Thursday, July 23, 2009

Licensed and exhausted

I'd like to start off by saying that if I had to choose between going through the whole driver's license transfer process again and eating dirt, there's a good chance I'd choose the dirt. This should not have been nearly as difficult as it was I don't think but two days and several hours of waiting in line later, here I am. Here's the story...

Normally I think you have 60 days once you move to get a new driver's license made if you've relocated to a different state. But, since my last name has also changed and I don't have any other identification with my new name, I figured I needed to get this done quickly. I got online yesterday and looked up the address for the New Orleans DMV. At this point I should back up and explain that nothing is actually located in New Orleans as far as I can tell. I'm starting to think the city itself is like this big black hole. There's a bunch of buildings and houses and such, but I think they're all props and everything you really need is located out in one of the suburbs.

Ok, so anyway, I look up the DMV and of course, its not located here in the city--the nearest one is in Harvey, which is on the other side of the river. Since I'm still learning my way around, I make sure to print myself some detailed directions from Google Maps, so that I can hopefully get there and back without getting too badly lost. I even had the foresight to look at the DMV website and double check to make sure I was taking all of the right forms of identification with me to transfer my driver's license from Kentucky to Louisiana.

So yesterday afternoon I set out with my directions, passport, old driver's license, social security card, marriage certificate, blood/urine/tissue samples, GMAT test scores, and two witnesses to confirm I was who I said I was. (Ok, I'm lying about the last three but I really did have to have all that other stuff). I drive, and I drive, and I drive...and before long I am definitely lost. See, I knew going in that Google Maps has an uncanny ability to give horribly incorrect directions and sure enough, once again, this was the case. At this point I had two options--I could stop and ask directions at the scary looking gas station or I could just keep driving in circles and hope for the best. I was all set to stop and ask the guys at the gas station for directions when out of the corner of my eye, I see a sign indicating that the DMV is up ahead on my right. I have no earthly idea how I got there because goodness knows I'd long since given up on the directions I'd printer, but there it was.

Now I ask you; is there any place that is dirtier and more creepy than the DMV office? I beg to say, there is not. And of course, (no surprise here) the New Orleans DMV is especially dark and cramped and dirty and all those other unpleasant things that one tends to associate with public offices like that. I go in and the waiting area is literally packed. Standing room only. Oh and also, I'm the only white person in the room...I'm just throwing that out there. So I take my little ticket from the counter on the wall and stand there in the corner, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Just to pass the time I start reading the signs and posters hanging on the wall when all of a sudden, I see in the very corner, a tiny little hand printed sign that says "This Office Does NOT Do Out-of-State license Transfers." Are you kidding me??? I drove all the way out there for nothing? Why, I wanted to ask, was that not mentioned anywhere on the website???

By the time I finally got back home I was too worn out to try to find the office where I could get my license transferred, so I woke up bright and early this morning to begin the whole process all over again. I was told that I would have to go to the Metairie office (again, another suburb of the actual city) so I did the whole spiel all over again...directions, ID, marriage certificate, yada yada yada.

Thanks to another set of deficient directions I repeated that whole "getting lost" thing all over again but I'll spare you those details. I finally get to the Metairie Office of Motor Vehicles and walk into a room that is even more packed than the office I was in yesterday. I literally waited in line for half an hour just to get my number. Once I had that I could at least sit down, and wait for my number to be called. When it finally was I presented the lady with my fourteen forms of identification and explained that I needed to transfer my license and change my last name, since I had gotten married right before we moved. She looked at my old license and passport, and then she picked up the marriage certificate. "What's this?" she asked me. I thought it was pretty obvious based on the fact that it says CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE across the top in inch tall gold letters...but whatever. "You can't use this," she said. "Gotta have the actual marriage license itself."

Now, I stayed very calm as she was telling my this but on the inside I was really thinking something along the lines of, "If she tells me I have to go home and come back another day to do this, I'm probably going to strangle her."

Lucky for her, one of the managers came over and gave her permission to proceed without a copy of the marriage license, since I very clearly had a certified copy of the certificate.

Whewwwwww! All that to say, I am now a licensed driver in the state of Louisiana, as well as a registered voter, and I'm absolutely exhausted. And if something happens in the next three years and for some reason I have to get a new license made, I guess the cops are just going to have to come find me and haul me to jail, cause I ain't doing it.
My brand new state of Louisiana driver's license. Very different looking from Kentucky's--look how big the picture is!

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