren't Friends

*DISCLAIMER*  This post is far longer than I originally anticipated.  I apologize for writing a novel.

I turned 26 this year...along with many other things, this means I got the opportunity to renew my driver's license.  Getting a tooth filled without Novocaine (which I have done, btw), having my eyebrow hairs plucked out one by one, and appearing in public in the nude are all events that appear higher on my "What I Want to Do in My Spare Time" list than going to the DMV, so naturally, I was less-than-excited for the task.  In an attempt to get it over with sooner, I dragged my sorry self and all of the requisite paperwork to the DL Division at the end of February.  Conveniently, Cole needed to renew his license as well, so at least I had a buddy to commiserate with.

My mom told us the DL Division at Point of the Mountain was better than most--because of its remote location, the wait was bound to be less than at, say, the DL Division in West Valley (which was also bound to be overrun with miscreants), which is closer to our house.  We heeded her advice and took a trip south.  Unfortunately, the whole "less-crowded" assumption was wrong.  The parking lot was full, but we grimaced and groaned and headed inside.

We had the foresight to print the application off the DMV website to speed up the process.  We took our place at the end of the queue and waited for our turn.  Surprisingly, the line moved much more quickly than we anticipated, and before we knew it, we found ourselves handing in our paperwork and posing for the camera.

Speaking of the camera, why is it that everyone looks about 20 pounds heavier in their driver's license photo?  Even the svelte Audrey Hepburn would come out looking like this:

We accepted our numbers then took a seat to wait for them to be called.  Fortunately, we didn't even sit for 2 minutes before they were both called.  "Finally, a bit of luck!" we thought.  For me, that luck seemed to run out as soon as I reached the counter.  Cole breezed his way through, but the gentleman (I use that term very loosely) who was helping me brusquely informed me that he was unable to renew my license at that time.  Apparently my license had been suspended in July 2010 because a ticket I received hadn't been paid in full (oops...:S my bad).  Before I could get my license renewed, I had to pay off the ticket, get a clearance form from the traffic court, and pay a reinstatement fee.  Okay, yeah, that was all well and good.  The problem with the situation was how PATRONIZING the man was.

Cranky DMV Guy: Didn't you receive this letter from us?  *sneer* *shows me the letter on the computer screen*
Me: Well, no, because I haven't lived at that address for a few years (the address in question was where we lived when we first got married...3 moves ago)
CDG: You KNOW it's your responsibility to update your residential address with the DMV within 10 days of moving, right? *sneers again*
Me: I've always had a mail forward to my current address, so it should have gotten to me anyway.  thinking: Because I don't have a kajillion other things on my mind while moving to a new place...OBVIOUSLY I would think to call the DMV and give them my new address before I notify my friends and family.
CDG: Until this issue is resolved, I'm unable to do anything to help you.  I'm sorry (he's CLEARLY not sorry).  *sneers some more*
Me: Okay, well, thanks.  thinking: his face is going to be stuck like that if he keeps this up...but maybe that would be an asset, since he works at the DMV and they're unpleasant on principle.  

Yeah, I know, it was totally my fault--I should have remembered to pay the ticket.  But seriously, did the guy have to be so SNOTTY?  It's not like I killed a guy or anything.

Incensed by the whole exchange, I immediately called the traffic court and paid the citation.  Unfortunately, the office was closed for the afternoon so I wasn't able to pick up the clearance letter necessary to continue the whole ridiculous process.  What was even more ridiculous was what I found out when I picked up the letter the next day: "Oh, you probably don't really need that.  As soon as you paid the citation it was updated in the system and the DMV would be able to see that."

I got my stinkin' letter anyway.  I didn't want to take any chances with the extremely hospitable DMV employees.

Instead of heading back to Bluffdale and risk a second meeting with Mr. Personality, I decided to visit the West Valley DMV.  *shudder*  It was packed despite being 11:30 on a Thursday afternoon.  I took my number, sat for a bajillion years, then finally got my turn at the counter.  The woman helping me was slightly more personable, but did she ask me for the clearance letter?  OF COURSE NOT.  I paid my reinstatement fee and my renewal fee, and everything seemed just peachy...except for two things.

I asked to have my maiden name removed from my renewed license.  

*BACKSTORY*  When we first got married, I was still in school, and a lot of important things were still associated with my maiden name.  Rather than carry my marriage license with me everywhere and whip it out at the slightest doubt that I was "Jessica Kenner" and not some nefarious imposter scheming to take over her life, I left my maiden name on my driver's license.

