They don't allow you to take photos inside the DMV, so I have no illustration for this post. That's not a big deal, as everyone already knows what this place is about.
A few years ago, I laughed at Kevin Smith's TV series "Reaper," about a kid whose parents sold his soul to the devil. He had to report to a minion of Satan, who worked at the DMV. The joke, of course, was that this place was the portal to hell.
It's actually not that bad -- if you have an appointment. We made ours a couple of weeks ago, over the Internet. So the queue we waited in wasn't long. Also, there was stuff to look at on HDTV monitors placed strategically around the building. It's mostly PSAs about driving hazards, insurance requirements and the joy of buying personalized plates - but there are also ads for local businesses, as well as the number you can call to place your ad here. I suppose it's effective, captive audience and all.
Did you know that the DMV has a smartphone app? I guess I should forgive myself for being unaware, since there are few cool apps for my Blackberry. But if you have an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can use it to make appointments, check out wait times, and even take sample driving tests - which I think is pretty cool. And I learned about it while standing in that line today.
My 16-year-old daughter is taking her driving test. I'm kind of a nervous wreck. I have faith in her. But I think I'm projecting a little. I remember how afraid I was when I took my test. And I know she's feeling a little bit nervous, too, so I'm feeling that as well.
The procedures have changed since I was a teenager. The most obvious ones are the restrictions on young drivers now. But I was surprised to learn that they no longer require you to take the written test first. Apparently, it's now considered redundant to take it again so soon after passing it to get your permit.
Did I mention that Megan is in my car RIGHT NOW with the DMV guy who will decide if she's a good enough driver for the state of California? I'm glad I'm not in the car with her. I'm also sad. She is on her own - as she will be increasingly as she marches to adulthood.
UPDATE: She passed her exam. And after driving home, she announced that she would run to the store for me -- alone. She just returned.
"That was weird," she said. And then she retreated back to her room to tackle her homework.
Yes. It is.