Monday, August 31, 2009

Adventures at the DMV...Again.

I'm going to try to be happy that it's Monday today. It's a beautiful day out there. There's a very slight crispness to the air, the sun is shining and as I drove in, there was a light mist hanging over the fields, enough to make it seem mysteriously beautiful.

Of course, the mere fact it's Monday makes it hard to appreciate the things like that as I drove in my Monday-Morning-Stupor but I am trying.

I did manage to have a good weekend though, for the most part. I was a good homeowner and spent a good part of the day in the garden, trying to do some weeding and clearing. I bought some shrubs and a tree on Saturday from Home Depot and planted those.

I like gardening. I find it nice to be outside, doing something useful. I probably should have stopped sooner since today, I feel like I went to the gym yesterday. My hands are stiff and sore from pulling weeds and geraniums up out of the dirt. My back feels sore from bending. It's nice to know that gardening is good exercise. It must be if my muscles ache that much. Nevertheless, I'm pleased with what I got done even though when you look at my garden, it only looks like I did a tiny piece of weeding. I'm quickly learning that it takes time to get things looking good. I have at least a few more weeks of weeding before it's going to look tidy.

It was nice to have a project to work on. It distracted me from the fact that I had yet another disappointing trip to the DMV. I say disappointing instead of infuriating because in all honesty, this time it wasn't my DMV's fault. I had to go and take my Ohio written driver's test to switchover from my California license. I passed. I was excited about that. Unfortunately, when it came time to get my license, I was told, "Oh, looks like the State of Indiana has a hold on your license." Of course, the DMV couldn't tell me why because they didn't know. They gave me a number to call. I called it. Naturally, the State of Indiana is closed on Saturdays.

I was furious. The only thing I can think of is that either a) they don't have a record of me paying the speeding ticket I got last December or b). they're mad that I didn't get my license switched over sooner.

If it's option a, then the nice little receipt I dug frantically to find should prove otherwise. If it's option b, I'm a little confused. I'd understand if I lived in the State of Indiana that yes, I know, technically I should have got my license switched over after becoming a resident. However, if the State of Ohio doesn't care then why on earth would Indiana?

Here's the thing. I just bought a house. That's a permanent residence. For all intents and purposes, my apartment was a temporary residence. Thus, I'm doing what is legal by the State of Ohio and attempting to switch my license over within 30 days of becoming a permanent Ohio citizen.

I'm baffled. I'm also infuriated that the DMV can't make anything easy. I'll find out shortly as to why I can't get my damn license.

Ok. So now I know. I had an accident in 2001 in which a lady I worked with ran a stop sign and hit me. Apparently, my insurance agent back then didn't fill out the mandatory paperwork and so, as a result, my license has been suspended because now it looks like I didn't have insurance.

I find this interesting given that it happened eight years ago and since then have been permitted to get a California license as well as get Ohio plates for my car. Nevertheless, until I can get the stupid insurance agent to get me the requisite Certificate of Compliance, I cannot be a licensed Ohio driver.

Why can things never be easy? That's what I'd love to know right now.

Still, I'm not going to let myself get stressed over this. I do have a legal license and if anything were to happen where I have to show the police my license, I certainly have a story to tell them as to why I still don't have an Ohio license. Oh, the joys of being a grown up.

Still, I will say, this trip to the DMV to take my driver's test was far less nervewracking than the last one I took when I was 16. I never had to take a test in California so it's been a great many years since I first got my license and had to take the test. So much of driving becomes second nature over time and aside from a quick read of the specific State laws for driving in Ohio, I didn't have to do much cramming. When I was 16, I was terrified of failure. I'll admit this time, I had the typical test-taking adrenaline rush that I always feel when I'm a little nervous but overall, the test was easy. I just had to close my eyes and pretend I was driving.

There were so many young teens in the DMV though and I know that for them, it was a far more nerve-wracking experience. They don't yet have the experience I have as a driver and you can see the stress written on their faces. They want their licenses so badly, they want to have the freedom of being able to get from place to place by themselves. That tiny laminated piece of plastic is their ticket to freedom, their way of proving that they're on the path to being an adult. You can see the hope, the desire, the need in their eyes as they go to the DMV. They clutch their Ohio Driver's Handbooks with white knuckles, trying hard to retain everything they learned in Driver's Ed.

Things have changed since I was last there; now there's a testing area with computers set up. Back in the olden days, we had a pencil and a hard copy of the test. For me, taking a test at a computer terminal isn't as stressful. It's a familiar place for me and so aside from getting mixed up over school buses, I passed with flying colours. I missed one of those questions that has two potentially correct answers and I picked the wrong one.

I don't think some of the teens were lucky. I saw one girl, eyes red from crying coming out the same time as me, clearly license-less. I feel bad for her. She can retake the test, obviously but aside from the lack of license, she also has to tell her friends that she can't drive without her parents yet. That's quite traumatizing at her age, I remember that. That's one of the reasons the DMV is scary.

For me, the DMV is turning into a stress-filled place due to the fact I never get what I want the first time I go. Nevertheless, at least I know why now. Let's just hope my former insurance agent gets his act together and can prove that eight years ago, I was insured.

If he can, there will be another DMV trip in my future. Let's hope this one goes well. You know I'll keep you posted.

Happy Monday.

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