Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Sorry Saga of the Driver's License

Me and my bruvver. We're just two guys that love each other.

Well, it’s been a busy old week. I am still working on my book, which is now known as either the bloody thing, or that damn thing. I guess you could call them working titles. :-) Amazingly though, I do actually have a title for the bloody thing. I usually struggle to come up with titles for my stuff, most things I write don’t get a title until they’re finished. This one has a title, but it’s nowhere near finished.

I’ve also been working on a piece about the Black Death of 1347-1351 for a kid’s history magazine. That has proved a bit tricky. It’s difficult writing a piece about the Bubonic Plague, which killed a third of Europe’s population, without making it too gruesome for the kiddywinks.

Also this week, I had to go and renew my driver’s license, and what a nightmare that proved to be. I had intended to get to the licensing place early, but things didn’t quite go according to plan. Do they ever? And when I did finally set off, I got held up with a train for 20 bloody minutes while it shunted some carriages into an industrial park. I got to the licensing place just as they were closing for lunch. Come back at 1pm, they told me.

As the temperature was 97°F. with a heat index of 108°F. I went to the store to keep cool in their A/C. When I got back there, the place was packed with people, and I was told to sign in and come back at 2:30pm. I then went to the library to stay cool.

At 2:30, the licensing place was still wall-to-wall people, but at least I had something to read while I waited. At 2:50, someone acknowledged my presence, and asked me why I was there. I was sorely tempted to give him some fly answer, but I refrained. I mean why the bloody hell did he think I was there? Anyway, he tells me that as it’s only a simple renewal I can do that at the tag office. I could have punched him. Why didn’t he ask me that at 1 o’clock? Needless to say I was spitting feathers by this time.

At the tag office, the lady there tells me I do have to go to the licensing place as I have to produce my INS documents (green card), which of course I don’t have with me. By now it’s 3:15, and I haven’t got time to drive home and back before they close at 4pm. Had I known, I could have done that instead of going to the library. (Spit!)

As they only do the licensing one day a week in that town, I now have to go through the whole process again at another town on Tuesday. Great! Bureaucracy, doesn’t it drive you nuts?


Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh Jan' you have my sympathy, it just seems like the bureaucracy never ends sometimes! I had to jump through hoops recently to renew mine, especially as I am waiting on my 10-year card.

Cute kitty piccie. Btw you made me chuckle about not making the bubonic plague too grisly - impossible I would say!

Daffodilly said...

Been there & done that! Its one reason why we became citizens...but that is not cheap either!

Good luck on your second mission!


Janet said...

Thanks, Sarah. Life just seems to trundle along quite merrily until some other piece of bureaucratic crap needs sorting out. It does get terribly frustrating, to say the least.

I'm glad you like my boys. Yeah, the bubonic plague, I don't think I want to go there right now. :-)

Daffodilly, I'm sure you're right about getting citizenship. But I think you now have to have your green card for 8 years before you can apply. Which will make us elligible next year.

And I'm sure it's not cheap. Even though we had sponsorship for the green card, we still had to pay for quite a lot of things.

But it just really pisses me off sometimes that even when you're here legally, having jumped through all their hoops, they still want you to jump through more. :-(

plantgirl said...

oh wow that stinks about the whole license thing...ugh can't stand government run operations...

Expatmum said...

When you've been here a long time, and IF you don't get any traffic violations, you can do all this through the mail. At least in Illinois. Bliss!

pamokc said...

Oh believe me, Janet, you have to jump through hoops when you are a citizen too. BUT, if you have any problems, let me know, that is sort of my job to help cut through government red tape. Love the kitty photo too!

MikeH said...

Ah, I had fogotten the joys of dealing with the DVLA (I mean the DMV) and 108 degree heat index. Thanks for making me even more glad I moved this way ;0)

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Jan - 8 years!!! Who told you that my friend!?

The requirement is 3 years residence from the issue date of your original 2 yr 'conditonal' green card. So my 2 yr conditonal was dated July 6 2006, so I can apply in July 2009 even if I am still waiting on my 10-yr card.

Trust me on this - I have July 7th 2009 already highlighted in red to whack in my citizenship application before the fee's increase annually on July 30!

However this does of course require you to once again throw yourself at the mercy of the USCIS, altho' I hear the OK wait times are less than 6 months for this.

Janet said...

PG, you're right it was a real pain in the arse (ass).

Toni, you're lucky. You can't renew your license by mail in Oklahoma, even without traffic violations, and despite living in the US fot 13 years.

Pam, I'm sure you're right, bureaucracy is the same wherever you live. Hell, I used to work for the civil service in England so I should know. But it's different when you're on the other side of the counter. :-)

Thank you so much for your kind offer of help, I appreciate it. But I did manage to sort out my license without too much trouble today.

Mike, thank you for stopping by. I love reading your blog. It's nice to get an American take on good old Blighty. And you make me laugh, which is always good.

Sarah, someone must have told me at some time about the 8 year thing, I really can't remember now. But rules change all the time.
I did check it on the INS site and it's actually 5 years.

I think things will be different for you as you married an American.

Also I never had a "conditioanal" green card. We were here on visas, and then when the green card applications went in we received work authorization cards for a year. Then our green cards. I guess every case is different.

Maybe we'll get around to doing something about the citizenship thing sometime. But,I have to be honest and say that citizenship is not that important to me.

Cheryl said...

That is just crazy! I love how you write, makes me giggle!

Janet said...

Thanks, Cheryl, I only wish more editors thought like you. That way I'd be earning oodles of cash, instead of the pitiful crumbs that get tossed my way. (sob)

Raquel said...

Oh Jan, I'm so sorry you had such a time. (meanwhile I am snickering at your story, sorry)

Let me tell you about my experience. Here in Missouri, you have to produce every document you have ever had made it seems. Well, according to the poster that they have up in their office AND according to their website you have a choice of documents you can take. Being born overseas, I have a choice - birth certificate or citizenship papers. According to said poster, one or the other should be enough. But . . .NO! Well, having dealt with them in the past, I went loaded for bear. I then proceeded to show the lady her poster, but she still would not accept just my citizenship papers. So I pulled out my Birth Abroad certificate. (They look much different than American Birth Certificates.) She said - we can't accept this. AGGGH! I said, why not, it is my birth certificate. She said I have never seen one like this before. I was so mad, I could have chewed up a crowbar and spit out a pack of staples. Anyway, she had to go over to another gal to confirm that, I indeed was right. Beauracracy!!!! (sp.) Much love- Raquel XO

Janet said...

Raquel, I love this expression, "I could have chewed up a crowbar and spit out a pack of staples." I can so relate to this.