Before anyone questions my sanity, the ONLY reason I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles last week was because I realized my license was going to expire while being out of the country. That’s right, this hot mess is going abroad for her birthday to Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival!
You can tell I haven’t been anywhere because everyone told me I could just use my passport to leave the country. But I’m a worrier to the highest degree, and I assumed I needed a minimum of 15 additional pieces of identification. While longingly looking at my perfect bangs on my ID last week, I realized it was going to expire in the middle of me “wining” on some stranger in the streets of Trinidad. I needed a new license immediately, and it was too late to order one in the mail. As I began to panic that my trip was in jeopardy, my heart sank into my stomach, as it dawned on me what I had to do: I had to physically go to the DMV.
Going to the DMV is already an excruciating process, but having to do it in Miami is on WHOLE ‘NOTHER LEVEL. It began with me having to take off work, because apparently you need vacation time to get a new ID. I decided to go with a half-day, because surely on its worst day, this DMV location should have me out in a few hours. My fleeting optimism at this moment is where my day started to go wrong. It continued as I realized my phone was at home and I couldn’t use Google Maps. How in the world was I supposed to find this place, when I can barely get out of my parking garage? With no phone, I actually to print out directions! I felt like one of the Goonies, looking for One-Eyed Willie with that tattered map.
My luck continued as I drove into the parking lot of the DMV location, which was situated in a place called the “Mall of the Americas”. It should have been named the “Mall of Confusion”, because it was impossible to find a parking spot amongst the hundreds of people trying to buy pretzels, Spanx, and shirts from the U.S. Polo Association. After finally finding a spot, I was extremely elated to see a line of about 50 people who were waiting to get IN LINE at the DMV office. Luckily, I was equipped with rations from my work husband, and hunkered down for a long afternoon. With no phone or book in hand, I decided to pull out my notebook and write. Here’s what happened:
1:30pm: I’m chilling in the line formed outside the office. A guy comes by, inquiring about the services we need. I wonder if I say “happy ending”, will he laugh? I decide not to, and state I need a license renewal. He looks at my license and says I’ll need to take a new picture and take a vision test. A new WHAT?! I was not prepared. Not only did I not wear any makeup today, I have one eyebrow, no bangs, and no Instagram filters to work with. This is going to be the worst day of my life.
1:34pm: In broken Spanish, I ask two ladies if they can hold my place in line so I can dip into T-Mobile. I inquire to the sales associate how I can communicate in Trinidad, in case I get locked up abroad.
1:44pm: I waste 10 minutes in T-Mobile, which is promising. However, when I returned to the line, I have yet to get inside the DMV. Also, the grannies who held my place in line have now multiplied to five.
1:50pm: Not only do I have no phone, but my FitGear watched just died. I can’t even analyze my calories or how bad I slept last night. Something needs to happen!
1:53pm: I overhear a mother tell a friend that her son will not be getting his license anytime soon, due to his behavior. He them tells her that when he turns 18, he’ll get on the bus, head to the DMV, and take the test by himself. He uses the Lord’s name in vain prior to referring to himself. They seem like really nice people.
2:00pm: I’m finally in the door! I probably have to stand up for the next hour, but I’m in!
2:06pm: Newsflash from Captain Obvious: The grannies have no concept of personal space.
2:08pm: A staff member walks by with a cop, counting people. I assume this means she knows that everyone in line may not be helped by the time this place closes at 5pm. Awesome. Oh, and I’ve seen about six cops in the office so far. What in the hell happens here???
2:23pm: The granny count has gone down to 3. They take turns going to the front of the line, complaining loudly, and then returning to the line to tell the others.
2:27pm: I get corralled into my section of the office where I renew my license. I hear number 343 called. I am number 421. I am going to die here.
SIDENOTE: Why won’t they allow me to keep this picture from 8 years ago? Why won’t they let me hold onto how good I looked back then? Have I mentioned enough that I had the best set of bangs? The government just won’t let me be great.
2:36pm: I have come to conclusion that this line system makes absolutely no sense. So I start to case the place like I’m going to rob it. We’re given a ticket number, and then this woman with a shrill voice has to call it out before you can get in the actual line to be serviced. She looks at the ticket numbers most of the time when people get in line, but not always. When you get to the teller, they don’t even ask for the ticket. So why can’t I slowly walk up to an open teller and say in a slow cadence “Please just help me get out of here. Take my damn picture, and don’t make any sudden moves.” Has any one tried this before? Before I declare myself the smartest person in Miami, I consider this may be the reason they have cops here…
2:50pm: Having no phone has rendered my useless. I start to snoop on the girl’s Instagram feed next to me. She’s looking at pictures of cheetahs. And cheese. I assume she is awesome.
2:57pm: Everyone is staring at a woman prepping to take her license photo. She brushes her hair. Bends over. Flips up, hair flying. Looks exactly the same. She is pleased with her work. Poor thing.
3:00pm: The lady in charge of the line has morphed into a school teacher. She tells us not talk too loud. Sit down. Move. No, move over here. Don’t sit there. Drink your juice.
3:20pm: I finally get called and jump in line. I get up to the teller. I try to reason with her by asking if I can keep my picture. She laughs and says get behind the line. I don’t sit long enough to register the flash that goes off. I can’t get a do-over, and I’m not able to see my picture beforehand.
3:35pm: I soon find out that I have to get in my 36th line of the day to pay for my license, because clearly it’s not a good idea to have the staff process your license and take money at the same time. I pay the teller, who tells me I now have to wait once more for the license to be printed. Maybe I should just get a job at this mall…
4:06pm: I’m able to leave! I walk out of the office, to people screaming at the police at the entrance that they can’t get in. I contemplate telling them they’d be better off with a fake ID or expired license, but decide against it. At this point, I’m too tired, so I walk out with my new ID, complete with cut off hair, one additional chin, and a Tupac hologram on the back. See you in eight years, fools!
-KEEP IT A HOT MESS