Hooray! As I write this on Tuesday, November 15, DSP Publications is in the process of releasing my novel, The Zozobra Incident.
Now to this week’s post: Warning! Anyone going to the Motor Vehicle Division to get or renew a New Mexico driver’s license is in for a shock.
For some time now, the powers that be in the Land of Enchantment have dillied and dallied (not to mention dithered) over new requirements the feds imposed for issuing licenses that serve as secured IDs for boarding airliners or entering a federal building or base. Each year we failed to get our act together, and each year the federal authorities granted us a delay in coming into compliance.
I’m here to tell you that has come to an end. As of Monday, November 14, 2016, all New Mexico licenses issued—including both new and renewals—meet the federal standards. But getting them is something else.
My license expired a few days back, but I held out until we were FAA compliant. On Monday, I watched a local news program that explained you needed proof you were who you said you were and that you were legally present in the United States, either by birthright or by legal immigration.
Went to nearest MVD office Tuesday a.m. a little before 9:00. Took a number (63) and was called to Window 10 about 20 minutes later.
“What can I do for you,” Window 10 asked.
“I want one of those super-duper driver’s licenses that serve as ID for airline flights.” With that, I confidently shoved both my driver’s license and the passport I got last year (in case NM didn’t get compliant before the feds banned our licenses).
“Where’s the rest of it?” he asked.
“Rest of what? My passport’s got everything you need. And it’s official. Confirmed by the good old USofA.”
“No, you need your Social Security Card and two things confirming your legal residency.”
He refused to listen to reason. Hopped into my car and raced back home (with an expired license, remember).
Spent half an hour trying to print online copies of a PNM bill, grabbed my lease agreement and Social Security Card and sped back to the MVD. The waiting room... full. New number... 112, with some 40 numbers ahead of me waiting to be called. If each one took 10 minutes, I’d be out of here in another 400 minutes. How many hours is that? Forgot to bring a calculator. Also forgot to bring something to read, so settled down to people watching… which got old. Fast.
Then I lucked out. The woman sitting beside me couldn’t wait any longer and offered me her ticket. Number 93. Thanked her and grabbed the scrap of paper that ought to cut 190 minutes off my wait time. Eventually, I was called to Window 12.
“What can I do for you?” Window 12 asked.
A little more sullen now, I answered, “Driver’s license.”
I pulled out the sheaf of papers I’d brought and shoved them beneath the thick pane of glass between him and me, now appreciating his need for a protective device between him and his clients.
He shuffled through bits and pieces of my life until he came to the SS card. “This is your Medicare Card, not your Social Security Card.”
“It has the same information on it, they’re issued by the same agency, and they’re both red, white, and blue. Should be okay."
“Afraid not. I have to have the Social Security card or your SS-1099 or—”
“Okay, okay! This is the second time I’ve been here, but I’ll go get it.”
After he condescended to tell me to return to him without pulling a new number, I risked another APD speeding ticket by racing home once again.
I located the Social Security Card (adjacent to where the Medicare card had been stored), jerked it out, and once again high-tailed it to the MVD. (Hey, APD, that’s four opportunities to nail me you missed).
Number 12 had a client, but he saw and acknowledged me. Ten minutes later, he was free, but indicated he had one other return customer ahead of me. I sat back down while the gentleman who took my rightful seat before Number 12 got titles transferred on two vehicles (a lengthy chore, I can tell you) before starting the process of getting a driver’s license renewed. As I fidgeted and fumed, I heard a number called. Number 112. Lo and behold, I still had that number in my pocket, so I beelined it to Window Eleven.
“What can I do for you today?”
I wearily shoved everything at her and leaned back wondering what she’d find wrong this time.
“Looks like you have everything, sir. Let’s get you taken care of.”
I walked out of the MVD for the final time at 12:26 p.m. Getting that license ate up almost four hours of my life… however, that did include travel time.
Dear readers, in view of the above, feel free to tell me what a dolt I am at email@example.com.
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