June 21, 2010

DMV = Closest thing to Hell on Earth

I was reminded why I elected to forgo getting a California driver license while in Fresno. The DMV office I went to here in Phoenix on Friday would make any Department of Health cringe. 

I didn't have much of a choice in the matter since my car registration expired yesterday. And my Washington state license goes to heaven on my birthday this year.

Once I stepped through the doors of the DMV, my fears were realized. Not only were the facilities crowded and noisy, which was expected, but they were filthy ... dirty floors, stained chairs ... you get the picture. And you can thank me for not taking pictures, later.

To make matters worse, the rude "customer service" women informed me "the camera was down" when I told them I needed a license. It wouldn't be working until Monday ... they hoped. 

The sole reason I went to this dreaded place was to acquire a driver license. You see, Arizona contracts with third-party offices that are operated by the DMV, but owned by private companies. They charge "convenience fees," but the shorter wait time and clean, pleasant offices are worth it.

There is a third-party office that does registrations right behind our townhouse, but they don't offer driver license services. So, even though the third-party office was convenient for registrations, I decided to brave the DMV to knock out both the license and registration items. But now I was informed the only reason for my enduring this torture was non-operational. Thank you, highway gods.

Begrudgingly, I took my ticket and dirty seat at the place I consider to be the closest thing to Hell on Earth.

And this particular DMV lived up to expectations. After about a 20-minute wait, which was less than I anticipated, my number was called. I took a seat at the agent's booth and began the process of getting the Mazda 3S registered to legally roll through Arizona.

And then the smell hit me. Was that urine? Where was it coming from? I didn't have to look but only to the seat at my left and there it was ... a puddle of pee.

And the Parent-of-the-Year award goes to ...

I didn't know whether to throw up, laugh or curse. Instead, I politely informed the agent someone had urinated in the seat next to mine ... To which she replied, "Oh, I thought I smelled something." Yeah, lady, it's piss. She called someone to come clean it up, but after about 10 more minutes and no person to take care of this unsanitary mess in sight, I questioned whether she really contacted anyone.

To make matters worse, the woman two booths down was letting her child run through the building screaming his head off. Thank goodness that agent asked her "to control her child, now." Too bad my agent didn't command that type of authority when asking for a clean-up on booth 19.

With that disaster behind me, I decided to go to a third-party location to get my diver license and be done with this headache. Long story short, I didn't have an enhanced Washington state license, so my birth certificate was required to prove my identity, which I didn't have on me. Exhausted and still grossed out by the previous events, I decided to call it a day.

I went back to the pee-free, third-party location Saturday, birth certificate in hand, and 30 minutes later, was legally licensed to drive in Arizona.

My new license expires when I'm 65 and you only have to update the picture every 12 years, so, hopefully, I won't have to step inside that filthy DMV again. 

The folks who determine license lengths must have endured puddled urine at their local Arizona DMV, too.

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