See, most of my posts are me bitching about other people. But sometimes, dangit, I’m the problem.
A couple of weeks ago, Jesse and I had some errands that required us to rent a car – neither one of ours were suitable, or up to the task. To be quite frank, I drive an overpowered Mustang convertible with 225,000 miles on it, with bald tires and a slipping rear differential, so it’s isn’t suitable for very much but I can STILL suck your doors off while passing you in the slow lane.
We went trotting down the road to [Star Fleet's Finest] rent-a-runabout, where I had reserved a more reliable (and slower and more boring) small SUV. Everything was fine until I got to the counter and had to show my driver’s license. Which, as it turns out, is expired. It expired on my birthday, nearly four months ago.
I had never noticed.
I never get tickets because I’m sneaky and who the hell writes checks any more? It’s all about knowing to slow down before the blind hiding spots where the motorcycle cops lurk, and using the debit card.
I kept a straight face, and said, “Huh, must have left it at home. Go ahead and put it in his name, it’s just as easy.” Inside my head, I was doing more wild screaming “aaaaagh! I’m a felon! I’ve been driving around illegally for months! Wait, he’s looking. Be cool.”
So technically speaking, Jesse rented the car, and off we went.
My next thing was to figure out why I hadn’t gotten an automatic renewal. I always get an automatic renewal. So I called the DMV. Since I have to do this during office hours, there’s always a chance that I’ll get interrupted for work questions or rush projects, and the hold times are looooooong.
For several days, I did the following:
1. Phone the DMV.
2. Go through the endless menu of buttons to be pushed.
3. Get connected to the hold system.
4. Listen to the Muzak version of “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and don’t I wish I was kidding about the song selection but I’m not.
5. Wait 45 minutes.
6. Get an incoming call.
7. Put the DMV on hold, answer the other call, and see the hold light go off because that very second was when the DMV picked up the farking phone.
8. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Finally I got to talk to someone.
He agreed that I should indeed be eligible for automatic renewal. He mentioned that sometimes things get lost in the mail. He explained that I would have to go to the DMV office and handle it in person. He agreed that it did, in fact, suck to be me. Then he said thank you and hung up.
Next step: Find a nearby DMV office.
This is not hard because there’s a big cloud of misery over each such office. You can see it for miles. Then I start checking hours. The DMV system here in California has an appointment feature, which is great except that you can only use it for setting times at least one month away. They list wait times at the various offices: with appointment, 3 minute wait. With no appointment, 1 hour 40 minutes.
I spent several days trying to guess a pattern, like if I scheduled my lunch at 2:15 and drove to Fullerton, could I save twenty minutes? After much watching of wait clocks, I realized that the only thing to do was to show up first thing in the morning, before the line got long.
So today, I left early for work and went to the DMV office nearest my house. Then I went inside (wait time: 1 hour. DAMMIT). While standing around feeling my life ebb away, I realized that I probably had to have my proof of insurance card. I know I’d emptied all the extra crap out of my bag lately, into my trunk, so it must be in there. I go outside and start rooting through all the bits of paper.
Guess what I found.
Go on, guess.
My updated extended driver’s license. Good until 2014.
This means I have no memory of the following things:
- Getting the renewal form.
- Completing said form.
- Writing a check and mailing said form, or going online and making the payment.
- Receiving the license.
Having a middle-aged brain bites.