connect!

we interrupt this honeymoon...



...with a trip to the DMV.

Yes, that's right. While soaking up the sun, cruising down the boulevards in our bitchin' Hyundai Accent, and Aurélien relishing in his very first star sighting*, we had to stop at the Hollywood DMV.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter may know, I recently tried to reinstate my New York driver's license only to learn, that because I had let it expire for more than two years I would have to take my road and written test all over again, as well as reapply for a learner's permit. Kicking myself for being so negligent to such an important document, I took a deep breath and called up the driving school located near my mother's house to schedule my driving lessons before the honeymoon. When explaining my situation via a Skype phone call from Paris to the driving school's operator, my request was met with an evil laugh.

I really hate when that happens.

The man who went by the name Tony, explained that classes were booked up until September because August is their busiest seasons to conduct driving tests. Being old and out of touch now, I was confused. Why would August be so busy, especially with "everyone" being on vacation? I really have been in Paris too long. Just because Paris is a ghost town, it doesn't mean the rest of the world is on vacation. Tony explained that I was competing with high school seniors trying to get their licenses before the school year starts in September and that classes have been booked for months now.

Great.

I had accepted the fact that I would not be driving in California and brushed up on my directive skills in French, as I would be the annoying passenger seat driver during our trip. I wasn't thrilled about the arrangement but there was nothing more we could do; it was the consequence for letting my New York license expire.

After Aurélien almost got us into a fatal accident on Sunset on our first day as he slammed on the breaks thinking it was the clutch, we needed a Plan B. Fast. And then I realized something....my California license may not be expired. I didn't have a recent copy of it because my wallet had been stolen a few years back and never ordered a duplicate because I wasn't physically in the state.

Now being in California, it was worth checking out even if my request got denied...so we interrupted honeymoon bliss for a trip to the Hollywood DMV.

We arrived at what we thought was bright and early at 10 am. (Again, insert evil laugh) At the counter, I explained why I was there and before I could even finish my "story", an application was slammed down before me and was shooed off to the nearby counter to fill it out. 

Moments later, I arrived back at the same window -- still bushy-tailed and happy that I was getting so much attention immediately -- and handed in my application with a part of me hoping that they had a stock copy of my license in "the back", and we would be on our way to continue Los Angeles sight-seeing. 

While the woman was actually very helpful and friendly, she handed me a ticket and told me to wait until my number was called. My number was 220. In the waiting room of about a hundred other hopefuls who were all beautifully bored; processed blondes and redheads slicked on pout-enhancing lip gloss; guys with their bronzed muscles and sleeve tattoos taking stretch breaks before going back to their riveting game of Jewels Saga on their phones; locals engaging conversations about the CBS/Time Warner drama that seems to be all the talk in LA; the occasional pampered Hollywood dog trotted his way through the waiting room, we looked up at the electronic number display board to find that they were only at number 95.

If Aurélien was going to brush up his English (especially his numbers as they were being shouted out painfully every five minutes), a DMV in Los Angeles county was certainly the right place to be.

So I may have been in France too long but there was one scene that struck me as a little bizarre.

There were two applicants waiting with the rest of us; only this couple was not in the seats where we all were in, they were making themselves at home at the eye examination station. You know, the little black light box you have to lean into to recite the letters. At the station, one had his feet up on the table while his lady friend was leaning over in her snakeskin-printed pale blue yoga pants exposing her thong. They both were noshing on relish-drenched hotdogs from the vendor cleverly parked directly across the street from the building, while animatedly watching YouTube videos on their phones directly in front of a sign that read: NO CELL PHONES.

I think what intrigued me more than them using the eye station as their home for the afternoon, was the fact that they weren't asked by anyone to at least lower their voices. Once again, maybe I have been in France too long because that would certainly not fly over there. Living as a foreigner in a bureaucratic system that could deny my visa if I chew gum during my appointment or if I use the imparfait when it's clearly a passé composé moment, I guess I am hyper aware not to draw any attention to myself in these kinds of situations.

My shock quickly wore off, as the duo did managed to keep us all entertained with their loud commentary, allowing us also to enjoy their videos by extension. What else did any of us have to do? With my number thankfully called only three and a half hours later, we left with my temporary license in hand, claiming the keys to our badass rental car, we cruised down Hollywood boulevard to get a much-deserved, shaken cocktail at the legendary Frolic Room.

