As far as I’m concerned, going to the DMV rates right up there with taking a trip to the dentist, and I HATE going to the dentist. My birthday will be here in a couple of weeks, and my license was set to expire on that day. As if that wasn’t reason enough to suck it up and go, I’ve also gotten some quizzical looks from people checking my i.d. lately. Although sometimes it could come in handy, I don’t typically wish to be mistaken for someone other than myself. Every fiber of my being wanted to stay in my nice warm bed this morning and procrastinate getting a new license for a few more days, but reason won out. I decided to just get up and get it done. I will say this from the outset: I have only encountered nice and helpful people at the Arlington DMV, and I think they do a fairly efficient job of moving people through and taking care of business. It just so happens that there are a lot of people living in this area, and a lot of them, like me, try to do the DMV thing on a Saturday morning.
I came to the party prepared. I had a big bottle of water, snacks, the last 175 pages of Anna Karenina, lip gloss, a utility bill (just in case I needed to prove that I live where I live…) and my renewal form. I was all set to hunker down for a long wait– or to go for a short hike.
I got a sense of how things were going to go when I had to start the adventure by standing in a line OUTSIDE of the building. There was a security guard blocking the entrance and controlling the flow of people. When I made it into the lobby and got to hang out by the big board of sample license plates (pictured above) for about 10 minutes (check out the Parrothead one… I did… several times…), I was excited to be making progress. Eventually, I got into the actual DMV, and got to stand in the line where you get to take a number. You may be thinking that A031 seems good. A– it is the first letter in the alphabet. The number 31– it isn’t that big. Well, I should tell you that they call out a mix of letters A-F with numbers up to 500 per letter in some sort of order that is neither alphabetical nor numerical. I think I got called at some point after D476. There are 20 customer service windows accompanied by this very calm and somewhat creepy voice that calls out numbers and tells you which window is ready to provide you with service. Again, I think it is fairly efficient, but it still involved about an hour and a half of waiting in lines, filling out forms, and listening to that voice before I was out the door with my new license. It is certainly a different experience than going to the DMV in my Arkansas hometown where your number might be 4, you can tell who has the number before yours because they were there first, it is likely that you will run into someone that you know, and there are a couple of people at desks who don’t have the benefit of fancy windows, digital signs or creepy automated voices. There is much more suspense at the good old Arlington DMV and much more time spent waiting your turn.
So, why am I making you suffer through my trip to the DMV along with me? Have I lulled you to sleep yet? I’m talking about it because, when A031 was called, I had a victorious little weight loss moment. I got my last license in the summer of 2004. My renewal form included the number that I reported as my weight at that time, and I must have been feeling quite generous because I’m pretty sure I spotted myself a good 30 pounds. It was taken before I started my second attempt at losing weight so I was about 130 pounds heavier than I am today. This time, I was very proud to give my real digits! I was also happy to get a new picture, even though I think my hair looks kind of weird. Here is a before photo and a current photo courtesy of the DMV:
Now, I’m pretty sure that the chair was closer to the camera in the old picture, but I still think there is a pretty noticeable difference. I’m also not sure why I look so shiny, why I’m sporting a fuschia glow, or why I have a crooked face. Do I look that way normally? If so, please don’t tell me. Crazy picture aside, I’m just glad to have a new license that is good until 2017. If you are one of my friends with an awareness of my bad parallel parking skills, thanks for not sending any anonymous letters to the DMV. I do appreciate it. I have no idea what the next 8 years will bring, but I’m pretty sure that I will need to do some driving during that time.
I accomplished quite a few tasks today. I had my DMV adventure, went to the gym, got a haircut (bad timing… I know… should have gotten the haircut first!), and ended the day with a trip to Trader Joe’s. I bought the ingredients to make one of my favorite black bean salads from an old Cooking Light recipe, and I’m planning to tell you all about it tomorrow. Right now, I plan to enjoy my cup of tea and try to finish my book. Kind of boring? Well, last weekend was pretty busy, and I’m just happy to have a quiet Saturday to get caught up on errands and have some time to relax. It couldn’t be more perfect. I hope you are having a perfect weekend too!