After a long morning, our car is registered with the state, and we have shiny new driver's licenses, complete with deer in the headlights, bad hair, mugshots. David's license looks nicer than mine because he has a quirky habit of wearing his suit to get his license photo whenever we move. I guess he wants to create a good impression when he gets pulled over... In Maryland, he wore a dress shirt, a tie, a suit coat, and jeans to get his picture made. It was pretty funny. I tease him mercilessly about this little habit, but since it's the weirdest thing about him, we're good to go.
In NC, the DMV process is complicated by the fact that you can't do everything in one place. Ever. If you want to register your car and get plates, you must go to a tiny franchise office that only does that out in Wake Forest. Your first clue that it's not a government agency is the nice assortment of car plates that you can choose from, including, "Work is for people who don't know how to fish," "Redneck Woman," and "Noble Shriner." The state apparently farms out this particular govt. service to private contractors, since I was made aware of that by the gigantic sign that said, "This office is not a government office. These people are just ordinary people who do not represent us, and if you have a problem with them, don't call us" (or something to that effect). So after you get your tags at the little office in one small town, you must turn around and go to a new place 15 minutes away to get your new driver's license.
If you move to NC from out of state, even if you've been driving for 12 years and have never had a ticket, just to pick a completely random example, you still have to take a written driving test. In my opinion, this is a ridiculous waste of my time and the money that the state spent on those cute little computer monitors where you take your test. And the test is not easy. David and I read the little book while we waited, and we were glad we did. Here's an actual question from the test:
What percentage of interstate highway accidents are caused each year by driving while impaired?
A. 36 %
B. 67 %
C. 25 %
Anybody have a clue? For one thing, I really don't think that information was in the book I'd just skimmed. And what does that have to do with my ability to operate a motor vehicle? One day, am I going to get pulled over by a cop who says, "Ma'am, I need to know that you know how many accidents are caused each year by driving drunk or on drugs. No...no... ma'am, don't get upset... I'm not accusing you of anything....the state requires me to stop and ask random motorists this....a guess is good enough, and then I can let you go.... "
There were other questions on there like:
If Bobby Sue and Betty Lou get to an intersection in Duplin Co. at the same time, and the smell from Farmer Jimmy's local hog waste lagoon overwhelms Betty Lou so that she passes out, leaning on the horn, should Bobby Sue:
A. Go through the intersection, making sure to gently toot her horn in Betty Lou's direction.
B. Call the Duplin County EMT service, since they have special resuscitation devices for this.
C. Make a right turn going no more than 15 mph while putting on her right blinker, which should be calibrated to be blinking at a speed of no more than 5 blinks per 30 second interval.
Just a little Eastern NC humor, folks. =) But anyway, we're done. And here's a little tip. I've found in my many DMV experiences over the years that, even with overworked, underpaid, state DMV employees, you can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar. Ask them how they're doing. If they say they're hot, express some sympathy. Make their day a little brighter, and they'll give you a little more grace when they're thinking of rejecting your check because your bank is out of state. Just smile a little...it helps a lot. =)