Entering the Fray

For this week’s Tranquil Thursday, Maggie posed a few questions about conflict and how we stay centered and recover from the uneasy times.

I lost it at the DMV on Tuesday. My wife and I went to the DMV to renew our driver’s licenses and to upgrade then from regular licences to Real ID licenses. I wrote about it here.

As I noted in that post, to get a Real ID, you need to present documents to the DMV proving that you actually are who you say you are. You need to validate your name, Social Security number, and show proof that you reside in California. That generally means bringing a birth certificate or passport, a Social Security card or tax forms such as a W-2, and two proofs of address. And for a married woman who took her husband’s last name, a marriage certificate with her maiden name.

We applied for a Real ID online, but we had to attach images of these proof documents to our online application and it took us multiple attempts and more than a week to finally get a verification that the docs submitted were acceptable. And once verified online, we still had to bring originals (or certified copies) of these proof documents with us when we got to the DMV.

My wife and I arrived at the DMV and went to the checkin desk. We told the woman that we were there to renew our driver’s licences and to upgrade them to Real ID licenses. She asked to see our documentation, so I handed her all of the materials I had included with the online application, including the response from the online process advising that all of our documentation had been reviewed and verified. I figured this would be a walk in the park.

But no. The woman began picking apart every document we provided. “Your birth certificates are not original,” she said. “This marriage license is not original,” she said.

I pulled out my iPhone and read her from the page in the Real ID instructions that noted that copies of birth certificates and marriage licenses were acceptable as long as they contained a raised seal from the issuing agency, which all of our documents had. Her response was that the Department of Homeland Security would not accept these documents. I then showed her the physical copy of the email I received from the DMV telling me that all of my submitted documents had been reviewed, verified, and approved. She was unmoved. I was livid.

She said she would only approve us for renewal for a regular driver’s license, but not for a Real ID driver’s license. I started yelling at her, but my wife grabbed my arm and said, “Let it go. She’s not listening to you, she’s not budging, so before you get thrown out of this DMV, let’s just renew our license and we can do our Real ID licenses later.” Smoke was coming out of my ears, but I backed down. All I can say is that if California was an open carry/concealed carry state — and if I owned a gun, which I don’t — I would have whipped out my gun and shot this woman dead on the spot.

Anyway, when it was our turn, we were called up to a window and I nonchalantly said, “We are here to renew our driver’s licenses and to upgrade them to Real ID licenses.”

The clerk at the window said, “Let me see your documentation.” I was about to start screaming again, but my wife tugged at my sleeve and shook her head no. After a moment, the woman said, “Here’s your documentation. You’re all set. There’s the line to get your photo taken and after that you will take the written test.” Then she handed each of us a piece of paper with the words “Real ID Approved” stamped on it.

My wife winked at me and we got our photos taken and then both aced the written test. Done and done.

So, to answer Maggie’s questions:

  1. Do you love to argue your point or do you choose to avoid debate? I love to argue my point.
  2. I feel some conflict is unavoidable. What do you think? I agree.
  3. Are you outspoken on the state of the world? Does dialogue help or hurt? I am outspoken, but dialogue with far-right conservatives and the religious right is fruitless.
  4. Have you ever known situations when you were compelled to ‘step into the fray’? Yes, at the DMV this past Tuesday.
  5. When periods of conflict have subsided, how do you recover, re-center, and return to a place of tranquility? I rely on my wife to talk me down and bring me back from the brink.

20 thoughts on “Entering the Fray

  1. Lauren April 13, 2023 / 5:27 pm

    I am in the process of exactly the same thing. I didn’t get an appointment yet because I wanted to be finished with my chemo first. Now it is a time crunch before my birthday. Your wife was a great calming influence. I hope I get it right.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Paula Light April 13, 2023 / 5:51 pm

    The DMV is a fucking bureaucratic nightmare. Most of the preceding sentence came up automatically as I was typing 😂😂😂

    I’m glad you got that shit resolved and your wife kept you sane(ish). My own experience was similar except no wife to keep me from yelling at them…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lou Carreras April 13, 2023 / 6:38 pm

    There is bureaucracy and then there is bureaucracy. Having spent some years as a GS12/ something I know the absolute need for some of the regs. But then there are people who purely love to make other people twist in the wind and misuse the regs to get their twisted pleasures. It’s those twerps who give government a bad name. I am so sorry that you had to put up with one of the twerps…but on the other hand the second person you dealt with seems to understand how to apply the regs in a human fashion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango April 13, 2023 / 10:25 pm

      I, too, was happy that the second person was reasonable, but that first woman had me on the verge of committing a felony in front of a few hundred witnesses, many of whom, I believe, would have cheered me on.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. slmret April 13, 2023 / 7:29 pm

    I have repeatedly been assured that a passport is sufficient to admit one to transportation or government buildings, etc. Since I Have a valid passport, I have chosen not to upgrade my CDL to a Real ID — though I may change my mind in 2025, when the CDL must be renewed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango April 13, 2023 / 10:29 pm

      Unfortunately, my passport expired in 2021, so I THOUGHT it would be simpler to get a Real ID when I renewed my CDL this year. In hindsight, it probably would have been less aggravating to have applied for a new passport and gotten a regular driver’s license.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadje April 13, 2023 / 7:37 pm

    Phew!! That was some harrowing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. RuthScribbles April 14, 2023 / 12:41 am

    It sounds like the first attendant was treating you like black and brown people get treated all the time. I’m glad you don’t carry a gun. Killing is never the answer unless in true defense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. pensitivity101 April 14, 2023 / 5:10 am

    I feel for you at the DMV. Some clerks believe they’re a god. I had one when I was unemployed and had to provide proof of applying for work from the precious week. I kept carbon copies of all my correspondence, and that particular week I had sent out 12 applications, and not received one singly reply or acknowledgement. The woman I saw was not my regular lady, and this one was very snide when she said ‘ My, you HAVE been busy haven’t you.’ I reported her because I was having a really bad day and didn’t need that. I had hoped she would find herself where I was (nasty me), but it seems she was a locum and I never saw her again. Ho hum.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marleen April 14, 2023 / 9:31 am

    That’s a good story, and your wife is wise.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Marilyn Armstrong April 14, 2023 / 12:31 pm

    Garry was certifiable for several days after his encounter with the RMV. I’m not sure how I got my “real” ID, but somehow, they gave me one. Garry wasn’t even willing to try. I think he’d have shot them too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango April 14, 2023 / 12:57 pm

      If they gave you a Real ID licence without making you jump through hoops, you’re very lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn Armstrong April 14, 2023 / 1:54 pm

        They were SO confused, I think they gave up trying to figure out what they were supposed to do and just gave it to me. Remember, that was a year ago when they were befuddled beyond belief. Who was more confused? I think THEY were.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. leigha66 April 25, 2023 / 2:18 pm

    Sometimes interacting with people is highly overrated. Ha, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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