Scoot Commute

The Rhode Island DMV, or how to watch your life waste away before your eyes

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2011/02/14

Only in Rhode Island do you have to physically go to the DMV to renew your driving license. When I opened the letter a couple of weeks ago, I let out a heavy sigh. I really didn’t want to go to the DMV, even in its new location.

The doors lock at 3:15pm. If you’re inside the building, they have to serve you. I walked through the sliding glass door around 3:05pm; the date stamped on my ticket read 3:07pm. I had ticket number 1765; the board read 1324. I settled down for a read of a journal article for a class on Wednesday and did my best to try to block the inane conversation floating around me and the bleating of the automated ticket caller (“one three five six now being served at window number fourteen”). I really don’t understand these people who come to a place where you know you’re going to have a couple hours wait and they don’t bring anything to read or, at the very least, listen to.

I was the second to last person served. I was directed to window #23, where I sat down and realized that no interior designer was consulted in the renovation of the building. It was a normal size chair but the height of the service desk is much too high. I felt like a little kid looking up at the big teacher as I slide my current license and renewal letter across the desk. I smiled meekly and asked, “Are all the chairs like this?” The woman behind the glass divider stared at me.

Again, I’m renewing my license. I assume that the great state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations requires me to do this transaction in person so that I can have a new photo taken and do an eye test; I’ve got an A restriction on my license as I wear glasses.

Nope. I’m wrong. The clerk asked me if I wanted to take a new picture or if the old one was ok with me. “Sure, it’s fine to keep the old one,” I told her. “Great; let me just print up your temporary license.” She walked off and returned in half a minute with my new license. No eye check, nothing. I confirmed it had the H restriction still listed which is what other states call an M endorsement to allow me to ride a motorcycle legally. Yep, it’s there. I thanked the woman, bundled up my stuff, and walked out of the building.

As I’m walking over to the scoot, I’m getting really hot. It’s hot out. I am completely overdressed. It’s so hot that I don’t even zip up my midlayer jacket or pull on the balaclava. I have a thing about the air hitting my throat, but it’s so hot, I’m going to ride without the protection of the balaclava throat covery thing. A woman walks by and shouts over that I must be loving this weather. I didn’t want to disappoint so I nodded in the positive. But man, it was hot out!

As I would be passing the REI on the ride back home, I had brought an Ortlieb bag with me to return. I’m swearing off yellow. It clashes with the DRZ. Walking back to the scoot after my successful transaction (gotta love it as I’ve had the bag since October, never used, full refund, no questions asked), a little girl and her mom have just exited an SUV. The little girl is just about to jump in a puddle of water (did I mention it was warm? the snow is melting everywhere) and the mom grabs her arm and barks, “You have to ask if you want to jump in a puddle. And now is not the time.” Wow. To a 3 year old girl. Lady, get a grip. It’s just some water. She was wearing rubber boots. Beat any creativity and fun out her now so she’ll do well in school.

Ride home was uneventful. I made a mean-looking fake blonde driving a big Ford SUV smile when I waved her in on a merge. And a guy gave me the double-flash to make a left in front of him. We can get along.



One Response

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  1. Keith said, on 2011/02/14 at 8:26 pm

    I am very glad that Missouri’s DMV isn’t near the ordeal you describe. And, if one has to renew a driver’s license it goes even quicker. Still I complain about having to go. I will remember your experience and keep telling myself how good I have it when in April I go in to renew my plates for the Symba.

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