In honor of my trip to the DMV today (in which no one was arrested) I'm re-posting Me Vs. the DMV which may or may not have happened in 2006 and may or may not have happened in Cobb County Ga.
Someday I'm going to edit this thing up a bit, but for now, enjoy.
Me Vs. the DMV
I had to go to the DMV and get my drivers license taken care of. The reason for this is that a few months ago I got a parking ticket, which I didn't pay. After that I got a summons to court, which I ignored. That led to a warrant for my arrest, which I evaded and the eventual suspension of my license. But truth be told, suspension was a moot point because it had already expired. I broke a lot of laws. I called it a minor act of civil disobedience. I saw myself as a punk rock Gandhi.
Eventually you have to pay your debt to society, which is what I woke up saying that morning. "Today, I am going to repay my debt to society". My first stop of the day was at the local DMV out post, which I was informed was ill equipped to handle my problems. I was sent packing for the court house, where, I was presented with my initial fine. Almost triple the cost of the ticket with other penalties added I was quoted the price of $134.00. The problem is that they didn't take plastic. So I had to hit the ATM. Add $2.00, service charge. And no validation of parking Add $2.00 more. For that price I was handed a pink slip with all manner of information on it to take to another DMV post 20 minutes away. No problem. On my way I stopped off at the ATM for another twenty bucks for the impending re-issue fee. Add another $2.00 service charge. We are now at $140.00.
When I arrived at the DMV center, I was informed that the price was going to be another $35.00 for a reinstatement fee. I was given a number and a line to stand in. Eventually I found myself at the front of the line. I explained my situation and hoped for a quick and easy fix now that I had paid my fines. I was a bit overzealous in my optimism.
"Sir, there seems to be a few problems here. First your license is suspended".
"Which I already paid off" I added, pointing to my pink slip.
"And that brings us to the next problem. There is no date on this paper".
I tried to get her to look the other way while I wrote it, to no avail. She informed me that I needed to go back to the courthouse and get a date on the form, but that someone had to drive me since she had my license and it was suspended. The expired part didn’t seem too consequential to her. I was further informed that if I left in my car, the police would be sent after me.
I thought about it for a moment. I considered my predicament and realized that my options were closing off very quickly. All of my friends and family were at work, and Lizzie, my sister can’t drive. It’s not her fault. She is only 13. But what about the phones? I was given a number to call and a fax number. I asked if I could borrow her phone. "No".
My cell phone was out in my car, which I wasn’t sure I could go out to without someone callin' tha fuzz. In any event it was charging because it was dead. In a rare moment of helpfulness she pointed out a pay phone. Thankfully I had some change and was able to make the call...after waiting in line.
It was a good thing that this pay phone was there, because before I was directed to it, I was told that the DMV closed promptly at 5 PM. Which I replied that I would be there as long as it took, even if I had to stand at that desk all night and to emphasize the point I put both of my hands out on the counter in front of me, which caused an officer to come out from behind the counter and start eyeing me. But the problem was now that my 'give a damn' had vanished and I was only going to leave the DMV with either my license or in handcuffs. The handcuffs were more likely now.
Eventually the fax came through with all the information that she needed. There was another problem though. The date was illegible. The rest of it was crystal clear, but the date... it was a bit fuzzy...and crumpled... and completely freakin' unreadable. Fortunately for me the courthouse had included the receipts for my payment with dates on them clearly printed.
What I thought had saved me from another ATM service charge was the fact that the DMV took credit cards. When I handed my card to the attendant she looked at me and asked for a valid photo ID.
"Oh, you have my ID".
"It’s not valid" and then she went on to explain away. While she was talking about suspensions and recounting endless rules and regulations, i was pulling out every state and nationally issued card in my wallet. None with a photo. Finally I worked my way down to the discount cards and my college ID. The only photo was on my Reinhardt College meal card, not good enough. The only thing left in my wallet was 250 Iraqi Dinars and a picture of a ring. Emptying those out onto the counter I told her "This is all that I have, but I promise you that I am Tim Mason. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't. I wouldn’t be paying all this money and going through all this if I wasn't who I said I am". The officer had moved behind me and now had a hand on my shoulder. A couple of things need to be noted. First, I was not shouting. I was using a command voice, definitely projecting, but I was not shouting. Second, I was angry. Incredible hulk angry. 'You wouldn't like me when I'm angry' kind of angry. I could see my pulse, adrenaline was rushing.
"Look," I said, "A couple of weeks ago I got mugged in a MARTA station" And then I exaggerated a bit for effect. "They waved a gun in my face and told me to give them all my money. At least they were honest about it. You are doing the exact same thing and between the two, I would prefer to get mugged again". The officer was telling me to calm down and calling me son while the people in line behind me applauded. It was about to be "Rodney King does the DMV". I knew I was going to jail. There was no doubt in my mind. And I didn’t care. Damn the Man.
Thankfully everyone came to their senses and they decided to graciously take more of my money. Add another $35.00 for a reinstatement fee. I was up to $175.00. I was given the appropriate forms and sent to the next line. I had my wallet in one hand, papers in another and a police officer in tow.
Eventually I got to the front of that line as well. Paid the attendant and forms were filled out. but, as you have probably already guessed, there was a problem. "Are you sure?” I looked back to my new escort, “I’ve already had just about every problem that I think that you can have here".
The problem was that I am not Tim Mason. Who knew? I am Timothy Mason. My license said Tim Mason. Everything else said Timothy Mason. ”Tim ... Timothy. Are you kidding me?” Sadly, they weren’t. I had to once again prove that I was indeed me. Finger prints were taken and a background check was done. I kid you not. Eventually they decided that I was who I was no matter whether I was Tim or Timothy. Then came the final questions.
"Are you a US Citizen?"
"Yes, but I am really considering Mexico about now."
"Would you like to be an organ donor?"
Normally I would say yes, but even I have my limits. "No, you guys have my money, my time and my dignity. But my organs, those are MINE."
All that was left was to sign my name and to get my picture taken. What you see on my Drivers license is me saying something to the officer that I wouldn’t repeat in this magazine. What you don’t see is the officer standing right next to me telling me that he was going to be escorting me off the premises as soon as I was done.
Whatever it was, it started with the word "Blow".
Finally I was finished. I had my card in hand. And it was perfect. The picture was horrible, the signature was cut off, the address was wrong. It was absolutely perfect.