DMV = 2, KarinaJean = 0

Well, They got me again, and managed to destroy my famed “patience of a saint.�

I had to renew my driver’s license, I realized on Saturday as I was (ahem) driving down to Atlantic City that it had expired on my birthday, and that I had never renewed it. Yikes! So today, like a responsible citizen (but I guess not a citizen so responsible I stopped driving my car this weekend) I went down to the License Express DMV location near Penn Station. The License Express is Express. It’s great, and I was excited to get a chance to go there! But after my 10 minutes of standing in line, paying people, and having my picture taken were over, well, I found out that they could not give me my new license because my old one? Was RESTRICTED.

Yikes. Here’s the back-story: NYS absolutely positively requires you to turn in your plates after canceling your insurance. It’s a good idea, I guess, it keeps cars off the road that shouldn’t be on there. The penalty is either a fine, or suspension of your license. Except I have a sneaking suspicion that people who don’t want turn in their plates because they want to use them for their own nefarious purposes don’t really care if their licenses are suspended. I think the scofflaws who go around slapping expired plates on stolen cars and driving them at risk to life, limb, and societies general happiness don’t really worry that they’re about to get picked up for driving with a suspended license.

OK, so in early 2001 my brother trades some speakers for a car for me. I insure it and when we pick it up, we realize it’s really truly broken. Like, it needs a new engine. So I cancel the insurance and my brother forgets to turn in the plates. Long story short, even though the car doesn’t run, and is off the road, and even though my sister uses the broken car as a trade-in when she buys her new car, NYS doesn’t care and my license is suspended for 117 days. Luckily I use public transportation almost exclusively. I did write two letters to George Pataki, which honestly, crack me up. They are so funny. So they’re linked for your enjoyment and also because they provide a very concise and well written (if I say so myself) timeline of events. (I derive a bizarre joy from writing letters to people like this. I mean, “Frankly, I am dismayed.� !!! So funny. Maybe someday I’ll share with y’all the fantastic letter I wrote to my landlord…)

So, anyway, after all of that, after having slipped through the cracks and been ignored by the governor and sadly, discredited by the DMV, I find that once again, I have slipped through the cracks. My restriction had not ever been removed from my license so I had to walk the looong walk over to the other DMV office, stand in the line outside that wrapped around the block and wait for them to open, wait in another line, get a ticket, see someone in “enforcement� (where can I get a title like that? “I’m Karina Jean, and I’m in Enforcement.� Cool.), and in less than 5 minutes they had cleared everything up and renewed my license for me. It was so easy, it’s a shame they couldn’t have done it right the first time.

OK, so until now I’ve always maintained that the DMV was full of mostly courteous, professional, and competent people. I don’t know that this is the rule. Every actual real life person I speak to is a courteous and competent professional, but somehow I have been tripped up twice. I’m choosing to believe here that there are malfunctioning robots behind the scenes at the DMV, like Rosie from the Jetson’s only really really slow and stupid, and that’s the reason I keep having these weird problems. Like, you know, when R2D2 tries to hack into the Death Star computer and gets zapped. That’s what’s going on in the State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles. The only that frustrates me once I come to this realization is the fact that I have to make out my checks to “The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles� personally. That’s just not right.