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Hell Hath No Fury Like The DMV

Having spent yesterday trying to get my car registered and me licensed in Virginia, I actually missed the bloated inefficiency of the federal government. There is something refreshing about interacting with a level of government that is inefficient due to its own ineptness that really draws attention to the fact that the fed is at least inefficient due to size and waste.

In my life I have come to savor the subtle distinctions of poor government service the way wine and cigar connoisseurs appreciate the variations of flavor in a nice pinot noir or hand rolled stogie. It lifts the spirit to see a bureaucracy running at top speed – doggedly enforcing rules that you know they can’t possibly agree with.

In my case, that took the form of a requirement to show two forms of ID and a proof of residency. Who knew that the gas company (Dominion) doesn’t actually put your name on your bill? Show up with that one in hand and it’s a round trip back home for another bill. It’s also fascinating, given our mobile culture, that a cellular phone bill is also unacceptable. Yet another round trip to the house.

By the time I found a bill they would accept, I had moved a large chunk of my personal financial records into the DMV lobby.

All of this made me ponder the inevitable question, “What would I have done if all my bills were sent to a PO Box?” If I wanted to consolidate my bills in one place, and wanted to keep my residential address more or less private (who knows, maybe I am afraid of identity theft), it would be nearly impossible to get my license in Virginia.

What should have been two fairly simple processes – titling/registering my car and getting my license – turned into a four hour trial by fire that would have made Job weep. God bless America and our warm embrace of inadequate government solutions.

Written by Michael Turk