So, I’m on my big ol’ road trip, stopping in New Jersey to visit my folks and renew my drivers’ license which had expired back in February. However, I kept it the whole time (as I needed some form of a license), with the intent on renewin’ it when I returned.
See, I had one of the old styles, that I renewed through the mail, and it didn’t have my picture on it. Now, as an antiterrorism measure, Jersey’s gone digital. In order to get a new valid license, you actually have to show up and get a picture taken–because we all know terrorists aren’t digital. :rolleyes: Also, they’ve got this new program where you have to show them “6 points” of identification, because again, as we all know real terrorists only carry four points, and the Taliban only has decoder rings.
Anyway, my parents are freaking out, “You’ll need your birth certificate! Do you have it? You need it! Bring some bills! Bring your old drivers license. . . yadda yadda yadda” :rolleyes: Thus, they begin to lay on the sap on how my sister was there for three hours and didn’t get hers renewed because they couldn’t verify her social security number, yadda yadda yadda and that I “should go first thing in the morning in case something goes wrong.” :smack:
So, armed with two passports (I’ll get there in a minute), one US Air Force ID card, some bills, a letter from the VA, and a couple other odds ‘n’ ends, and the knowledge I will be dealing with Vogons, I got up a little earlier and made it to the DMV office around 9:AM. At 9:15 AM, I was on the cellphone to my mother telling her that I had in fact recieved a fresh laminated plastic card that now serves as my drivers license.
As soon as you walk into the place, there are two ladies that sit at the little desk. They act as screeners to make sure you’ve got everything you need. The one lady asks if she can help me, and I tell her what I need to do. She hands me a little slip of paper to fill out, and asks me to gather my “6 Points of ID”. I fill out the paper, and give her my ‘official passport’ (the passport I use when I’m flying on “official government business”) because she’s never seen a red one. I explain to her that it’s my government passport, and she gasps, “Why, are you in the Army?” “No, Air Force. . .” At this point the other little lady takes notice and asks, “Have you been anywhere?” I quietly tell them both I just got back from a nine-month stint in Afghanistan, and tell them the countryside where I was is actually quite beautiful. While we’re talking, they’re gathering my documentation, stamping this and that, asking if I want to be an organ donor and if I was ever in danger (yeah, from the cooking), and just general polite chit-chat. The other lady said she’d been to China, and can relate to how beautiful the Himalayas are. In the matter of like, five minutes, the first lady hands my stuff back to me and points around the corner, “Just head back that way and they’ll take care of you!”
Sheepishly, I head back around a little partition, and the clerk (who was a little cutie) back there takes my newly-assembled “6 points / slip of paper bundle” and tells me to sit in a chair and smile. One, two, three poof the picture is taken, and she asks if I like the picture. :eek: I have a choice if I like the picture or not?! I say yes, fork over $24 in cash, and wait about ten minutes for my “social security number check” and the card to print out. She gives me my new laminated piece ‘o’ plastique, politely declines to give me her phone number, and wishes me a nice day. On the way out, I wave to the initial two ladies and tell them “Thank you!” and promptly start dialing my mother to tell her how easy it was.
What makes me believe I’m in an alternate universe:
- They were pleasant, and quick about things.
- It didn’t take me all damn day.
- There were no long lines, and the customers in the place generally seemed happy.
- They asked me if I liked my picture–when the hell did they start doing that?
- It cost me under $30 to get anything done with the Garden State.
I did take a little snooze this afternoon, and it’s a distinct possibility I was transported back to my original dimension while asleep. But man, from now on I’ll be teleporting my ass back to that dimension to get stuff done from now on . . .
Although I did see a Rod Serling lookalike while driving to the office this morning.