Sunday, October 5, 2008

I finally become a New York state resident

I have my priorities. Getting a New York driver's license was not one of them. I still have the license I got on my 21st birthday in Colorado. I didn't update it when I moved back East because I kept my car registered in Colorado for a time and then I just kind of forgot about it. It only occurred to me when I had to show ID to get into a club or my regular bartenders would make fun of me, calling me Mountain Girl.

Actually that isn't totally true. When I first moved back to Connecticut from Colorado I did try to register my car in Connecticut and get a CT license. But the DMV demanded some form that Colorado wouldn't turn over for some reason, so I was screwed. I just gave up -- it was like the DMV didn't want my money. I can't win with the government. I don't even try to rationalize the bureaucracy.

But I really want to vote in November's election so I decided it was finally time to go to the DMV and get a local license. I figured now that I don't have a car it would be relatively simple. In NYC, you can get your license at License X-Press, which is on W 34th St just west of 8th Ave. My first attempt was on the Monday of my off-week. I went in the early afternoon and it was crowded, but not the 12 long lines you picture when you think DMV. They had a number board (now serving A1023 at station 10, etc.) but I didn't see a place to get the numbers so I went to the info desk. The woman gave me two forms to fill out. One was my license transfer request form. The other was a signature form.

I filled both forms out and got into the photo line as instructed. It was the longest line in the place but the wait wasn't too bad...maybe 35 minutes at most. Once at the front I got an eye test and finally I'd made it! I handed over my form and my two forms of government ID (my social security card and my passport).

"Uh oh," said the lady at the counter. Uh oh? That's never a good way to start. "Is this passport expired?" "Yes," I responded. "But it was listed as one of the valid ID forms on the DMV site."

She shook her head no. Not in New York City it's not. Current passports only. Plus, my passport was a green child's passport (it's been awhile since I've traveled abroad, sigh) so that was a double whammy. I wanted to argue, but I didn't. Honestly, I was kind of afraid of getting arrested if I argued. So I left dejectedly. My only option was to get a copy of my birth certificate. Which mean calling the parental units.

Like a teenager I just don't talk to my parents very much. I love them and all, but they are crazier than me. I can only take so much. But call them I did and my Dad agreed to overnight me his copy of my birth certificate. I got it the next thanks to the Post Office, which did everything possible to keep me from getting my overnighted package sent from less than two hours away that I could have driven and picked up and returned to NYC 4 times in the time it took them to find my package...deep breath. See what I mean about not being able to win with the government?

I got back to License X-Press on Thursday and the lines were thankfully much shorter. I was nervous about my birth certificate. I always imagined it as this big form with your mom and dad listed on it, but mine was just a simple officially sealed card the size of, well, a driver's license. But there were no problems this time. I preened a bit in the mirror by the camera station and the lady at the counter took my photo. Then I got a number, paid when my number was called ($42.50, they take cash, personal checks or credit cards) and was told my license would be mailed to me in two weeks. Groan. Does anyone else think that having your driver's license mailed to you is identity theft waiting to happen?

There was nothing I could do but wait. I was anxious to see how my picture would turn out -- my Colorado license actually had a pretty awesome shot I was sad to part with. This past Thursday my NY state license arrived. First of all, it is quite flexible compared to my stiff Colorado license. I feel like I could accidentally break it just taking it out of my wallet. And I could only laugh at my photo, which looks like it was taken from across the room. But I am very excited to officially be a New York State resident. Even if it does mean I can get called in for jury duty.

1 comment:

jg said...

This is so funny to me because I've been going through hell to change from my NY State license to an Indiana license. I would NOT bother except for the same reason... I NEED TO VOTE!