Daily Archives: 2004-01-03

Virginia DMV

So I’m at the Virginia DMV, and it’s the most pathetic DMV I’ve ever been to. I’ve been to DMV’s in Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Texas, and Mississippi, and this has to be the absolute worst. I went to the Arlington service center yesterday, after checking the website to make sure that it wasn’t closed for the holiday. There was a page titled “Holiday closures”, but it contained only a message saying “No notices.” Of course, it was closed.

So I try again today, and it’s incrediblly crowded. By complete chance I get a parking space on the second trip through the lot. I blow past the line so I can just get the form I need, and they’re making announcements that wait is 2.5 hours and the office in Tyson’s Corner has only 30 people waiting. Like an idiot, I hop in the car and go to Tyson’s, where the line turns out to be around the building. I wait for an hour in line (queue) just to get in the building, and then I get a number and start to really wait.

Similarly stupidly, I didn’t have the sense to bring a novel, so I’m stuck writing on my PDA to pass the time. I’ve also managed to read the complete rules for Curling which were on my PDA for reasons that are obscure. (To say the least.)

After about 40 minutes, they took my documents, glanced at them and sent me back to my seat while they send them to the “document verifier”, which they claim will be only 10 minutes. Sigh.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. It’s not like this compares to soup lines in the depression or the bureaucracy of socialist countries. If we set our sights low, we’ll never achieve much.

Somehow I was amused by the Virginia state motto,”Sic semper tyrannis” on the flag outside the building. Can it be considered tyrannical to be incompetently bureaucratic? How pathetic do social services be before it’s worth revolution? Isn’t that basically what caused the American revolution; that the Brittish crown forced people to sail back to London to go to the DMV? I’m not sure.

20 minutes later, they called me back up to the counter to dicker some more. That took 10 minutes or so. Apparently I can only get a license for 1 year because none of the forms of ID prove I’m a US citizen… including my military ID card! My own stupid fault I suppose for not bringing my birth certificate or my passport, but also Virginia’s fault for criminal bureaucracy. After this parley, I get to sit again for ten minutes in the picture-taking line.

The wait for a picture really is 10 minutes. Then I get to wait while they make my card.