Friday, March 1, 2013

California DMV = OMG!!!!

So today I tried to go to the California DMV.    Sure, the CA DMV has a "make an appointment" feature on their web page.  But the "make an appointment" doesn't work in San Clemente, since they are closed until March 15th.   So I go to the Laguna Hills office.   I arrive at 1pm

1pm - I get in the line, that stretches around the building
1:45, I get a number "B121"  .. there is hope
2:45pm, I get notified that window #20 will see me
I need to register a 2011 Volvo a 2007 Mazda, and get my CA driver's license.   I got to window #20, and talk to Chinese Immigrant "William".   "William" summarily dismisses my application for a CA driver's license, because I do nor have not have passport or birth certificate.  My VALID AZ Driver's License (good to 2031) is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  No, I need my birth certificate or passport.   Ok....

He makes me pay for my $360Volvo registration, but won't give it to me because
a) it is not PRESENT to be verified (VIN # and mileage)
b) has not been CA smog tested (even though it is less than 2 years old)
C) the odometer cannot be verified
D) the "engine serial number" cannot be verified by a CA state bureaucratic
... okay, so I need to get it smog tested AND I need to have the CIN number checked.  Ok.   I am not a terrorist.

Then, "William" sends me out to "get my Mazda verified".    I WAIT 45 minutes, outside.  I pretend I am a "tomb of the unknown solider" enlisted man, and I pace, pivoting, 90 degrees, at each 8 steps, for FORTY FIVE MINUTES, waiting for SOMEONE to come out to check my VIN number, my mileage, my vehicle ID.   Finally, a nice lady from the temporarily closed San Clemente DMV office comes out to methodically check my vehicle.  "Are you pacing impatiently, or patently?" she asks me.  I reply, WITH SILENCE.     (Yes, I was VERY impatient after my THIRD Hour).

So I GOT THERE at 1.   Got my number "B121" at 2pm.  got called to "Window 20" at 3pm.   Got rejected for my DL at 3:10, and sent out to my Mazda at 3:15, where i waited  for 45 minutes, for SOMEONE to come out and verify my VIN number, mileage, and license plate.   Then, at 4pm, I go BACK IN to Window #20.   BUT no, "William" helped a a woman who had the appearance of a crack whore right before me to get a temporary tag and a handicap tag for her disabled boy friend who "can't walk".   I approach "William" who tells me flatly "I cannot help you, I spent too much time with the last person, and my manager will write me up, please go sit down".

So I go STAND next to the seats (where there ARE NO seats) and wait impatiently.   I talk to a 16 yr old and her mother who confirm that Once I take my written test, later in March, I get to wait FOR AN HOUR for the results of my written test.     It has now been more than 3 hours since I got to the DMV.

"William" finally calls me back up, it is 4:25 pm, almost 3.5 hours after I arrived.   He starts to process my request for registering my Mazda.   After 15 minutes William charges me, takes my money, then tell sme I need to go get an emissions heck.   I walk out at 4:30 with
- no new CA license
- no new CA registrations
- no new CA documents

I drove home (after spending $250 dollars at the liquor store, with no meaningful DMV documents in hand) and began drinking wine.   I am on my 2nd bottle.    I DESPISE CALIFORNIA's bureaucracy.   it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Annoying!!      Someday, I will get my Driver's license, and both vehicles registrations....          government interference and bureaucracy be damned.

Sometimes, I miss Arizona.


  1. I think I spent a total of 15 minutes inside the Zurich DMV when I got a Swiss driver's license.

  2. Supposedly - local legend has it - the San Clemente DMV is Much nicer, and it is geographically, a little closer. But unfortunately, it is closed until March 15th for repairs.

    I did have a nice chat with Kent yesterday, at the Chevron station, where both the 2007 and the 2011 autos were verified to be in compliance with CA smog laws (something I get to do every 2 years, and pay $69 each for, thanks CA legislatures who love passing on fees). Kent likes his job as the supervisor at the 4 garage bay Chevron, and has a very pleasant affect.

    When I lived in South Carolina, I once spent less than 20 minutes getting my license at the Honea Path DMV (yes, that's how they spelled it; population 3500). It was a 30 minute drive out of the way, but was fully staffed, no waiting live, and "bless your heart" the nicest southern ladies working behind the little counter.

    I talked to my buddy Joe M who lives in San Francisco yesterday, while waiting for the Mazda's emissions test to complete, and he said - between the motorcycles and cars he's bought - he's had to go to the DMV at least 25 times, each time very bureaucratic, mind-numbingly slow.

  3. that ordeal sounds awful. every time i go to the DMV here, i brace myself for something similar. happily, my expectations are exceeded.

    doubly happy -- IL does not require emissions testing for diesels.


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