The California Department of Motor Vehicles takes a lot of criticism from politicians and the public, and no doubt some of it is deserved — long lines, under-trained clerks, poor service — but that didn’t seem to be the case in Madera’s DMV office a few weeks ago. In fact, it was entirely the opposite.
I needed to get my driver’s license renewed. I knew from experience that it was a good idea to get an appointment to get in line and perhaps get quicker service, but I am one of those people who never get around to doing what I ought to do.
I would join the International Procrastination Society, but I would forever put off showing up at meetings.
Well, a friend of mine said she would make an appointment in my name, and so she did. She told me when the appointment was.
“Be sure to show up on time,” she said. “And be sure you study for the test. You have to take a test.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” I said. “I don’t need a test.”
“Well, you’re going to have to take one,” she said. “Go over and pick up a manual so you can study.”
Well, I didn’t get around to picking up a manual, although they are fairly easy to get hold of. And they also are available on line. In fact, I forgot about the whole thing until my friend reminded me on a Friday that my license appointment was on the next Monday.
“I’ll skip the whole thing,” I thought. But the next Monday, another friend (?) was offering to drive me to the DMV office.
“You don’t want to drive there without a valid license,” she said.
Once there, I found the first person to wait on me was very friendly, and took me to where I could fill out a driver’s license application and take the test. At that point, I was a little panicky, because my appointment was in my friend’s name, and she is a woman. I figured they would kick me out for being a female impersonator. But it didn’t seem to matter.
What did matter, though, is that I flunked my test the first time. But — and you won’t believe this — the DMV folks very kindly allowed me to take the test again, and this time I passed it.
“Very good job,” said the test grader, as a kindly uncle would say to his delinquent nephew in an effort to encourage him.
Once my photo was taken, I got out of there with a new driver’s license (temporary) and a ticker tape parade. (Just kidding about the parade. They aren’t THAT friendly).
My new license arrived in the mail a few days later, and I felt as though the State of California had conferred on me a new validation. I was official. I was a legal driver. And I noticed by looking at the photo on the license that I was also a bit uglier than I was when the previous license photo was taken. Well, you can’t have everything.
Anyway, a hardy thanks to the DMV folks for making a toilsome task bearable and for keeping the roads of California just a little safer by requiring that I read the driver’s manual.