Groundhog Day

I think that hell must be equivalent to spending a Saturday morning at the Motor Vehicle Dept.  Or two.

Given that August 24th is the last day to register to vote, we decided we needed to get our Maryland driver’s license on Saturday.  We dutifully looked up everything we needed and made the trek to the closest MVD with Saturday hours — which was a good 15 miles away.  We got there around 9:30 am and it was packed.  The first thing they do is put you in a cattle call line where a MVD employee makes sure that you have everything you need before you take a number.  I thought this made perfect sense because I imagine there are a lot of people who aren’t as smart as we are and didn’t bring all of the necessary documentation.  The line went pretty quickly and when it was our turn, we proudly turned over the following:

  • Washington driver’s licence
  • passports
  • social security cards
  • copy of our lease
  • copy of cable installation contract
  • firstborn

Oh, wait…they didn’t actually ask for the firstborn….

The woman says “only Lloyd’s name is on the cable installation contract.  Do you have anything else with Stephanie’s name and address on it?”  Uh….no.  Wait….we have our Washington registration which has my name and our Maryland address on it.  No — that would only work if I had the actual envelope that it came in.  Seriously?  Yes.  Seriously.

So, only Lloyd can get his license.  We decide to go home, get the paper we had received from the electric company showing that we were both responsible for the bill at our current address as of July 29th…which is the date we signed our lease. 

We went to another MVD, 15 miles in another direction, because I could not deal with going to the original one again.  Stood in line again.  Hand over all of our documentation.

This time, the lease is not valid because it doesn’t have our management company’s signature on it.  Oh, and the letter from the electric company will not suffice — only an actual bill.

So we left.  Spent half our day battling pure nonsense — and you wonder why people get frustrated with government.  I get that people try to cheat the system — and apparently Maryland has had a lot of trouble in that area so they have cracked down.  But honestly, it is WAY easier to forge a lease signature than it is to fabricate any of the other citizen documents that we had with us.   And, what frustrated me the most was that the rules had changed from one office to another.  Yes, we probably should have made sure we had a lease that had the management companies signature on the lease (I didn’t even realize it didn’t), but it had our signatures…and those would hold up in a court of law….as would the document saying we are responsible for the electric bill.  It could not have been more obvious that we lived where we claimed to live. 

The kicker came when the woman asked if we had our car registered in Maryland.  No….no we don’t.  Why?  Because you must have a MARYLAND DRIVER’S LICENSE TO REGISTER YOUR CAR. At the end of the day, we didn’t have the right documents and were apparently no smarter than anyone else in line…but, a simple smile, “welcome to Maryland” and perhaps a “I understand the requirements are confusing….how can I help make this easier for you?” would have gone a long way toward me not walking away hating the State of Maryland.  Because they sure as hell had no problem taking a boatload of taxes out of Lloyd’s paycheck the day before….

So, half my Saturday was wasted, I still have no license and I can’t vote in November.  And, if you know me, you know that I care WAY more about not being able to vote than I do about having a Maryland driver’s license.

The day was not lost.  We had a great time at the Montgomery County Fair, where we encountered the coolest “ride” ever.  Honestly, why don’t I ever think of this stuff?


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