Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Line forms here...
The only thing worse than a "Line Forms Here" sign is that same sign when dealing with a government bureaucracy. The worst of those bureaucracies: the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Today was the day... we are changing our vehicles to Texas registration... after nearly 4 decades of being official South Dakota residents.
We drove to Brownsville and found the DMV inside another government building. Even though we were there early, the line was across the hall. Then, found out there are different lines for renewals and new registrations. We got ourselves in the right line.
One person doing new registrations... he was not happy to see us get to his space with 5 new registrations: "Umm, we can maybe do two of these, but the line is too long to do them all right now."
"What??" Not just surprise at this guy telling me we couldn't register all of our vehicles, but he was talking in a whisper.
"There are other people in line. This will take a long time to do five registrations. You can leave your titles and we'll call you when they're ready."
"No way am I leaving titles to vehicles - to have you lose them forever, leaving me royally screwed to get license plates!!"
Joan told me to cool down and said, "We'll just go to the back of the line if that is the way they do it - he WILL see us again."
He said, "Maybe we can do something..." At least I think that is what he said - he was whispering like it was a library. If this was a tactic to get people to stay cool while he makes up rules on the spot, it wasn't working.
He moved slow as molasses. I said, "Give me the scooter titles and I'll go stand in another line."
"This is the new registration line..."
When he could see that we weren't going to quietly go away (it isn't like you have another option for where to title your vehicles!!!), he had another lady there take two of our registrations. She had two done in less time than it took him to do one. When he finally completed the second one he was working on, I said, "Come on, Omar (that is his name) - we are SO close. One more. You can do this, I know you can!" Besides, the people that were in line behind us had moved to other lines... so maybe you can do a new registration at more than Omar's counter? Really - no one left behind us.
With 5 vehicles registered, Joan wrote out two checks - one for Omar, and one for the woman who did two of the registrations. Maybe they work on commission? It is not inexpensive to move here from another state.
From there, it was off to the Texas Department of Public Safety. These are the driver's license people. Of course, you can't have the DMV and the license place close to each other. Oh, and the boat licensing is another place, Texas Fish & Game... although the boat trailer gets handled by the DMV people - we already had this done when we bought the boat. But, I digress...
It is a large building in Brownsville for the Texas Department of Public Safety - for drivers' licenses and state IDs. Lot of cars in the parking lot. We opened the door to the driver's license office and... there were people everywhere! Seriously, it looked like a third world airport during an evacuation. I'm guessing that since the election, there are a lot of people here trying to get an official state ID. There was a long line waiting to get a number so they could be in line to get a license or ID.
I said, "Let's go to Harlingen." It's where I got my state ID to be able to apply for my LTC gun permit.
Joan agreed: "Sounds good to me."
A half hour drive to the Department of Public Safety in Harlingen... not as big, not as many cars in the parking lot... but it was about 5 times busier than when I got my state ID there (prior to the election). We got our numbers and sat down, waiting for those numbers to be called. Yes, there were only two counters manned: one for new licenses and another for renewals. As near as we could tell, there were only a few in front of us for new licenses. An hour later, they called Joan's name... she was ready for them: she had her SD license, passport, marriage certificate, 6 papers that show our mailing and physical address here... and the first thing the woman behind the counter asked, "Do you have your birth certificate?"
The one thing we didn't bring. Fortunately, there were willing to accept the passport in its place. Our unusual address here on this island threw 'em. Even though Joan explained it to the lady as they went through the process, the woman got to do it twice.
Then, my turn. Joan stayed at the counter, to make sure the woman understood the address was the same, and to show some of the many papers with that address. I turned in my official state ID, no longer a "dual state citizen." Oh, and they charge an additional 60% to have a motorcycle endorsement, even though it is only one box to check. Profit center.
Bureaucracy. A lot of paper stamping... similar clearing Customs in a foreign port. Just glad to be done.
I stopped at the boat yard on the way home to see how my bottom paint is coming... with the ugly weather predicted for the next two days, I thought they might have the boat done. "Well, we have prepped it, so the next thing to do is tape it off."
"You've had my boat for three days? What have you been doing with it?" That was a rhetorical question, because I know the answer: nothing.
The guy tried to argue with me about when I brought the boat in, "I took it to the yard myself, just yesterday," he said. (Tuesday)
He didn't like it when I told him that I left the boat off and SAW him moving the boat on Monday.
"You are mistaken, sir," he said. No question in his mind... until I pushed the issue. "OK, maybe that was Monday. But, we had to block the boat to take it off the trailer and prep it."
"OK, that takes a half hour - what have you been doing the rest of the time? No, don't tell me. I've had enough bullshit for one day."
Time to go home and pet my cat. No, that isn't code for anything else. ;-)