Tuesday, 22 October 2013 13:45

I survived the DMV

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I am way out in front of a huge event we are producing (the St. Louis International Film Festival) and decided to take care of a few pressing life duties this morning that included a trip to the Deer Creek Department of Motor Vehicles office in Maplewood. I know people freak out about this and scream bloody murder about going, but it's mostly pretty simple. I received my renewal notification about a month ago and let it sit on my desk for a while with some other pressing bills. This morning I was determined to be a big boy and take care of my responsibilities. So far, so good. Then best laid plans and reality stepped in to slow down my morning down to a crawl. 

I am reasonably good at filing paperwork and receipts, plus if I get a bill I like to pay it as fast as I can. I rarely have much extra cash to squander, but I am always current with bills. It makes me feel more in control of the uncontrollable. To deal with the DMV you need a positive attitude, a book, and EVERY bit of required paperwork. You do NOT want the cold stare and denial of service if you don't have all of your stuff handy. I pity those who fail in this department. You are not made to feel very good.

I quickly found my copies of paid personal property tax for 2011, but it took me a while to find 2012. As long as its paid, now you can just print off a receipt from the St. Louis County's website. Not sure about the city. Next up was an emissions test. I found a Jiffy Lube nearby that could do it and was in and out of there quickly. I brought my own coffee since theirs is always terrible. Now with all of my requirements satisfied, I was on my way.

I guess I had not been through Deer Creek Plaza since construction was finished on the west end of the strip mall. Wow, lots of new stores including a Marshalls, JoAnn Fabrics and a Shoe Carnival. I like Shoe Carnival. Hokey, but cheap shoes. I walked in to the tiny DMV office and was pleasantly surprised by their new entry system and electronic kiosk. Using a touch screen you make an appointment for right them or in the near future and either get a numbered line ticket receipt or texts to your cell phone. The large flat screen TV's above the counter let people know how long the wait was going to be and what number you were in line. I was 9th with a 25 minute wait. This was acceptable and I settled in with my book - the new Stephen King called "Doctor Sleep," which is the long-awaited sequel to "The Shining." How fitting this was for my visit.

The DMV is always a spectacle of humanity and I never mind waiting, especially there. I have been using this location for over a decade and it's usually always a short wait from my previous experiences. There were 2 people serving this line and several more taking care of people renewing licenses. I observed one older African-American woman quickly get her license renewed only to be forced back into the other line via the kiosk. She now had to wait 45 more minutes for her turn. Things seemed to be moving along faster than their predicted times when another worker returned from lunch and was about to open another renewal line. Great, I thought. I will be done soon. Nope.

She fiddled and waddled about, disappearing into the back for who knows what. Once she got to her terminal I had already been at the top of the list with the listed remaining wait time of "1 minute remaining" for about 10 minutes. Like getting called to come on down on "The Price is Right," the last 4 digits of my cell phone number was called and I got my third text from the system alerting me that it was my turn. I had all of my paperwork and insurance card in order, paid my $50 for a two-year renewal, walked away with new '15 stickers for my plates. In the end my exerience there was slower than I had hoped for, but efficient and amusing to behold.

I did learn one thing though. Abby Stone has the Shining.