Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Rhode Island DMV: This Century's Seventh Circle of Hell

I have such a bad attitude when it comes to dealing with the Rhode Island Department of Public Vehicles. But this isn’t an arbitrary loathing of the department; the RI DMV has earned my hate—which can only be described as intense as the fire of a thousand suns.

When we first moved to Rhode Island I had to get a RI license and get RI plates for my car. I called the DMV ahead of time and asked the operator what documentation I would need to accomplish this feat. She told me I would need a form that I could get at the DMV, proof of residence, and my Massachusetts drivers license. I arrived at the DMV, took a ticket, waited an hour (though I brought a book to pass the time, I didn’t need it as the people watching at the West Warwick branch is intriguing, to say the least) and finally my number was called. I proudly presented my Massachusetts license, my RI proof of residence, and the form that I had filled in. The woman at the counter informed me that I didn’t have another form that I had to get from my car insurance company (writing the policy numbers on the form wasn’t enough) and there was something else I needed too. She shooed me aside, and called the next number. It took two more visits for me to finally get my RI driver’s license and registration.

Then two years later Todd and I got married, and I needed to go back to the DMV to get my name changed on my license and registration. Again, I called the DMV and asked what I needed to bring with me so I could get this done. She said I just needed to bring the marriage license and my license and registration. I arrived at the DMV, and once again proudly presented my documentation. The woman behind the counter asked me “And where is your social security card?” I asked her why that was necessary, as the operator on the phone didn’t say anything about it. She informed me that my social security card needed to be changed first, and then my license. It took one more visit for me to finally have my married name on my license. I didn't bother changing the name on the car, figuring I would eventually sell it--thus taking the path of least resistance.

Then I bought my Jeep off of eBay a year later. The car was located in Connecticut, two hours away from where we live. I called the DMV to find out how to get a transit plate issued so I could bring the car to RI. I was told that the state of RI does not issue transit plates. Their solution was to go to CT, sign the bill of sale, bring it to the DMV, get temporary plates, then go back to CT, get the car, then go back to the DMV again and get the real plates. Todd and I decided that this process was less than ideal for two people who have jobs to go to and lives to lead, and instead created our own somewhat illegal process for bringing the Jeep home.

I went to the DMV with all the necessary documentation to register the Jeep. Something was amiss with my documents, and I couldn’t get the car registered that day. I left the DMV, frustrated as hell, and called Todd when I got to work, “Honey, I am begging you. Will you please register this car? I just cannot. do. the. DMV. I swear that organization hates me. Please!” The next morning I accompanied Todd to the DMV, with the same exact forms as I had the day before, and we left in five minutes with license plates. He gloated at me, “See, it’s all in how you approach the DMV. If you hate them they know it and they won’t work with you.” I grumbled as I screwed the plates onto the car in the DMV parking lot, “Let’s just get out of here before they realize that they cooperated with me and come out here to take my plates away.”

Last summer I got a notice in the mail that the registration on the truck needed to be renewed. Fortunately, RI has entered the 21st century and offers the ability to renew the registration online. Unfortunately I forgot to do it online, and missed the deadline to renew the registation online. This was my own fault, and I kicked myself over and over “Stupidstupidstupidstupid! Now you have to go to the damn DMV! What were you thinking?”

I went to the DMV, got my ticket, and waited a half hour until my number was called.

Beej: Hi, I need to renew my registration please?

Guy: We don’t do that here.

B: Um, what?

G: We don’t do that here.

B: I, um, don’t understand.

G: We. Don’t. Renew. Registrations. Here.

B: Um, but this letter came in the mail from the DMV, and I am at the DMV (looking around making sure I was not in, say, a bakery) I don’t understand.

G: (With a look that almost resembled compassion, if he wasn’t sneering with his mouth) I know you don’t understand. We just don’t do registration renewal here.

B: Then, um, where can I get this renewed?

G: Triple A. Next!

You can imagine my panic when I got a notice in the mail last week telling me I needed to have my driver’s license renewed. A license renewal cannot be done over the Internet, or by mail. I would have to go to the DMV to get this done. This morning I studied the notice to make sure I had everything I would need to renew. I packed my passport, my birth certificate, my social security card, my blood donor card and my current license into my purse, along with a book. I considered obtaining a letter of recommendation from my friends as well, you know, just in case. I arrived at the DMV, pulled number 144 off of the machine, they were on number 142. I sat on the bench, threw on a coat of lipstick in preparation for a new license picture. Just as I was putting my lipstick away, number 144 was called.

I walked up to the counter, prepared for anything the woman behind the counter could tell me that would prevent me from walking out of there with a new license. In two minutes I was out the door with a new license, registered to vote in the upcoming primary, and once again an organ donor (because they forgot to do that when I changed my name). I didn’t even have to take a new picture (how sad is it that my hairstyle has not changed in four years?)

My perception of the DMV is still that of hell on earth. But at least this week I will only have to go there once to get something done, and managed to get it done in less than five minutes.

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1 Comments:

Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

I think you need to move out of RI. lol And it floors me how people can actually walk out of DMV w/a new license in their hand! In CA you've got to wait for it to arrive in the mail...2-4 weeks. Niiice

So, is it still the topless picture of you? LMAO

January 23, 2008 at 7:32 PM  

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