Thursday, March 23, 2006

DMV Saga, Part II (of many)

Two days ago I posted a piece about how going to the DMV in Binghamton was analagous to a good day at the bank, in that I was in and out, with no appointment and friendly and courteous service, in about 10 minutes. Yesterday, I returned to give the (or so I thought) necessary paperwork to obtain a New York state driver's license.

Thanks to my recent marriage and concommitant name change, I was sent on a paper chase that, I was told, would not only require me to get a brand new passport and social security card (both of which can be done in Binghamton), I would also have to deal with Los Angeles County to obtain a certified copy of my birth and marriage certificates!

Here is the kicker- it took me a grand total of - are you ready?- FORTY MINUTES (start to finish, including driving time, no appointments) to visit and complete my business at the DMV, Social Security, and passport folks (post office).

The best one, by far, was the social security office. In Los Angeles, I had been dreading and postponing getting a name change because the office is located in MacArthur Park (which is virtually 100% Latino, mostly brand new and very poor immigrants of varying degrees of legal status). If you've ever driven by, you know that there is literally a line, two blocks long, at all times. When I went to the Binghamton SS office, it took me- ready?- eight minutes from the time I walked in the door, took a number, showed my documents, and walked out with the new paperwork. Eight minutes. Oh, plus the 2 minutes it took me to drive there AND park (across the street at a meter that cost $0.25/hour.) AND the guy was really nice to me.

I'm starting to get very spoiled by the quality of life here. It would have taken me days to accomplish in L.A. what I did in 40 minutes here. Now, let's see how I fare with the ol' Los Angeles County Office of Records for the birth and marriage certificate. This part should be fun . . .

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