Sunday, June 14, 2009

A License to Thrill - The DMV Dilemma

We all know the Department of Motor Vehicles is a horrible, soul crushing place to spend an entire day. Yet there is always a question in the back of our minds; "Why does this place have to suck?" Shouldn't we be allowed to turn the tables every now and then? Perhaps, have some fun at the DMV? Nay, we are there for one reason, and one reason only! To get our license renewed! Even so, there is another series of questions lingering in our minds. "Why are these people such assholes? Which of the people I am standing with today made them this way, and why do they pass it on to me?

I took the liberty (and most of an afternoon) to find out for myself and, of course, for you. I have persuaded three employees of the busiest DMV offices in my area to sit down and answer some questions I have for them. I compensated them "competitively", and provided a lunch for them. I had a sit down interview, and they answered everything that I had asked of them, as long as I had the proper paperwork completed prior to asking the questions, that is.

I believe introductions are in order, considering I paid these people for their time, I should be able to write whatever I want about them. The first to sign on to my little DMV endeavor, was Marisol Vasques, an 8 year veteran of the DMV, she has seen pretty much everything. Next up, we have Zack M., of course that is just an anagram as he wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation at his Garfield avenue office.No, he isn't the one with the crazy red hair, and bold scar running vertically down his right cheek from just under his eye to right on the crest of his jawline. Zack has been with the DMV for just over 5 years now, and he 'loves' every minute of it... Finally we have Albert Hauss, he is a senior department manager with the County Licensing team; He's the one that hands people their licenses after the picture is taken. Albert has been with the DMV for 9 years and counting... Anyway, on to the questions!

A.R. - Hello Albert, Zack, Marisol, it is a pleasure to have you here, thanks for coming out today.
All - You're welcome.
Albert - You said there would be sandwiches?
A.R. - I'll ask the questions here.
A.R. - I have Bologna and Turkey.
Zack - That wasn't a question.
A.R. - Yes it was, which would you prefer?
Marisol - We get a choice?
A.R. - So, If I want to get a fishing license, which form do I fill out?
All - ...
A.R. - Because I went and stood in line for like three hours, but every time I handed them a form they told me it was the wrong one. So far I have a Hazmat, a church parking permit, a sunday school zone parking permit, and a turtle breeding permit. Can any of these be used to fish?
Marisol - No, you have to fill out form 2687.5B-17.
A.R. - Is that the blue one?
Zack - No, it is the teal form.
A.R. - This one? (Holding up official looking form)
Albert - No, that's seafoam.
A.R. - Oh, no wonder why I can issue parking permits in Wisconsin.
Albert - You did this in Wisconsin?
A.R. - Excuse me?
Albert - What?
A.R. - So, everyone, what is one of the most annoying things that you have to deal with on a daily basis?
All in unison - Forms.
A.R. - Is this the fishing license form? (As I hold up an almost blue, yet slightly green form with some animal that doesn't look like any natural being on the face of the earth on the crest.)
All - ...
A.R. - ... Moving on. When you were first employed with the Department, was there a screening process?
Albert - Well, there was the interview, and then the stress test, and the application.
A.R. - And what did this stress test entail? 
Zack - Forms.
A.R. - (Chuckle)
Zack - (Stares at me blankly)
A.R. - Sorry, I just find that slightly ironic, and you have to adm.... Is this the fishing form? (I hold up a greenish blue form with a hopeful look in my eyes)
Marisol - No, that is the dog breeder's license request form.
(I make note of that)
A.R. - So basically, you had to fill out forms, in order to tell people that they had to fill out forms?
Zack - Well, in a nutshell that's
(Zack gets cut off by Marisol mid sentence)
Marisol - Did you fill out the request to question DMV guidelines form 76985-7C?
A.R. - Is that, this one?
Albert - No, that is the fishing license request form.
A.R. - HA! I found it!
Zack - Wait, this whole time, were you actually interviewing us, or were you trying to get a fishing license?
A.R. - As I said earlier, I'll ask the questions here.
Marisol - Can I have my sandwich now?
A.R. - Ehem.
Marisol - Sorry, I'm a bit hungry.
A.R. - I don't really have anymore questions, oh, wait, there is one. How long does it take to get a license suspension request approval form from the government request log retrieval department?
Zack - You aren't supposed to know about that.
A.R. - It is amazing what some honey Dijon mustard can get you when used with the right bread.
All - (Blank stare)
A.R. - Thanks for coming out.
(Eating all the sandwiches)

So, I guess that was a successful trip to the DMV. I finally got my fishing license, and now I can fish off of a boat more than 20 feet from any shoreline in New Jersey. Next time, I'll see what it takes to get the right postage on a package that doesn't fit the proper dimensions!

-Ari Racz

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