A Few Hours At The DMV

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After hearing the horror stories on the news about the long lines at the DMV recently, I decided to give it a try in the late afternoon. To get a Real ID license, I needed to make an in-person visit, so I went to the DMV in Massapequa. The story you are about to read is mostly true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
3:51 p.m.
The parking lot is full, but there doesn’t seem to be a line coming out of the DMV office located on the inside corner of the “L” shaped building. It looks like I made the right decision.

3:56 p.m.
The greeter directed me to two lines in front of the photo station. I chose the one on the left with four people instead of the one with six.

4:02 p.m.
My line is not moving. I got the greeter’s attention with the universal “What’s Going on?” signal holding my palms up. “That’s not a line,” he shouted. “That’s just some people standing around.” I silently moved to the real line, which now had eight people in front of me.

4:13 p.m.
The pleasant clerk took my photo and asked to review my paperwork. “This isn’t half bad,” I thought. She typed a few keystrokes into the computer and said, “Everything looks good, sir,” handing it all back to me with a little piece of paper with the number U803 on it, requesting I take a seat. Bummer. I sat in the front near the counters and waited for U803 to be called.

4:32 p.m.
Hearing the robotic voice making announcements every time a new number was called, I wanted to yell out “BINGO” just for laughs. Casually, I smiled at the person next to me, asking how long he had been waiting. He said since last Tuesday. He wasn’t laughing…

5:11 p.m.
The woman directly in front of me working at counter 7 has been dawdling for more than 10 minutes without calling a number. The staff at counters ”6” and “8” are processing a lot of customers while “7” is still trying to get comfortable in her chair. Finally, she calls “R514.”

5:23 p.m.
Starting to wonder if I will ever see my wife and children again. I just want one last chance to say goodbye.

5:41 p.m.
Things are deteriorating rapidly. There hasn’t been a “Q” or “U” called in more than 20 minutes. Someone drew a picture of the girl at counter “7” on form MV-44 and burned it in protest. She processed just two numbers in the last half hour. The woman at counter “8” is suddenly moving much faster.

5:49 p.m.
A shirtless man with his necktie tied around his head like a bandana is shouting, “What happened to the Q’s?”

6 p.m.
Counter “7” has gone dark. The girl is missing. The workers at counters “6” and “8” are wearing black armbands and I believe there was a moment of silence.

6:17 p.m.
Spied a woman in the next row waiting for “U801” to be called. We bonded and vowed to marry if we ever got out of here alive.

6:42 p.m.
Starting to lose consciousness. Wait, did I just hear “U801?” I turned to congratulate my new friend, but she was gone. Godspeed “U801”, Godspeed…

6:57 p.m.
I slipped from my chair when my number appeared on the board, dropping to my knees to thank our creator. Making my way to counter “10” with tears in my eyes, I presented my paperwork. I turned to view those still waiting for their turn and felt pity for them. Then I heard the customer at counter “11” say, “What do you mean you can’t complete the transaction?”

7:58 p.m.
I woke up in the ambulance with my wife holding my hand. She told me for the last 20 minutes I just kept babbling, “The system is down; the system is down…”

Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.

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