On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

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By the time I walked into the DMV, it was 2 p.m. and the lady behind the desk had just called #70. All the chairs were filled. I picked #92 and sat down. I had 2.5 hours to wait until they closed. I thought 2.5 hours would be enough.

As of today, the DMV is able to accommodate roughly 3 people per hour <—My observation and calculations after sitting there for two hours with numbers still in the 70s.

Two employees handle traditional driver license patrons (the ones who are getting new licenses, renewing old ones, are upgrading their commercial license or class rank, etc.). The third employee is taking special license requests (handicap placards, 30-day temporary licenses, and folks who came in once and waited in line but forgot a document, etc.)

The lines would have gone faster, but at any given point in time, the two employees who handled the traditional licenses would also go take photos, file paperwork, and LEAVE THE BUILDING TO ADMINISTER PRACTICAL EXAMS. A practical exam can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. And one gal left twice.

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I don’t think this is good service. Period.

By 3 p.m. they were at #78, after jumping from #71 to #77. Three people. One hour. I gave my observation to my dad, that we wouldn’t get seen today at this rate. I felt bad complaining—the folks were doing their best job while being stupidly understaffed–but it was too easy to be selfish.

Sitting here for 2.5 hours to change my name back. My maiden name. My original self. To me before marriage. But there was a great possibility I would wait and not be seen. And to have to come back and sit again? Just get it over with so I can move on.

My dad brought him up. That my grandparents really didn’t want this to happen. That he couldn’t believe there were that many differences. To how it’s insane to imagine.To how he doesn’t think my brother will have kids, and now I won’t for a while.

I stopped it. I made a few loud jokes about needing everyone’s Facebook accounts so I could friend them, since we were all getting to know each other so well with the incredible wait. The room chuckled.

Then the gal behind me let out a loud sigh. I turned around and smiled at her, looked at her with two small kiddos by her side. “Does anyone want this number? I just can’t wait any longer.”

#83. And she handed it to me.

At 3:45 p.m., the clerks called 81. For whatever reason, a woman and her son stood up at the same time, holding not just #81, but #82, too. I jiggled my leg. Looked at the clock. Brightened then dimmed the screen on my phone repeatedly. I could make it. Some miracle in the DMV pushed me up sooner. One gal still out with a practical exam. One at the desk with the two-number family.

4:00. What could they possibly be doing?
4:05. Why did they swap chairs?
4:10. Are they doing an eye exam soon or something? Why aren’t they done?
4:18. FINALLY. They left.

And they called #83.

“Hi there! What brings you in today?”
Really? Can I place an order for pizza?
“Oh! You’ve had a Wyoming license before. What brings you back? Marriage?”
Nope. Thanks for the reminder.
“Oh. I’m sorry….”
IMG_5643Five minutes. One photo. And a black and white piece of paper later. I was official. Cross off Change name with Social Security, and get new drivers license. 

I won’t do it again. Whoever cares for me, falls in love with me, and wants to have me, must take me as I am. And that includes my maiden name. I’m not losing myself again.

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On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

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