Now, there's really no need for my maiden name to be on my license anymore so I asked to have it removed. Plus, it's better if my DL matches my SS card, which does not have my maiden name on it.  Easy, right?  You'd think I asked the lady to cut off an appendage.

DMV Lady: Oh, I'm not sure I can do that.  Is it your middle name? after I already explained that it's my maiden name
Me: Um, no.  It's my maiden name.  I don't use it anymore.  I want my DL to match my SS card.
DMV Lady: Ok, well, let me ask if that's ok.  *calls a supervisor*
DMV Supervisor Lady: I'm sorry, but we can't take the name off your license.  We're required to leave all middle names...
Me: But it's NOT my middle name!  It's my maiden name, and I don't use it anymore.
DMV Supervisor Lady: Oh, okay.  Well, then, that's fine.  We can do that.
Me: *relieved* Thank you.
DMV Lady: *types for a million years* There...that's all taken care of.  Oh, just one more thing...

I had to take a quiz.

She told me that because my license had been suspended for more than x amount of time, I had to take a 25-question test on the driver's handbook.  "Awesome," I thought.  "It's only been 10 years since driver's ed; I'm SURE I remember all of the answers."  Lucky for me, it was open book.  I only had to get something like 80%, but I had this irrational desire to get EVERY question right.  I didn't want the lady manning the desk thinking I was an imbecile as well as a delinquent.  The quiz took me longer than it should have because of my craziness, but I got all the questions right.  I rolled up to the desk, extremely pleased with myself...until she printed out my temporary license.


There it was, right at the top: MY MAIDEN NAME...after I expressly asked to have it removed.

Me: I talked to the lady who was helping me before, and she told me that my maiden name would be removed from my license.
DMV Lady #2: Oh, well, we're not allowed to remove middle names from licenses.  
Me: *feeling a bit like a broken record* It's NOT my middle name.  It's my MAIDEN name, and I don't use it anymore.  I'd like it removed.
DMV Lady #2: Ok.  Let me call someone and make sure that's all right.
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: We can't take middle names...
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: All right.  Do you have a middle name?
Me: No.  I have no middle name.  My name is Jessica Christensen.  That's it.
DMV Supervisor Lady #2: Okay.  *looks doubtful*  We'll go ahead and take it off.  is it really so unbelievable that I don't have a middle name?
Me: Thank you.  

She printed out a piece of paper showing me what my REAL license would look like, and told me to expect it in 4-6 weeks.  

I waited.  And waited.  Cole got his license a week and a half later.  I got nothing.

Six weeks later, I called the DMV.  I was told my license had been sent to my mailing address in Springville.


Yeah.  Some genius left my 5-year-old address as my mailing address, and now my license was who-knows-where with who-knows-who.  Awesome.  The employee told me I had to wait another 2 weeks in case the license came back to them, at which point they would re-send it to my correct address.  I triple-checked the name that would appear on my license: "Jessica Christensen."  Good--it would be just my luck to get my new license and have it STILL bear my maiden name even after asking two employees and two supervisors to change it.

Two weeks came and went.  No license.  I called again.  This time, the employee was extremely pleasant and told me she'd get one sent out right away.

And...three weeks later, I still don't have a license.  I called this morning and was told there was no record of a second license being sent out (thanks a lot, good-for-nothing, albeit pleasant employee!), and the lady I talked to today said she'd put the request in and get one sent out...yeah, we'll see how that works out.

So, the DMV and I aren't friends right now.  My question is, how long do I wait before I beat down the door and demand they make me a copy on the spot?  

P.S. If my new license still has my maiden name on it, I MIGHT burn the place down.  Just sayin'.


Stephanie said...

Would you add a trip to the dentist to watch a muted Obama dubbed over with Taylor Swift to your list of things you'd rather do than go to the DMV?!

Best. Post. Ever. I laughed myself silly.

that's what she said...

ugh! what a pain!!! and i agree on the sucky picture thing. my last one i had done a few weeks before i had bennett. fat and swollen pregnant lady adding to the camera that makes you look even fatter. if the dmv wasn't such a pain, i'd be dying to get back in there for a new picture.

JAEAEAJ said...

I've never had a problem with the dmv.... At least not one I can remember but I have a few friends and family who work there and I always go to them.... beats dealing with the less friendly or un-knowledgable. The East Bay office in Provo is amaing but that is a bit of a drive!

Devri said...

Wow. That's all I can say, "wow"--really sarcastically, not in a "you're so awesome" way. Sometimes, people are so....

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