Your Tax Dollars at Work #1The Florida DMV, just so you know, are complete and utter fuckers.
I mean, not to sound superior or anything, but I'm a college-educated, cultured, suburban Hip Guy (as hip as someone my age can be, anyway) who's been generally regarded as a Clever Sod (and a Cheap Laugh) most of his life. Not too shabby, really, though the retirement plan stinks.
What I'm trying to say is that I can generally navigate life's little obstacles with grace and even (on occasion) a bit of style and panache. I'm generally very pleased and content with myself and the world around me, and despite the fact that fascists calling themselves Republicans keep getting into office, most of the universe makes a certain amount of sense. Things generally don't befuddle me or leave me confused and frustrated most of the time (thank you, Apple).
But trying to renew a driver's license in this state is like trying to re-discover the cure for polio with only a crippled kid and a Bunsen burner for tools. It is the year 2002, and yet the various county governments and the state DMV absolutely refuse to communicate with each other about their respective records, and what's more they have no intention of ever doing so, forcing people like me to become all-day, unpaid messenger boys shuttling notes back and forth between these various agencies (and their lovely long lines). All the above agencies and their employees blithely assume you have absolutely nothing better to do with your time -- like say, earn money or just hold on to your present job -- and act like you should be damn glad you get to spend time with them.
It was that way when I first applied for a driver's license more than 20 years ago, and if anything it's gotten worse. And don't even mention the idea that most of this business could be far more efficiently handled by the Internet and some kind of Paypal-like system. Their snort of derision is loud enough to set off car alarms.
My case is not terribly odd or exceptional -- I had a few minor tickets a few years back. The DMV's computer (which is apparently located in Elbonia) never got informed by the two counties in which these tickets were issued that I paid them -- more than six years ago. They also conveniently forgot that I gave them paperwork to this effect at that time, after many, many round-trips between the various clerks-of-courts and the DMV. So now I must do it all again. And just like last time, whenever I think I've cleared all hurdles and I should wet my hair down for my picture, they "find" another "glitch" that can only be solved by me running around all over town to such an extent that I could really use a manservant named Passepartout. And of course the other agencies just look at me like I'm from Mars and wonder aloud what's wrong with those people at the DMV.
I wish I knew. But the point of this rant isn't to publicly castrate the DMV for their "computers? what are those?" mentality or staggering incompetence with even the most basic forms of technology, fun though that may be. It's to wonder aloud how in the world poorer, less well-educated, less-well-resourced people ever manage to wander through this maze at all.
Maybe that's why so many people in this town use the bus. It's not a very good system, but at least it's not as much of a hassle, or as expensive, or as soul-destroying.