Monday, March 30, 2009

Raising Hell in Arizona

So, here's the way it went down.

When we moved from Texas to Arizona our new house wasn't finished yet, so we rented a place in an adjacent town. Since we officially live in The Middle of Nowhere, our new house also happened to be in a completely different county than where we were renting.

After doing my normal studious research, I discovered that I was no longer in the land of no state taxes and cheap registration. Oh, no. The move from Texas meant that registering my Expedition was no longer going to be $68. According to the great state of Arizona, by moving here, I was obligated to bend over, grab my ankles and...write a check to them for $537.

Upon learning this, I made the executive decision to let my registration expire. It made no logical sense to register my car in one county and then two months later move into my new house in another county and pay again to register my vehicle. Besides, we were moving to the new house in July and my driver's license expired in August on my birthday, so why not just take care of everything in one miserable trip to the DMV, right? Right.

If you don't know this about me already, I am nothing if not organized. I am a researcher, a list maker and I use Excel spreadsheets to help me plot Thanksgiving dinner. So, in preparation for acquiring my new Arizona driver's license, I logged on to the Arizona Department of Transportation's website and researched what I would need. Always be prepared. That's my motto.

I read every last word on that website, double checked the "Required Documents" list, the "Acceptable Forms of Identification" list and the "What New Residents Need to Know About Getting a New Arizona License" list. I opened my file drawers, retrieved the appropriate information and made myself a lovely little folder labeled, "Driver's License Documents." Ah. Nothing like the satisfaction of being organized and prepared.

Mr. Right had been informed that when he could spare the time away from work to call me, and I would meet him at the DMV with our paperwork. When the call came, I grabbed my nifty little folder, strapped The Duchess in the car and made the thirty minute drive to the DMV.

Upon arrival, Mr. Right informed me that he would stay outside and take care of getting the car inspected and registered if I would go in and take a number and work on getting my driver's license. No problem, said I!

I entered the half full lobby, took a number and waited. Surprisingly, the line went relatively quickly for a red tape choked agency run by government lackeys, and soon it was my turn. I approached the desk and stated my mission. I was told by Ms. Worthless behind the desk that I needed two forms of I.D. and to surrender my out of state license. I happily obliged. And then it happened.

Ms. Worthless looked up at me and said, "Oh. You're from Texas." "Yesssss...." I replied?

Ms. Worthless: "Well then, you're going to need another form of I.D."

Me: "Because I'm from Texas?!!"

Ms. Worthless: "Yes."

Me: "What do you have against Texas?!"

Ms. Worthless: "Texas doesn't verify citizenship and Arizona does. We have to have another form of I.D. to verify that you're a citizen."

Me: (Speechless...for a minute) "I read your entire website and it doesn't say anywhere that if I'm from Texas I need to provide another form of I.D.!"

Ms. Worthless: (As she picks up a form from her desk and pushes it towards me) "It says it right here on this form."

Me: (Looking at the suddenly produced form) "But this form is HERE. I would have to come HERE to find out that I needed another form of I.D. and then I would have to leave HERE to go get another form of I.D. and bring it back HERE and HERE is thirty minutes away from my house!"

Ms. Worthless:"I'm sorry Ma'am, but we're going to have to have another form of I.D. We're going to need your birth certificate."

This is where I ever so logically explained that in order to get the passport that was under her face, I had to prove citizenship. I also explained to her that my birth certificate did indeed show that I was born in the U.S. but did not offer any other proof that I was Me, seeing as how it had my birth name on it and not my current name. This stopped her for a second.

Ms. Worthless: "Well, but your birth certificate proves who you are!"

Me: "No it doesn't. My birth certificate shows my name as Amy Colclasure. If I come in here with two other forms of I.D. that show my name is Amy Warner, how do you know that's actually MY birth certificate?"

At this point, I'm just trying to win the point because I've already written a ginormous check to the state of Arizona to have my car registered with their sorry asses and now I'm having to deal with a low paid government asshole who is just "following the rules." I am now also speaking several decibels higher than my normal voice.

Ms. Worthless: "I'm SORRY! Those are the rules. We have to verify that you're a citizen!"


Ms. Worthless: "Those are the rules!"


This is where Mr. Right walked in. And then turned around....and walked out. Way to watch my back there, Mr. Right.

Me: (To Ms. Worthless) "You are aware, aren't you, that a birth certificate is the easiest document to forge?! Anybody can get one! ANYBODY!!

Ms. Worthless: (Obviously feeling no remorse, only a sense of sick and twisted glee) "Those are the rules."


This, Dear Friends, is where I made my graceful exit. I gathered up my inadequate documents, shoved them in my nifty labeled folder and marched out the door, screaming the entire way.

Be honest. Have you ever had one of those pivotal moments where one minute you're a completely logical and rational human being and in the very next minute, even though a voice inside your head is saying, "Shut up, shut up, shut up!!" you turn into a complete and utter idiot?

That voice is giving you the opportunity to shut your cake hole and save face, but for whatever reason, you don't hear anything other than the raging idiocy spewing out of your mouth.

If you haven't had one of these moments, you're my hero and I'm not worthy to be in your presence. If you have had one of these moments, I totally feel for you.

If, like me, you've been stricken with recurring bouts of this sometimes embarrassing and humiliating malady, I'd like to have you over for drinks.

I think we'd get along just swell.

*Footnote: Texas has indeed been verifying citizenship for driver's licenses for years. I had to provide my birth certificate in order to obtain my license there. They included that information on their website. As of January 2009, the form you must fill out for the state of Arizona in order to obtain your license, no longer lists Texas as one of the states that does not verify citizenship. For all of you incoming Texas're welcome.


markdw said...

Well at least you don't have to get another one for the next 25 years...

Amy said...

Yes. The silver lining. I'm probably the only person in Arizona with a 25 year license. They just don't want me to show up at the DMV again during their lifetimes.

markdw said...

Mine was set to expire in 2042 when I lived there (in 2001). It was hard to give that one up when I moved back to Texas.

Andrea said...

OMG - I'm laughing so hard I'm falling off my chair. I've been waiting for your DMV story!

Amy said...


Yes, you inspired it! You, who behaved like a saint. Thank you!


Reya Mellicker said...

Are you sure you weren't trying to get a DC license? Our DMV is renowned for its incompetent, seething, dull witted employees and technique.

Glad you got through it! You are mighty.

4Wheel4Fun said...

Not entirely how it went down with respects to me, but the store is right. I only heard the screaming from outside and never went in. I didn't have to as you came outside screaming as well. That's when the DPS officer said, "I'm outta here!" just before you climbed in the tank and burned rubber out of the parking lot.

Amy said...

You DID come in. You opened the door and saw me and turned around and walked out. You're blocking it out and surpressing the memory of your Beloved embarrassing the hell out of you.

Wendy said...

That is a great picture.

Angela said...

AMY, hahahaha, I`m coming for drinks! I am just exactly like you, not taking any such shit without throwing my arms up and explaining and trying to make them SEE the point...though I know it seldom helps! But I can`t keep my mouth shut either. I love you! And don`t you think it helps, yes?!

Fragrant Liar said...

Ah, my homeland strikes again. I left Arizona and don't really want to go back -- at least not to live permanently. My sister's family and two brothers' families are there still, but I'm a happy Texan transplant (in Austin).

I do love having to pay so much less to register my vehicle here than I did in AZ. What a racket!

And about renewals, how much do you look like the person you were 25 years ago? Something very wrong with that.