Or. . .I mean. . . not. Today was the day we got to spend the day at the Driver’s License Office. And when I say “spent the day”, I literally meant SPENT THE DAY.
Let me explain the process for you.
The window opens at 8:45am. We were told to be in line by 8:30 at the absolute latest if we wanted a chance to finish everything in one day, but we our best bet was to line up at 7:30. *By the way, everything isn’t actually everything* So we arrived a little after 7:30 to find there were only 10 people or so there. . . .ok. Not the mob scene I was anticipating.
Everyone was sitting around, calmly on benches, not lined up. At 8:35 people lined up for the window. It was calm, organized and lovely. No one fought over their spot in line, or cut ahead. There was no brawling, or yelling, or really even much talking. Again, at this point I wasn’t sure why we had to be there SO EARLY.
But then. THEN I learned. ONE person opened a window and helped person number 1. (We were 7 and 8).
Here is what you do:
First, you show the guy at the window all your paperwork. He very carefully looksit over, including busting out a calculator to make sure you’ve been in the country for 90 days, and ask you a bunch of questions to make sure you’re qualified to take the test.
Once he decides you can take the test, you get a form. You take the form to a different window and buy some endorsement stamps for it.
Then, you take the form back to the first guy who looks over the now stamped form and he adds more info to it and then he stamps it.
Next you go to a different window to have them show you how to fill out the form you’ve been given, where they ask you more asinine questions. “Have you ever had alcohol in your system for more than three days at a time?” UH. No. Seriously, that’s a hell of a bender.
After your form is filled out (AND DO NOT MAKE AN “X” IT HAS TO BE A CHECK MARK!) you are given permission to take the vision test.
So you go to the vision test window. And take a vision test. And if you pass that, you are given a number so you can sit the exam.
NOW! NOW you are qualified to take the written exam! However, they only offer the test twice a day. Once at 10:30a and once at 1:30pm.
So remember how we were number 7 and 8? Only 1-4 made it into the first group for the test. Because it literally takes OVER 20 minutes for the guy to look at your paperwork. And that was just step one out of 6 that you need completed before you can take the exam. You have to get all the way through the form you cannot make an “X” on in one day or you have to start all over the next day. You cannot show up with your documents checked and start in the middle of the process. OH. And *everything* in the building shuts down from 12:00-12:45 for lunch.
We ate at a little Indian cafe once we completed our vision and were told we could take the test. Of course, by this point it was 11:45, so we had clearly missed the first test and had to wait until 1:30 to take the next test. Which literally lasts 10 minutes and is 10 questions long (Nathaniel and I both scored 100%!)
When you complete the test, the computer spits out a date that you can take your driving test. Our date was set for September 29. SEPTEMBER. TWENTY-NINTH. If that date doesn’t work for you, you can go to ANOTHER FRICKEN WINDOW and ask to change the date. Because Nathaniel’s Michigan license expires in November and it is common for people to fail their practical exam the first (or second or third) time, we got to go to the other window and ask for an earlier date. Which they didn’t have. So there’s that.
So, September 29 we get to drive the course and hopefully pass. However, we were told by our interpreter that they likely won’t pass both of us on the same day. Which seems really arbitrary and unfair. I do not want to fail because I want to prove to Nathaniel that I’m a good driver, but I also want him to pass because he has to because if he fails by the time he gets another date it’ll be too late. THIS IS SUCH AN INSANE PROCESS.
So, let’s review:
I had to get up at an ungodly hour
To spend 6.5 hours doing paperwork etc.
So that in SIX WEEKS I can take a test that I will most likely fail on principle.