Government Bureaucracy Purgatory

It was time to renew my driver’s license. In fact I went last Monday, four days before it would expire.  I was going to be out-of-town for two of those days.  Now it was urgent. I had to take time away from work despite the pile of work that needed to get done before the end of the day.

Oh, and I had to take the written test. I needed to know the rules of the road. The Illinois rules of the road pamphlet is over 100 pages long. There are some items that I agree everyone should know and a refresher every few years is a good idea.  First one needs to know a myriad of distances by which you must take action, such as how far in advance of a corner to signal a turn (in a residential area or country road – the answers are different), stopping before a railroad crossing, etc. Then you need to know all of the signs. These fall into the “you should know this” category. But then there are the things I do not need to know about, such as where it is permitted to have car seats for infants (mine is 19), things about motorcycles (which I do not drive) and other arcane pieces of information. I had no time to have to take this test a second time. I studied for a couple of hours and prayed my memory would hold out.

So in I walk. I am stressed about the time this will take and  whether I will pass the test. I go to one of the suburban Department Of  Motor Vehicles locations because from experience and urban legend I know that doing this at a  Chicago one would take much longer. Still I am not prepared for a process that mirrors an old factory assembly line. A gauntlet of five stations must be run in order to obtain a license.

First is the line to get in. There is a triage station. A sleepy middle age to old man takes your forms and directs you to the next counter. You get a slip with a letter and three numbers. I am not sure why but for a few people in the line before me this process takes several minutes.

Then wait in some hard plastic chairs to be called by one of ten people manning the next station. After several more minutes I give my number and forms to the guy who looks up my name on the computer. I answer “no” to questions for which a yes answer would presumably bring my quest to a dead stop. Do I take any drugs or have any diseases  that would hinder my ability to drive? (No, I can drive while quite high thank you. Does anyone ever answer Yes to these questions?) I also take a visual exam at this station. At least something useful to weed out those that should not be driving.

On to the cashier. Like in a bad movie, the cashier needs to pause and count money and file some forms just as it becomes my turn in line. More waiting. I  pay and  get my exam. 20 multiple choice questions and I need to identify fifteen signs (No, the words are not written on the pictures of the signs. That would make it too easy to know which is the “Stop” sign.)

Bottom line is that I pass. Fortunately one only needs to answer 80% of the questions correctly.

On to the picture-taking. First step. Wait. Next step have picture taken. Third step. Wait. Last step take your license and run.

Total time, one hour twenty minutes that I did not have that day. Could have been worse. Purgatory, not hell.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

One Response to Government Bureaucracy Purgatory

  1. rwolf says:

    Well then, before I forget (which I never do); Happy Birthday.

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