The local DMV not so bad

I consider myself to be a fairly brave individual. I’ve always been a risk taker. I used to race cars, I’ve played football. I even arm wrestled a very large lady at a gym once. I’m not afraid of dark, large insects or messy things.

A while ago I had to face one of my few fears. I had to go to the DMV.

I haven’t always been afraid of the Department of Motor Vehicles (hereafter known as the DMV). As a small child I had no dealings with them. I became a teenager and a driver’s license became an object of desire.

This involved my first visit to the DMV to obtain a learner’s permit. It was a small town and my mother went with me. She knew the lady behind the counter from Bingo and so things went well. Driver’s test went well since as a farm kid, I’d been driving tractors since I was six and by 10 all the local kids had field cars and were driving to each other’s houses through those fields.

Things went along swimmingly until I made the mistake of graduating from college and going out into the big wide world. I traveled far to the south and settled in the wilds of Ravena, where I had been hired as a school teacher. I saved my money and was soon able to buy a used car and there began my confrontation with the DMV. I had to register the car so I asked directions to the DMV in the large city to the north which shall remain nameless because of the events that occurred there.

I found my way to the DMV, a large industrial-looking building. I went through the heavy doors and was greeted by a scene that reminded me of one of the lower levels of Dante’s Inferno.

Long lines of slope-shouldered people with hopeless, tired looks on their faces. I filled out the required form and joined the shortest line. A half hour or so and I reached the surly looking clerk. She told me I was in the wrong line and pointed to the right one.

Another long wait and I reached an even surlier looking very large lady who I think I once arm wrestled. She pointed out several mistakes and omissions on the form and growled that it was required.

I drove back to Ravena, got the required information and returned. Still something wrong requiring another trip back home.

Finally, I was given my documents and was sent on my way rudely and abruptly. I had bad dreams about long lines and snarling large ladies for weeks. I vowed never to return to the DMV.

I remember when we sold the Princess’s car. It had been sitting waiting for her to return from Chicago for a year. Simple enough — just had to turn in her plates. Only problem, her plates were the ones I wanted on my car. They were 10F plates. I had gotten them when I was a county legislator. 10F plates meant you were or are a county official. I wanted to keep them.

I decided to transfer them to my car. The DMV became a necessity. When I got there I discovered the plates that had been on my car for years weren’t the one the DMV said were on my car. I had ordered those special orange plates years ago, the DMV didn’t send them to me but changed the plate number on the registration anyway.

Three trips from New Baltimore to Catskill (I wasn’t dumb enough to go back to Albany!), a half tank of gas, a trip to my insurance agent and the plates are now hanging on Ota, the Toyota.

Unlike the trip I took to Albany back in the day, the clerk was not only not surly but as pleasant smiley a person as I’ve dealt with. She figured out all the problems and solved them with a smile, even postponing her lunch to help. So maybe the DMV isn’t so bad after all, just go to the local one.

Thought for the week — If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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