Thursday, March 03, 2005

Hi. Why no, they still haven't made any decisions. I am but one of many whose fates are waiting to be decided, so I need to remember that and just chill out. It's hard to do so when I made this huge and very difficult decision a full six weeks ago, and haven't yet been able to get the green light to do anything official. I am trying to internalize my anger. It's what I'm good at.

Today I had a lovely, lovely morning at the RMV. I know complaining about the cranky old ladies at the RMV is like shooting fish in a barrel, but this time seemed excessively irritating. I had to go back after an unsuccessful try on Monday, having my "grandmother" "sign" the vehicle-as-gift form. After taking a number and being called to one of the desks, I proudly said that we had managed to get the plates off of my old car and as such would not be needing to spend $36 on new plates. The sour-faced, put-upon-seeming lady looked at one of the many forms I had brought and pushed it back to me, highlighting an error. "The insurance company didn't fill in this date of transfer, so you can't transfer your plates until they do." I protested that I had gotten my insurance transferred on Monday, and that I didn't understand why I had to go back . She repeated what she had just said verbatim. Because my incomprehension was not due to hearing loss, I was still confused. She sighed. The office had been open for a mere half an hour and she was already out of patience. "Okay, let me try to explain this again." I tried to stop her so I could ask my question in a different way, but she put her hand up. Yes, readers, this 60-year-old, pucker-mouthed white lady did a talk-to-the-hand. So I let her repeat herself a third time and then I said, defeated, "How about I just get some new plates?"

So then things seemed to be moving forward, the form was filled out some more and spanking-new plates were pulled from the Magical Cupboard of New Plates. She scratched out the old plate number that had been put on the form and wrote the new plate number over it. Apparently the RMV ladies have special governmental powers, because when I had to make a similar change, I had to fill out a special "I made an error" form and go to the UPS store to pay $5 to get it notorized. Then I asked her how much new plates cost, and she said $36, and then I noted with horror the sign that said they only accepted cash or credit. I said I didn't think I had enough cash, and she sat and watched me calmly as I counted the cash in my wallet. No, not enough. "There's no ATM in this building, is there." "No, you have to go to the center of town." "Classic," I said. "Can you just put this all aside for me, and I'll be back in five minutes?" With resigned disgust, she said, "No, we cannot 'put this aside' for you!" The RMV is a harsh mistress.

I grabbed my forms and she put the license plates back into the MCNP and I drove into town. I took out $75, more than enough. I drove back and went into the office and took a number. Five minutes later I was called to a different lady than the one I had spoken to (there are three possible "windows" but they're just desks right next to each other, everyone can hear everyone else). I explained to Lady #2 what had just happened, and she calmly went through each and every form again. "This 1997 Camry has only 23,000 miles on it?" Listen bitch, my grandmother is 87 years old. She only drove herself to church and the hair parlor. Now can I have my expensive new plates? She pulled out some new plates from her very own Magical Cabinet, and scratched out the first new plate number on the form; again, using the bureaucratic superpowers. And then she said, "That'll be $111." Say what? "Wait, I thought it was going to be $36, or $50, or something," I said, like a dope. "No, it's 36 for the plates, 50 for the title change, and 25 for the gift fee." ($25 FOR THE GIFT FEE? This is why people turn Republican.) So basically lady #1 had sat and watched me count my money and say I was going to the ATM, yet she didn't volunteer the information that my total was $111. You know, because why would I have found that information useful?

I told her that I would have to go back to the ATM. So I did. When I came back to the RMV, there was nobody else waiting, so I looked expectantly at the ladies. They averted their eyes; I had to take a ticket. My number was called immediately; I ended up back and lady #1. She pulled ANOTHER pair of new plates from the cabinet, firmly crossed out the other three licence plate numbers and added the new. I paid and got the fuck out of there. Once I get the car inspected I'll be all set. All of this money and I might be moving out of state in a month. I am a chump.


Anonymous said...

oh, my. D Way, we'll have to form a support group.
Actually, no. Here's your support from one who's recently been--now it's been 5 weeks after my buy/sell car hell (not a bad rhyme) and I'm now only thinking about my groovy new car; Not the shite I had to endure. Though everytime I see Henning's portrait of me, I will be reminded.
On second thought, a support group it is. Now I need a drink.
Just remember, Patty and Selma work at the RMV and are based on every employee and it's not even funny how acurate it is.

av said...

Dang! That is an insane story. Talk to the hand! Anyone who is 60 and still works there has some issues. She has internalized how to drive people insane. Don't get angry, it will all get sorted out. You are doing the right thing by choosing change in your life and no decision can stop the momentum you created!

Anonymous said...

Hi again Debbie - my second e-mail to you came back undeliverable. It's a party - I was hoping to make a little blogger meetup out of it. Use the feedback form on West Side Story to e-mail me and get the details. I hope you can make it!
Jennifer A

Michelle said...

You make me weep, weep, I tell you, in anticipation of the rigors of getting my 1959 Volkswagen re-licensed after a three-year hiatus from the roads.

The Missouri DMV in Kansas City is much like yours, except that the CSRS are more ethnically diverse. Tehy're all about 60 and pissed off, though.