Adventures and Musings at the California DMV field office

It’s always an adventure when you head to the DMV…

Time to update the Driver’s License (L-R oldest to newest)

This was my second trip to the DMV field office in Hawthorne, California this week. Fortunately for me, I mistakenly made an appointment on Tuesday at the Inglewood office but showed up at the Hawthorne office. I say fortunately because the ENTIRE California DMV statewide system had a meltdown on one of the hottest days of the year in the state on Tuesday. Apparently, it was the fault of the DMV hardware. Honestly, if you have ever registered a car in California, you know how much it costs ($300+ when I first registered my Mustang in ’06). Can you tell me that some of that can’t go to a system that’s designed in THIS century? It’s amazing that we still live in a state where the backbone of California car culture goes down, but porn sites work just fine come Hell or high water. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never been in Hell or high water…

But, I read this update today:

The DMV is already at work upgrading its core computer systems — a $208-million project that began in 2006 and is only about two-thirds complete. Work has been plagued in recent months by defective computer programming, delays and staffing problems, according to a status report last week.

Um, staffing problems, delays and defective programming? There is a ton of great people in this state who could have this project finished in three months if they were let loose on the problem. But, this is a discussion for another day.

Anyway, so today was my second trip to Hawthorne to visit the good people at the field office. Let me state right away that I am surprised that there are not MORE workplace shootings at DMV offices. The amount of shit that these people have to put up with is amazing. The woman in front of me ranted in broken Spanglish that the form that she was forced to fill out was in English. The woman behind the counter calmly did her best Vanna White and showcased a stack of the EXACT SAME FORM en Espanol right next to the English form she was trying to fill out. I walked up to the counter and greeted the nice lady behind the counter with a smile that silently said, “They can’t fire ME for punching that woman in the back of the head for you.”

There is also a sign that states, “Threatening a DMV employee is a federal offense.” (Thanks to my friend Virginia, who was also in the office today, for spotting that one.) I have two issues with the sign: 1. Is it REALLY a federal offense? Isn’t the California DMV office a State office? And, 2. Is threatening a frustrated DMV worker really smart? It’s like threatening a mama bear by poking a stick into the bellies of her cubs… You deserve whatever happens to you next.

Musings in my brief time at the DMV today…

Make an appointment. Skip this line.

Making an appointment is the smartest thing you can do if you ever have to go to the DMV in the state of California. It saves tons of time. It’s not like North Dakota, where I imagine that it is a lot like going to the bar and talking to the counter person about fishin’ and huntin’.

Today’s appointment lasted all of 15 minutes. In and out, forms filled, thumb print, eye test (with the eyes having been Lasik-ed since the last ID) and new picture taken! Can’t wait to see how that turned out. Full beard and full head of hair blown crazy by the wind equals a conversation piece for an ID. Should I ever be pulled over, the police will look at it and say, “He looks normal.”

Other thoughts…


Someone doesn’t understand the idea of “one-way.” HINT: it’s angled parking!

If police hung out at the DMV, we could keep more bad drivers off the road. No one, I mean no one, follows signs and arrows in the parking lot, even though the driver’s course and instructors are just off to the side of the parking lot…

I was just waiting for an accident to happen. If the police show up at an accident IN the DMV parking lot, do they double the points on your license for stupidity? No? They ought to.


DJ’s instead of automated voice – If you are not a practitioner of the CA DMV office visit like I have been this past 3 months, or don’t live in California, then you have no idea what controlled chaos and big government bureaucracy looks like. Even if you have made an appointment to speed yourself to the front of the line, you still have to wait for the automated system to call your number to send you to the designated window. Other than the constant grumbling, coughing that sounds suspiciously akin to whooping cough or tuberculosis, there is no other sound in the office. Only, “Now serving B-zero-four-seven…at window number 15,” and so on and so forth.

I would suggest that right in the middle of that bullpen, you set up a DJ booth like in a strip club, spinning tunes and calling out numbers. Hell, I’d do it. I need a job.

“Okay, ladies and gents, put your hands together for B oh, oh… oh, oh, oh… oh, oh four seven! That’s right, B047, you’re up at window 15. Gooodddd luck out there today. Now making your way to window 22, it should be F, F013. F013 you should be going to window 22. Nowwww, sit back and listen to the new hit by Big Fudge and the Ploppies!!!”

I’m just saying that it doesn’t have to be NOT fun to go to the DMV.

So, that’s it for this week everyone. I am taking a few weeks off (with an occasional blog here and there) as I tend to other obligations and my guest blogger’s blogs will only be available by subscription email or password (haven’t quite figured that out yet, but rest assured if you are a subscriber or frequent reader, I’ll get you a password if needed for those special blogs.) Until next time! 

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