Since Rob and I were woefully late in acquiring California drivers licenses and license plates, we decided it was time. We actually made an appointment at the DMV. Sounds reasonable.
We show up at our apponted time with wads of documentation in hand–proof of insurance, smog test etc. The line of people going out the door was intimidating, but because we had an appointment, we got to stand in the “short line” and we were up to the window in only a few minutes. So far, this is a breeze!
Then the first roadblock: We must have either a birth certificate or passport to get a drivers license. And we must have our smog test “verified.” So we drive back home. We find birth certificates. We return and drive around to the back of the building, as instructed, to get our smog test verified. (I still have no idea what this means; some guy checked our VIN and looked under the hood.)
Then we couldn’t find a place to park; another fifteen minutes wasted as we wait for this very slow woman to get into her car and relinquish her spot.
The “short line” is longer, but still not too bad. Rob’s documentation is approved, and he is sent through the door to the next stage in the process. I, however, still do not have proper identification. It seems a birth certificate isn’t good enough, because it doesn’t have my married name. Now they say I need a passport or a marriage license showing the name change. But they let me proceed to the next step, which is a huge room crammed with people where they call numbers.
Our numbers were called after maybe ten minutes. We answer questions, sign things, wrote checks. We have our pictures and thumbprints taken. Then another door. We have to take a written driving test! We both opted to skip reading the book and just take the test, and we both passed, but I barely did. Trick questions. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I go home to get my passport (this involved a frantic search) and made my third and final trip to the DMV, where the “short line” was now pretty darn long, and the room where you had to wait for your number to be called was total bedlam. I had #G146; they were on G98. And that doesn’t include all the numbers starting with other letters getting called. It was close to a two-hour wait.
They took my pciture and thumbprint again, then I returned to the window, and they FINALLY issued me a temporary permit.
So at last, we and our car are legal in California.
P.S. There was a blind man in the waiting room. This struck me as odd. A blind man is getting his drivers license? But then I realized he might just be getting a legal photo I.D., or he might be registering a car that some other person drives. So not that odd.