Corin Anderson (magellanic) wrote,
Corin Anderson

DMV fun

The short version: I have a California Driver's license now. Yay!

The more detailed version...

6:30am is too early to wake up in the morning. Heck, the sun isn't even up before 7:15 these days - why should I have to be? Had to head out by 7:30 to catch a train to the DMV. The whole trip was multi-modal: bike from here to the train station (1.07mi), ride the train down three stops (12 minutes, perhaps 6 miles), then ride to the DMV (1.8mi). The most exciting bit, as I expected, was the ride on the DMV side: 1 mile along Lawrence Expressway. "Bicycles permitted" the bike map says. Tell that to the drivers. I eventually figured out that the raised area along the road was for bikes and not pedestrians, and that I really should get out off the shoulder. 7 minutes of riding later, I'm safely at the DMV.

Surprisingly, the DMV has a bike rack; a California Highway Patrolman points me to where it is on the side of the building. The trip out has been okay so far; the ground is damp but not wet (no splashed water). Good. Time to face the music.

You don't want to go to the DMV unless you have an appointment. 20 or 30 people already sitting on chairs waiting for something to happen ("something" being "their number is called"). I walk up to the head of the have-appointment line (I'm 20 minutes early for my appt.). I'm handed a form to complete and a number. I get just to the bottom of the form when my number is called. OMG, that's pretty neat. Hope no one else has noticed I'm making such progress.

The DMV woman's name is Karina and she has fushia painted fingernails. About 4 minutes and $12 later with Karina and I'm in a new line. At the CaDMV, they have high expectations for their applicants: they take your picture before you even complete, let alone, pass, your written test. Here's the really odd thing of the morning: for my DL picture, the tech can't manage to snap a pic without getting glare on my glasses. So, he has me take them off. "But, I wear them all the time..." "Don't worry, your license says corrective lenses, it'll be okay." "But, that's not my concern -- it's the people at the airport who'll wonder why I'm wearing glasses." "It'll say you have corrective lenses." I give in. Anyone who sees my DL photo will now think I'm really vain and arm-twisted someone to get a no-glasses photo. Oh, well.

After camera time, I'm given a long piece of paper which is my written test (paper - how quaint!). 36 questions and some more line waiting, and I'm nervously waiting for the teacher's red pen. I'm also beginning to eye the clock -- it's 8:52 and I know the CalTrain that heads back home leaves at 9:10a. The guy checks my sheet -- all okay. Heh, and I was worried. Actually, some of the questions really were sort of odd. They let me keep the sheet, let's find my favorite...

30. What is the best advice for driving when heavy fog or dust occurs?
a. Try not to drive until conditions improve.
b. Do not drive too slowly, because other drivers may hit you.
c. Alternate your low and high beams to improve your vision.

(a) is what they were looking for. If it gets foggy, just stay home. Works for me.

A few more minutes with the grader guy, an eye test and a signature later, and I'm good to go. He defaces my WaDL (punches out the expiration year) and gives me a slip of paper that claims to be a California DL. I'll get my real one in 3 - 4 weeks. Just in time for the next trip I'll need a car for.

I head out with three-quarters of a grin on my face. I was actually pretty happy to ace the written test. I step outside, and, although it's not raining, it looks like a monsoon just washed through Santa Clara. Oh, and I without my rain gear. No, it's not raining, but I have no good mud guards on my bike. I bite the bullet and cycle back along the Lawrence Expressway (which, by this hour, is going slower than I can cycle on the shoulder; ha!). I catch the train and return to my apartment safely, and now licensed. Had to change into some drier clothes before being presentable at work, but no biggie.

And, that was my adventure. Boy, I had some bit of writing pent up inside of me. Too bad I didn't use it to write a conference paper or something, or at least write one of the reviews I need to do. Heh.
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