Only the Card Will Do

22 Feb

I’m all for the government, but these last few weeks dealing with government bureaucracy have really got me reevaluating some of my positions.  Anyone who has spent the better part of 3 days in government offices (in my case Social Security and two separate DMV outposts) can tell you, nothing there makes sense.

Day One.  Location, South Orange DMV Office, New Jersey.  Me and my mom.  We arrived at around 2:30 PM on Friday, February 10, 2012.  I was there looking for my New Jersey Driver History Abstract.  I had in hand my birth certificate, my passport, my ATM card, my health insurance card, and my necessary application.  I arrived at the front of the line, presented the attendant with my materials, and was asked for my driver’s license number.  Well, I didn’t have my driver’s license number because my license had been stolen.  The lady told me to call up Trenton and request my license number from them and then come back.  But surely the New Jersey DMV is automated and you have my number on file, I said.  No, I had to call Trenton.  Okay.  Called Trenton.  Guess what?  The lady was not authorized to give me my own license number over the phone.  I would have to apply by mail.  It could take up to 2 weeks to arrive.  Sigh.  Anger!  Disbelief!  Luckily, my mom is crafty.  Call your dad and get Bruce’s (our insurance agent, also my dad’s friend from high school) phone number.  He has it.  Called Dad.  Called Bruce.  Success!  (He found it in my police record.  I ran into a tree once in high school.  It was really icy.  I skidded.  The tree never knew what hit it.)  Filled in my number on the application and, huzzah!, New Jersey Driver’s History Abstract obtained!

Day Two.  Location, Atlantic Center DMV Office, Brooklyn.  Me and a lot of angry people.  I arrived for my first attempt at approximately 3:09 PM on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.  I had in hand my passport, my birth certificate, my ATM card, my health insurance card, my Con Edison bill, my New Jersey Driver History Abstract and my application.  I patiently waited in line while catching up on I Blame the Patriarchy on my Google Reader.  I arrived at the front of the line at approximately 4:15 PM.  I first handed the lady my Driver’s Abstract, which is two sided, one side has a seemingly useless list and the other side has the necessary information.  I accidentally handed it to her useless side up.  What am I supposed to do with this?, she snapped.  Turn it over, I replied.  She turned it over.  Massive sigh, even more massive eye roll.  Ugh, I hate these things, she spat.  I then handed her my passport and original birth certificate.  Social security card, she said.  Well, I don’t have one.  Well, you need one.  She took a blue piece of paper out of her stack, dated it, and said bring this with you when you come back and you can skip the line.  Well, at least that’s something.  I went to exit, feeling sorry for the people who had to use the bathroom and got locked out (they ingeniously moved the bathrooms to the hallway so if you have to go, you lose your hard earned spot in line.  As I said, ingenious.  As I didn’t say, I had to pee so bad I thought I was going to drown in my own urine.  Not able to withstand government bathrooms, I made my way to The Gate to have a glass of wine and fix my predicament.)

Day Three.  Location, my bedroom, Brooklyn.  I woke up and immediately started making phone calls, trying to figure out exactly what I needed to make sure I didn’t spend another useless day in line.  I first tried calling the New York State DMV helpline to inquire about Social Security number verification but all I got was an automated dude telling me the lines were busy.  No wait time, no nothing.  After telling me the address of the (impossible to navigate) website, he hung up on me.  Great.  So, I called the Social Security helpline* and a really nice lady answered the phone.  She told me all I had to do was go to the Social Security Office (she gave me the address and everything!) and they would issue me a paper saying I had requested a new card and voila!

Location, Social Security Office, Fulton Street, Brooklyn.  Me and a lot of surprisingly not-so-angry people.  I arrived at the office at approximately 10:55 AM.  The line snaked through the entire lobby.  There must’ve been at least 200 people in there.  Sigh.  I filled out my sheet and resigned myself to reading an article about Ron Paul.**  One of the security guards announced that there was no food or drink allowed and if, upon arriving at the metal detector in the front of the line, we were found with either of the aforementioned items, we would be sent to the back of the line.  It reeked of time out.  So, I sadly asked the gentleman in front of me to hold my place in line while I exited the building, dumped my coffee, and gently placed my uneaten pear in a safe spot near the entrance to the office in hopes that it would be there when I left.***  I finally, 2 hours later, made it to the front of the line.****  Oh, happy day!  I then went up to the upstairs line.  Forty-five minutes later I had a raging hunger headache and my official paper!  Huzzah.  Quick, get to the DMV office!

Location, Atlantic Center, DMV Office, Brooklyn.  Me and a lot of angry people.  Time, approximately 2:00 PM.  I hustled down Flatbush Avenue and back into the dreaded office with my blue get-out-of-line-free pass in hand.  I triumphantly walked up to the security guard. Bitch had dated it wrong.  Back in the line I went but not after having an argument with a toothless guard.  Too angry and disgusted to read my New Yorker.  Glaring at the yuppy in front of me reading a manual on scrap-booking.  Forty-five minutes later I made it to the front and, alas!, I was helped by my arch nemesis from the day before.  But I had her beat.  It was Rebekah for the win.  I gave her my abstract and again, the eye roll, the spat hatred of New Jersey Driver History Abstracts.  I gave her my passport and original birth certificate.  She asked for my Social Security card.  I handed her my newly obtained paper.  A sick grin came over her face.  And she said, only the card will do.

*I had called the Social Security helpline 6 months earlier to ask about getting a replacement card and the man on the phone told me that as long as I knew my SSN then the card was really unnecessary.  The days of me blindly believing employees of government agencies are over.  I will now call at least 5 times and believe whichever answer comes up most often.

**I am of the opinion that Ron Paul is a complete and total fruit cake.

***It wasn’t.

****But not before some 22 year old white girl named Bianca Skye (I snuck a look at her application) commented on the behavior of a woman with not one, not two, but three children all of whom appeared to be under the age of 5.  Bad parenting skills, she said.  I almost threw my magazine at her.  I regretted no longer having the pear.

3 Responses to “Only the Card Will Do”

  1. Mindy February 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    Ah, yes. The DMV thing…..I used to take your Dad’s cars for inspection. A favor for him, I guess. He hated the DMV (I’m sure he still does) and would bitch about how much he hated the DMV thing….to anyone who would listen. I got so tired of hearing it, I would just take the damn cars for him, hoping he would shut up!

    Anyway, the reason I started this comment was to muse about my suspicion that hating the DMV is actually in your blood! Innate….You were born, unbeknownst to you, with the ‘hate the DMV thing’ already a part of your DNA. So, DNR, DMV, DNA !!!!!

    • FranklyRebekah February 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      Ha! I bet they can sense it the second I walk through the door. There’s a girl who has a genetic predisposition to hate the DMV. Let’s fuck with her.


  1. An Update! An Ultrasound! « franklyrebekah - February 24, 2012

    […] would like to first announce, for those of you who read my previous post, that I have successfully obtained my driver’s license.  The ways in which I went about […]

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