So, I am trying to do something completely extraordinary, unheard-off, unthinkable: I am trying to renew my drivers license but not just that I am trying to do it before my time is up. It ain’t as easy as I thought it would be, so here is a little rant.
The darn thing expires smack in the middle of our sabbatical and being a good alien I thought it the responsible thing to do to renew it before I leave, so when we return in July I come home to a valid drivers license. Well, that was me thinking – and I believe somewhat logically and coherently – but I run into an unforeseen obstacle.
I can’t renew my Drivers License ahead of time
I called the DMV today to make arrangements for the renewal. I should have been tipped of about the challenges ahead by the fact that nowhere on the DMV webpage do they give any information about renewing your license before you absolutely have to. I stumbled right into that one – eyes wide open. After the usual hour long wait in various automated option trees I reached a person, or at least I may have reached a person. The scenario is not unfamiliar to this alien who to this day steadfastly believes to have a reasonable command of the English language. I voice my desire for a renewal and get – some sort of answer. Honestly, I did not understand a word the person on the other line was saying. We go through several rounds of “Pardon me, could you repeat this?” “Sorry, I still did not understand what you where just saying.” “Unfortunately, I am still not quite sure …” There seem to be a million polite ways of saying: “Speak up, woman, and stop mumbling, slurring and making an utter mess of your incomplete sentences!” – and I know them all and then some.
What finally emerges is the following: one cannot renew a drivers license more then 60 days before expiration. Full stop. It just isn’t possible, has never been done, is unthinkable and why the hell am I asking such an idiotic question in the first place? I try to interjet a nice little story about temporary relocation and am then informed of one last possibility. I could in fact get my drivers license renewed on say January 13 and therefore a full, daunting two weeks before the 60 day period but – and here it comes – I would have to take a driver test and a written test. “You mean, I would have to drive around, like, in a car?” I ask incredulously and am informed that, “Yes, Ma’m, you will have to do that and those are just the rules.”
Okay, so let me get this straight: The fact that I want to renew 2 weeks before the official renewal period commences makes me by rule, law, decree, or divine intervention such a bad driver that I have to take a whole new driving test (and I have had share my of experiences with that – but that’s for another day) and a written test. I cannot even begin to understand what the thinking behind this nonsense is (I hope you realize that I am trying hard not to swear).
That leaves me with the option of letting my drivers license expire, or maybe on our stop over in JFK in February I can use the spare time before flying on to Vienna to quickly log on and renew my license. That is, if they don’t want this alien to show up again in person to prove that I haven’t forgotten how many inches can maximally lie between a parked car and the curb.
I really wish Americans would travel abroad more often an for longer periods of time!