By Sean McVeigh
It was a stunning day. The sky could not have been a more beautiful shade of blue, and pillowy clouds drifted aimlessly across the morning sky. An early start gave me a morning unmarred by the afternoon humidity that would set in in just a few hours. I sipped on a hot cup of coffee out on the balcony, sitting in awe of the potential that the day held. The ocean lay before me and beckoned—how could you say no? Stories are written about days like this, I thought, songs sung about it. It was, as my brother would say, a “Top 10.”
As I sat basking in bliss, I noticed an alert on my phone—a calendar notification. It read “DMV 11 a.m.” Shit. Immediately, it all came crashing down. This picturesque morning had taken a turn for the worse, er, for the worst!
The DMV has a bad rap. And do you know why the DMV has a bad rap? Because it is hell on Earth. Here, I point out the obvious. Everyone knows how terrible the DMV is. It is the butt of countless jokes and has, without a doubt, been the topic of countless ranting and raving columns just like this one. And yet, it has not been fixed. When someone points out that I have something on my face, I do not continue to mosey around with this blemish. I clean myself up as soon as humanly possible. I have some dignity. The DMV clearly does not.
I will admit I started with one hand tied behind my back. Since the pandemic, the DMV has adopted an appointment system, one of the pandemic’s few positive contributions. Everyone says to make your appointment for as early as possible. I did not do that. That is on me- hand up on that one. What happened to me once I walked through their doors, however, is not on me. From the moment I crossed that threshold into this underworld, it felt like everyone there was actively working against me. I don’t like to generalize but, nevertheless, the DMV staff are neither friendly nor helpful. I am sympathetic to them. It cannot be an easy job—”thankless” does not even begin to describe it—but it was only 11 a.m., God help the person who had an appointment at 4:45 p.m.
After a long wait, I was finally called to a window to be “helped.” I gave the worker all the documentation that the website stated was needed. Of course, I did not have the right stuff. “We don’t take this tax form, only that tax form and this document is two years old, and we only accept one that is one year old.” Feeling defeated, I made a last-ditch effort to find an up-to-date document on my phone and was quickly able to pull it up. I handed my phone across the counter victoriously! I was going to beat the odds and actually have a successful trip to the DMV! But I forgot that the DMV is undefeated. The worker sighed deeply, as if I were wasting their time, and told me that it needed to be printed out. I was down and I was out. After some empty pleas fell on deaf ears, I conceded the match and went on my way.
It’s actually impressive how poorly run the DMV is. And try as we might, it seems that will never change. These days, we live in a world of affirmation. Why should this be any different? The DMV has decided that it is going to be its true self no matter what you say about it. You know what? I say good for you, DMV! Lean into it even more! Keep on being the bane of people’s existence. Stay true to yourself and continue to ruin everyone’s day. Block out the haters and be you!