Thursday, May 12, 2016

Getting your license renewed

For the second part of my trilogy starting with waiting for the blood test I now move onto getting your driver license renewed. In a presumably safer and pre terrorist world (the world the Republican nominee says he can bring back) you could mail in your drivers license fee and get a new license a few weeks later. New Jersey, unlike most states, didn't have pictures on the licenses and everybody was as happy as clams with the arrangement.  

Then we entered the 21st century and everyone became security conscious and now most of us have to schlep down to motor vehicles to get a new picture and present proper credentials. Choosing which identification to use is sort of like a group dinner in a Chinese restaurant. You get one from column A, one from column B and one from column C. Those of us with passports like to use them (to show off) and state employees like to use their state id's. The people at Motor Vehicles seem to like the state id's, choosing mine over my passport. 

But here is where I experienced the shock of the new. When you go in a receptionist asks you for your phone number. They will then update you via text message on how soon it will be before you are called. I was 20th century, and, not thinking, gave them my home phone number.

Even not using this feature I did get to look at the screen and it listed the last four digits of every one's phone number and an approximate wait. I could follow my progress from an hour and ten minutes to zero minutes. I heard my number over the intercom, happily walked to the driver ID booth and had to wait for her to get through five other people. 

Getting through that I thought I would then walk to the picture booth but I was disappointed. I was told to go back to a seat. I looked at the screen and found out I had another hour to wait for the final step. 

This last bit went faster though, and soon I had a new picture, paid my twenty four dollars and got (a bit slowly I thought) a new picture driver licence. I don't look bad, grumpy, but not bad for an old fart. 

Editor's note: It's not often you get the shock of the new in a government agency. The blood test people should put in such a system.

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