*Aurélien's first and only sighting later that day in Silver Lake was Beck! Both being pretty big fans, this was the perfect sighting. We both looked at each other with wide eyes, and when out of sight of this iconic musician, we did our happy shuffle. When recounting this jewel of a sighting to our 22 year old bartender that night at a local bar, she said, "Wait, I think I've heard of him. What's his song again?" 

I didn't think I could be more shocked than the hotdog folks at the DMV. Guess I was wrong...

19 comments:

  1. I don't think the wait at the DMV would ever be less than 3 hours. Sigh, i absolutely dislike getting anything that has a long process done especially at the DMV.

    I wish i could just go online and print out my license every time it needs to be renewed

    It seems like you guys are enjoying your honeymoon :) :)

    Glad that you keep us posted

    xoxo

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    1. Well in the DMV's defense, had I just made an appointment a few weeks earlier, we would have been in and out in under 30 minutes. We watched all of the folks who made appointments spend no longer than that, and I kicked myself for not thinking of it in advance. Oh well...at least there was A/C!

      I'm not sure where you're from exactly but most renewals can be done online where it will be sent to your home in a few days. I had to go in because it wasn't a renewal, it was a request for a duplicate. I guess they like to know what happened before issuing out another official document like a driver's license.

      The honeymoon was great! We're back in NY and are sorting through the photos as well as planning our trip back to Paris...which means, back to work. : (

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  2. Oh, the DMV...Everyone's favorite place. :) Well I am glad you are done with it. Have fun on your honeymoon!

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    1. Thanks Quyen! It was a cultural experience for Aurel and really do think he brushed up on his English!

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  3. Ahh, the romance of the DMV... So glad our licences are good until we're 70!

    Yay for an actual star sighting too, even if junior didn't appreciate it later ;o)

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    1. I love how you guys don't have to renew your licenses and your photos are the same ones from when you were 16!! Aurelien looks like a child (because he was one) in his photo! Too funny.

      Yes, we were pleased with our sighting. It really was a good one!

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  4. Even though I don't drive (well, technically, I can, but I hate it with a passion!), I dutifully renew my driver's license every two years so I never have to take that pesky driving test again! It's such a practical ID;) Mind you, I doubt that I'll ever drive again and if I do, that sure as hell won't be in the UK this fall!

    I'm glad you still have your California license!:)) Will you be getting one in France too?

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    1. Very smart. It's a good freedom to have, just in case. I definitely learned my lesson and will be renewing it every single time. I'm lucky that I didn't have to go back to driver's ed.

      I won't be getting one in France because I don't want to go to French driving school, also, I haven't driven stick in years and don't think Paris is the best place to get reacquainted with a manual car! I'm okay with not being behind the wheel there, with the metro being so efficient and all!

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  5. At the DMV ?! Ouch.. Herald sq memories...

    I bet that couple were actors. The DMV waiting area is perfect for that kinda' comedy practice. I saw something similar (they even told us they were actors when I probed) while waiting for furniture at Alinéa.

    Glad it worked out in the end!!

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    1. Hahahah, they probably were! Everyone is an actor of some sort in LA! Even though I was surprised that none of the officials asked them to lower their voices, I was kept highly entertained which shaved off about an hour of waiting time as they put on their little show!

      Thank you! I'm so grateful it worked out too! I really wasn't sure what was going to happen!

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  6. ps. I should renew my license (didn't realize!).. it's been a little over 2 yrs so I guess I'm late!! eek

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    1. Renew it!! At least try. Get someone on the phone, give them your license number and get the status, just to know. You may be surprised and it might not be expired. On sait jamais. Look at me, I didn't think I would be able to get my CA license back and I did. Call them! : )

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  7. Ugh sounds horrible! Glad getting my French license was actually pretty painless and that you didn't have to redo the test!

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    1. Wow, you have a French license! Congratulations! Did you have to go through French driving school? Or were you able to just do a switch-a-roo?

      None of the states that I have lived in qualify for the switch-out and in order to drive, I'd have to shell out 2k to take classes which pretty much means that I'll be taking public transport for entire French life! Probably better off...!

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    2. The old switcharoo :) Never actually got behind the wheel here yet though!

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  8. The 22 year old bartender makes me feel old. I don't like that.

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    1. Sara...you should have SEEN my face when she asked me who Beck was and what his song was, as if he put out one record a few years ago. I wasn't expecting her response. I felt super old too...!

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  9. tehehe there's nothing worse than the DMV!!! 3 1/2 hours! yicks!!

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    1. It wasn't exactly ideal but now I don't have to redo driver's ed!! Woo hoo!!

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