October 28, 2014

Into the den of the beast

My Oregon ID card was due to expire on my birthday (Thursday) so today my brother took me to DMV to get it renewed. (Acquisition of the wheelchair and slippers was part of the preparation for this mission.)

Actually, he took me there twice. The first time we found out that the rules had changed and I had to produce another piece of ID, so we had to return to my apartment to get my birth certificate.

It wasn't very crowded, and the woman who was managing the line recognized us as having been there earlier, and moved me to the front of the line -- which was nice of her. And it all went briskly. From start to finish, an hour and a quarter. (That's timed from when I left my apartment the first time to when I returned to it, so it includes two round trips in his car.) The actual time in DMV was less than 15 minutes.

Who says all government bureaucracies are terrible?

UPDATE: But when they took my photo they asked me to take off my glasses. So it doesn't look like me, because I always wear glasses. I can't see without them.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 09:40 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 205 words, total size 1 kb.

they asked me to take off my glasses. So it doesn't look like me
Wait...you don't look like yourself without your glasses?  Finally, your secret identity has been revealed!

Posted by: Siergen at October 28, 2014 12:34 PM (r3+4f)

2 Deep down, you always knew.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 28, 2014 01:13 PM (+rSRq)

3 For all the jokes and ragging on the DMV, I've never had any problems with the one in my state (Michigan).  I don't think I've ever been in there for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Posted by: CatCube at October 28, 2014 04:41 PM (fa4fh)

4 I've been for hours in a DMV office both in California and New Mexico. In NM, the racist employees even managed to discriminate my wife.

It was a funny story, actually. For some unfathomable reason, Mexicans always take her for one of their own (her family is actually from Voronezh region). Something in her face triggers them. It happens all the time and I'm not joking. Unfortunately, when she tells them that she does not speak Spainish, they usually presume that she is lying and is not willing to speak the language and trying to pass for a gringo woman. Sometimes you can see her Mexican interlocutor cross her arms and ask loudly, "And what language do you speak?!" Sometimes waving a Russian passport brings them to their senses, but not always.

Naturally, same thing happened in our DMV (which is called MVD). The offended clerk refused to renew her driver's license without a magical proof that she is a resident of the state -- and the U.S. passport was not good enough, of course. Neither was the still-valid DL. We had to take the matter to our state capital Santa Fe before the issue was resolved.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at October 28, 2014 06:43 PM (RqRa5)


A bank statement with your name and address, and a couple of bills (especially a water bill, which is sent by the government) with your name and address is usually good enough to establish residency.

I thought you two were naturalized. Aren't you American citizens?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 28, 2014 07:27 PM (+rSRq)

6 Of course we are U.S. citizens. But it's beside the point. The point I'm trying to make here is that a government employee gets angry once he or she realizes that he or she made an embarrassing, racist mistake and their first reaction is to cover it up. In this case, as soon as they realized that they were wrong, they pretended that our papers were not in order (which is why they they ostensibly denied my wife her renewal - and not because she looked like a Mexican woman trying to pass for gringo). The papers were in order, of course. That is why the superiors in Santa Fe had no trouble determining for the renewal.

Note that we had identical documents. However, my license was renewed without any drama, because I do not look like a Mexicans to proud Mexicans.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at October 28, 2014 07:54 PM (RqRa5)

7 "So what language do you speak?" In response, start cussing them out in Russian!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at October 28, 2014 08:40 PM (+rSRq)

8 >That is why the superiors in Santa Fe had no trouble determining for the renewal.
Her superior in that office backed her up? Geez.
>start cussing them out in Russian!
That was my first thought, too.

Posted by: RickC at October 29, 2014 05:14 PM (0a7VZ)

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