Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's a DMV thing, you wouldn't understand

I couldn't put it off any longer:  Brigid needed a learner's permit.  I had a post about the experience prepared in my head but now I realize that writing about a visit to the DMV is even more boring than the actual visit to the DMV.

I planned to regal you all with the tale of how I saw a vanity plate displayed on the wall: PRSNLZD and I thought it meant "Prison Lizard."  You know, because license plates are made by prisoners.  And "lizard," well, I figured that was a reference to Prison Lizards some sci-fi horror movie that everyone in the world has seen except me.  Or an example of DMV humor.   Brigid, looking at the same plate and said, "Personalized." Oh.  I realized that the balloons and "Happy 30th Birthday" banners were not for the benefit of a DMV employee, but were to signify the 30th birthday of personalized license plates in Virginia.

And where would the roadways of America be without the daft vanity plates of Virginia to amuse us?

This plate lived in my neighborhood a few years ago.

Anyway, all the DMV employees were wearing mini vanity plates that say BE FUN.  How cruelly ironic!  It is ever so much fun to have your personal documents scrutinized by the gimlet eye of the DMV.  And to pay a fee for the privilege!  A young man who'd arrived a few minutes ahead of us was called. I'd noticed him in the parking lot and got my cougar on, admiring the elegant way he managed stick shift and cigarette while parking his car.  They started calling people who had definitely come in after us.

The man who had arrived immediately ahead of us was still waiting.  I remembered him because he had approached the information window and said, "Hi, I'm back, do you remember me?" and the woman at the window said, "No, not really," which was funny because he wasn't someone you'd forget . For one thing, despite the 94 degree day, he was wearing a wooly cap and bundled into thick sweats.  His lobster-bright sunburn and white-blond hair didn't exactly blend into the background.  How many people must approach the information window at the DMV for this woman not to remember a man as distinctive as this one?

Wooly cap man was called and then at last it was our turn, yadda yadda yadda, now Brigid has her learner's permit.  How convenient that we no longer own a car that's easy for her to learn on!  There is the school of thought that it's best to learn on a stick shift right off the bat.  Then again, I taught my nephew to drive a stick here in Charlottesville--and he already knew how to drive--and the experience caused me much anxiety.  We did several laps of the flat parking lot at the Amtrak station and then took to the streets.  Five seconds later I was telling him to pull over, NOW.  I guess the smart thing would be to teach her before the warranty on my new car runs out.


  1. Why can't these kids just move to big cities and never learn to drive? You know, like Barry Manilow. Oh, Mandy!

  2. I don't think my friend with that plate actually lived in your neighborhood. I did. She was over a lot.

    Oh, wait. She did live in a house on Hinton for a year, I think. I forgot about that.

    I learned on a stick, but that was Indiana where our biggest hills are gentler slopes than Belmont Park.

  3. Jocelyn, that's hilarious that the owner of that plate is your friend. It's one of the few clever vanity plates and I love how she got past the censors.

  4. Someone in our town has a vanity plate that says "IMADORK", which is the perfect vanity plate for anyone who purchases a vanity plate.

    I took copious notes during my last visit to the DMV in preparation for a blog post. I even had illustrations. Alas, I never used them. Perhaps it's not too late.

  5. I got my license and then my dad handed me the keys to his car and told me to teach myself. I think teaching my brothers did him in. The car came back in one piece, but he wasn't someone I could sue for the whiplash I brought on myself.

  6. You manage to make even a trip to the DMV make me giggle. Thanks for that :)

  7. She eventually did have to give it up. Someone complained to the DMV and she got a letter in the mail.

    I suggested she move on to a Piedmont plate and go with HALLIC (less likely to trip the censor beep than ENIS).

  8. Way to go!
    I have opinions on people who do vanity plates. Strong opinions.