The last two days of my life have been painful. Painful in the sense that I have spent a total of 8 hours at the DMV between the two days.
Let me paint the scene for you.
Back in December 2021, after months of begging my Jeep for a working partnership between the two of us, I finally had to walk away from the destructive relationship. It was a hard decision and one that I had not taken lightly. It just had gotten to a point where I spent all my time and money trying to convince it that we had a future together. However, the Jeep, built at 4:45 pm on a Friday before a four-day weekend, had just given up on us working through our issues.
So, I went to the local dealership with a heavy heart and traded her for a beautiful cheery apple red truck. It was love at first sight, a throwback to the very first truck that I had ever bought myself without anyone else’s opinion or credit score. Two hours later, I was happily driving home in a vehicle that I knew would work for me as much as I would work for her. I vowed to love her, take care of her, and always get her the premium car washes. I am proud to state that we are still in the honeymoon phase almost four months later!
Fast forward to March 2022.
My permanent registration paperwork had arrived after numerous phone calls and trips back to the dealership for extensions on my temporary registrations. The reason it took so long? The DMV was backed up and still on COVID protocol, an excuse that is happily used in most federal and state government buildings to justify their lack of ‘give a shit’.
Unfortunately, the registration was wrong. Go figure!
I got the incorrect paperwork on Friday afternoon and set out to go to the DMV to fix it on Monday morning. However, in the great state of Alaska- it was Sewards Day, a day where all state and federal agencies are closed to celebrate our purchase of Alaska from the Russians. Now, no one else is closed! Schools are still in session; libraries still have their doors open, and there are absolutely no ‘discounts’ at the furniture or car dealerships for this momentous occasion. So is it even an actual holiday?
Tuesday mid-morning, it is back to the DMV I happily go. Except, so did every other person in Fairbanks. When I showed up 30 minutes after their opening, the line was out the door and a 2.5-hour wait. So I decided to put a pin in that chore and get lunch instead. While at lunch, I remembered that you could make online appointments with the DMV and schedule me for a visit at 2 pm.
1:30 pm- I am standing in the 30-minute line to get checked in to be placed in line for an opportunity to get my paperwork done. By the staff’s amount of security and glaring stares, you would think the other half of Fairbankian citizens who decided to be ‘legal’ and I were terrorists. But, by 2 pm, the clerk called my name, and I explained to the lovely gentleman who was staring through me instead of listening, that I had permanent DV (disabled veteran) plates that should have been registered to my new vehicle instead of the ones I was given.
I do not blame anyone for the mistake- for all I knew, it could have been the dealership or the DMV. But it was a mistake because the DV plates ARE permanent, and I wanted them back on my truck because it makes me feel better parking in the Veteran spot at Lowe’s if I have proof of my 21 years of military service.
By 2:05 pm, I am back out the door on my way to the dealership because the DMV clerk, who never once actually looked at me, stated that this was the dealership’s fault and they should be the one to fix it.
2:45 pm, I am driving home from the dealership with a check for a refund of the cost to register my vehicle but no resolution to my plate situation. Instead, they advised me to go back to the DMV and fix it.
Wednesday- three days into trying to drive legally with the correct plates and registration, I am back at the DMV with another scheduled appointment. Now, to add sugar to the pie, I have a nasty migraine, and my teeth are so sensitive it feels like I have given myself a permanent brain freeze. I had left my phone in the truck in my fog of trying to be an adult and do the legal thing while dealing with vice grips on my head. No matter! I have an appointment! In and out!
3 HOURS LATER!
I met a wonderful man who told me his life story of moving from the lower 48 to Alaska to ‘find’ himself and live off the grid. He and I talked for 30 minutes about rosehip tea, mammoth sunflowers, the pleasures of running water, and why we don’t like the DMV. He was also spending his third day at the DMV trying to get his boat and truck registered, so we bonded over shared stories.
Then I met Mrs. Rose and her husband, who shuffled in about an hour into my wait, and we had a lovely conversation about their wedding day 52 years ago when they were 20! They were there to renew their driver’s licenses. Both were disabled, full of life, walking at a combined speed of .5 mph, and both were hard of hearing! After 45 minutes, they both passed the test of breathing and talking and were handed their updated licenses! No worries there!
Then there was Mr/Ms. Jay, who was with me to the end! They were transitioning from Mr. Jay to Ms. Jay and had all the required surgeries and procedures from the head down. We had a fantastic conversation about their plastic surgeon, who was able to take them from a 0 cup to a perky C cup and did a fabulous job on their tummy tuck. Mr./Ms. Jay offered to give me the name and phone number so that I ‘could get some needed work done’. How kind!
I did ask when they were going to complete the transition, you know- make the face match the body- and Mr./Ms. Jay responded that there was no rush. They liked living in both worlds. Not sure how I was to respond to that…but okay- your life, live it to your fullest.
Finally, the clerk called my name. I had, at that point, made four new friends, written a new story on the back of a napkin and Wal-Mart receipt, and finished a book that I had started that morning. I was dizzy from hunger, my throat was parched, and I knew that I had 15 emails just waiting on my phone. My head was now five sizes too small, and I had a lovely blind spot in one eye. Nothing I was too worried about since I learned from Mrs. Rose and her husband- it takes an act of God to have your license taken from you.
This is where the story gets worse. I know you are thinking- ‘What has been good about it so far?’
It seems that the issue with the plate was ALL my fault- I didn’t do my due diligence to make sure the dealership did their job correctly. My registration did not match the license plates currently on my vehicle- so I had been driving illegally. My DV plates had been declared destroyed by the dealership, AND my old flame, the Jeep, was still registered to me.
That clerk looked at me like I should be handcuffed, convicted of a federal crime, and sent to prison with no hope of parole. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes apologizing to her for my misdeeds and the inconvenience of making the DMV do their job.
I left with my DV plates re-registered to me, the paperwork fixed, and a lecture on taking responsibility for my actions.
I have since emailed my boss that I was taking two ‘mental’ days off of work and am currently reexamining where I went wrong in life. Last night I ate a Wendy’s double bacon burger, a frosty, 10 Chip A’Hoy cookies, 4 cups of coffee, and a Snickers that I found from last Halloween. I then remembered that I couldn’t get surgery because I was fat- and that losing weight ‘starts in the kitchen.’ That started the waterworks!
It is now only Thursday, and I am crawling back to bed and will return to normal life on Monday!