Survived my first experience at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

My RMV resembled this one in California.

I had to go to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles the other day to convert my out-of-state driver’s license to a Massachusetts license. My New York license was about to expire, and I decided to get a Mass. one so bartenders, cashiers and bouncers wouldn’t sit there for 30 seconds trying to locate my birth date on my license.

Plus, I have no plans to leave Massachusetts in the near future, so why not get a Mass. ID? The one drawback is it costs $100. It would have only cost $64 to renew my license in New York. Actually another drawback is I had to wait for about two hours in a room full of crowded people.

Had I gotten my license renewed in upstate New York, where I’m from, I most likely would have gone to the Wampsville Department of Motor Vehicles. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so crowds aren’t a problem.

I ended up going to an RMV just outside of Boston. I thought it wouldn’t be too packed as I was getting there after lunchtime. I was definitely wrong.

There were so many people I initially couldn’t find a seat on one of the benches. I eventually got a seat right in the front row. Unfortunately, however, when someone sat down on the other side of the elderly lady sitting next to me, the lady chose to compensate by moving up against me. It was a painful two-hour wait.

I ended up getting a no-nonsense RMV lady. Without a “Hello,” she said “You need to give me “this,” “this,” and “this.” But before I had a chance to hand her the documents she questioned me about my New York license.

“Hmmm,” she said. “This says you are ‘C A Laubenstein.’ Is that correct?”

I said “Yes”, assuming she probably knew the “C” and “A” were just initials. She then goes: “Your first name is ‘C’, and your middle name is ‘A’?” She was serious.

I go, “Um, actually, those are short for my first and middle names. My names were too long to fit on my license.”

She then looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t know what to say. A few seconds went by, and then she seemed to forget about what we had just been talking about.

For my proof of signature I gave her my latest bank statement, which included an image of a canceled check. She told me this document wouldn’t do, as it was a printout, not the original bank statement. I told her that I have online banking, and don’t get paper statements. She hemmed and hawed, and then said she’d check with her supervisor to see if it was OK.

Before leaving she had me look at a list of alternative documents I could provide just in case. When she came back I said I might have one of the documents– a proof of university enrollment (I am taking one class this summer). She took at a look at my sheet of paper, and said “Nice try.” No, “I’m sorry, that isn’t quite what we are looking for.” But “Nice try.”

Anyway, turns out her supervisor OKed my printed-out bank statement. Next I had to get my picture taken, followed by a vision test (which I passed).

Once these were done the lady did a compete about-face. She was now Miss Personable/Sense of Humor. She asked me why I moved to Boston, and said my reason was wonderful.

She said “No problem at all” when I accidentally wrote down a wrong digit in my phone number. She then said “Oh wow, your birthday is coming up.” When I responded that that was why I was getting my license renewed that day (because it would expire on my birthday), she said “Good thinking!”

Anyway, when she handed me my temporary ID all I could think was “Thank God I got through this!” I didn’t even really care my picture wasn’t that good (she had asked if I wanted another one but I said “No” in hopes the experience would end as quickly as possible).

Luckily, when my license expires in five years, I won’t have to go back to the RMV. Apparently at that point I can renew my license online!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Life, Mass., Upstate New York

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