DMV or Enema? Enema, Please!

My stomach is already in knots. Thomas and I are headed to the Arleta DMV for his 8:00 AM driving test. I choke up as he quietly lists his “rules of the road” while merging onto the 170 freeway. He is sixteen and already the best (unlicensed) driver I’ve ever ridden with, but there is still a whirling dervish in my belly.

It took us over two months to book this appointment. We tried the online route, only to discover Thomas’ license number and/or information was “invalid,” so we called the “help” line. Try that sometime when you’re bored, have nothing but time and a real hankering for the sound of a ringing phone. It’s fun.

Next we get a visit to the “no-appointment” line at the DMV, yay!

Walking Dead Line

And WTF is UP with the Anaconda-like “no-appointment” lines? Is this a Black Friday thing? Is the appointment option some secret back door? One day last week, I asked Wendy (daughter #2) to take Thomas to the nearest DMV after picking him up from school to clear up the mess. They managed to escape unscathed with today’s appointment.


We pull in fifteen minutes early behind the twenty-seven other 8:00 AM appointment holders. It is in this line we get our first of a series of congenial incarnations.

Kim Davis

DMV Guy: [taps on glass and motions for Thomas to roll down his window] Are you checked in?

Me: [frantically emptying the glove compartment in search of the current registration and proof of insurance] Not yet. My daughter will wait here while I check him in.

DMV Guy: Nope. You have to move your car.

Me: We want to keep our place in line. Can’t we check in while she waits here?

DMV Guy: Nope.

Me: Please? There are lots of cars in front of us. Why can’t we keep our place?

MEAN!! DMV Guy: Because you can’t. Move the car.

Wicked Witch

We chose Arleta because friends told us the staff was “friendlier.”

Confused Mark Wahlberg

We park the car and push our way through the no-appointment zombie line-up. It is now 8:15 and we are directed to Window 30 where there is yet another line and I am starting to stress about how late I will be arriving to work. Donkey’s years later, we face a “live” person at Window 30.

DMV Gal: [monotone] Paperwork?

Me: Here’s his permit, completion of driving school certificate, registration and insurance. Do you need a picture ID?

DMV Gal: No. [fingernails clickity clackity on her keyboard] He’s not in the system.

Me: What do you mean, he’s not in the system? We tried scheduling this appointment online for two months. We tried calling and NEVER reached a live person. These two made an office visit last week to clear this up and schedule this. Please check again.

DMV Gal: Be right back.

Thomas looks crestfallen. I keep telling myself that in the whole scheme of things, this is no big deal, but my son was very excited. And now he’s upset. My “Mama Bear” is beginning to show.

DMV Gal: I spoke to my manager. He’s not in the system. You have to make an appointment.

Me: We DID make an appointment.

DMV Gal: It’s not in the system.

Mama Bear

Me: I would like to speak to the manager.

DMV Gal: Go to Window 20. She will meet you there. NEXT!

As we stand at Window 20, I watch the manager making molasses movements at her computer while smacking her gum. She saunters towards us just as I am about to reach over the counter with a grizzly paw and begin swiping left and right like a Tinder maniac.

DMV Manager: [blank stare]

Me: Will you please help us with this?

I launch into the old appointment fiasco spiel.

DMV Manager: He’s not in the system.

Me: Yes, but he SHOULD be. I just explained it to you. He made a special trip to a DMV office last week for specifically the task of scheduling today’s appointment.

DMV Manager: But, he’s not in the system.

Me: This was obviously the mistake of that DMV employee!

DMV Manager: I don’t know. I wasn’t there. He’s not in the system.


…but you can make an appointment.

Ommm Dog

Is this some freakish secret parent hazing nobody told me about? (Dad, stop laughing). These people are Stepford Wife / Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey combos.

I'm Dave in this scenario

I’m Dave in this scenario

Is there required “unpleasantness training” with a handout of “No, in fact, I CAN’T help you” nametags? Why are they all so miserable? And what is it about stepping foot in a DMV office that sets me off and stresses me to the point of a headache? Maybe it’s the simple fact that they popped my child’s balloon and delayed his eagerly awaited rite of passage. Perhaps they are unhappy because the absence of independence and a sense of power in their jobs are the same qualities they are turning over to enthusiastic, wide-eyed kids. Maybe obstructing those qualities, if only for a short time, creates the illusion of power.

We now have printed confirmation of his next appointment.

Mama bear hugs

Please click on the link to vote for me once a day!

Please click on the link to vote for me once a day!

3 thoughts on “DMV or Enema? Enema, Please!

  1. I, too, suffered at the DMV today. What an unpleasant bit of ass-drudgery. I’d love to learn how to get a job there — sit on your ass, move like molasses, and get a state pension, retirement, and benefits!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel your pain (and love your writing), but the folks at the DMV are not trying to make your life harder. Know how you feel walking through the door…they get to wake up and do that every day! They are cogs in a system that they don’t control and are not allowed to make exceptions to any rule lest they be reprimanded or fired for it. They are woefully understaffed and have very little ability to use their own judgment. This is not a dream job for loafers. They work hard and take a lot of abuse from people who don’t value the rules and the reasons we all have to play by them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kristi, thank you for your very thoughtful comment. The point of my post was not to offend employees of the DMV, although I see how it could be taken that way. I realize they work hard and apologize if my post was offensive. I was really making light of one very frustrating experience that was enhanced by the fact that it was a huge disappointment to my son and things played out the way they did because a DMV employee made mistakes. I can understand how hard it must be dealing with people who don’t want to be there, because, let’s face it, nobody enjoys going to the DMV. That said, our follow-up appointment was much more pleasant. My son had a very friendly instructor administer his test who gave him a near perfect score and we were in and out of there as quickly as could be. I do appreciate the fact that we have people who are willing to serve the public in such a thankless capacity. Thank you, again, for your post.


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