Citizen…

It took two months to get the widgets lined up and a particularly bruising two hour visit to the Motor Vehicle Administration, but I’m pleased to announce that as of two days ago, I am now officially licensed and registered in the State of Maryland. Add that to the recent income tax deduction from my pay and it seems that I’m a citizen again and not just a resident alien. I sincerely hope that this brings to a close the saga of moving home from Tennessee. After this experience it’s safe to say that I have no intention of going anywhere ever again. Well, technically, I think that means I’ll be leaving my stuff here. I still have a little too much of the old wanderlust to stay put completely. But as far as a home base goes, it’s me and Maryland till the wheels come off.

4 hours…

I took four hours off tomorrow afternoon. Normally that’s good enough reason for celebration, but in this case it’s time dedicated to hanging out with the fine men and women of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Come on… The filling out forms. The taking bad pictures. The standing in line. The standing in another line. The filling out more forms. And finally forking over a fistful of cash. That sounds like some real kicks on a Friday afternoon, right? If this goes as smoothly as everything else involved with this move, it should be finished with everything sometime next Tuesday. With the stack of paperwork I’m taking with me, I think I have all the bases covered… Which practically guarantees things will go horribly wrong in a new and interesting variety of ways.

Safer…

As part of the mind-numbing process of restoring my status as a citizen of the great State of Maryland, my one year old truck was subjected to a vigorous “safety inspection.” I can’t be the only person that things this is probably overkill for a truck that rolled off the assembly line less than 12 months ago, right? But still, a “senior tech” poked prodded, scanned, and test drove my ride to make sure it was fit for service on the roads. Personally, I assumed that as long as it could roll through the toll booth, Maryland would welcome it. Apparently that was wildly optimistic. Although everything was in good working order, it seems my front window tint offended the sensibilities of the fine men and women of the Maryland General Assembly and in order to pass inspection had to be removed. Fine. Done. Give me my certificate of inspection and I’ll be on the way… and $139.00 lighter in the wallet. That and the $50 bucks its going to cost me to get the tint reapplied. I know I certainly feel safer.

So now, we’re on to the last step in the process. That would be waiting on MVA to let me know they’ve received my titled from Toyota, so I can drive over there, hand over 73 different forms of ID, give them more money to send a title back to Toyota, and walk away with a newly minted license that says I live where I live. If this process wasn’t intentionally designed to be a giant pain in the ass, there is a room full of bureaucrats somewhere in Glen Burnie who have missed their calling.

Licensed and Registered…

After the two hour ordeal that was my second trip to the local driver’s license issue facility, I’m now all nice and official like and in compliance with all applicable state and local laws. God willing, I should now be able to have the bare minimum contact with these lovely government officials for three years… That should be sufficient to recover from the indignity of it all.

I have a dear friend who is fond of pointing out that in a democracy, the people are sovereign. If what I have seen over the last two days is a true cross section of the people, the Republic is doomed. May God have mercy on our souls.

Newfangled technology…

After extensive deliberation, some would even say argument, with the Tennessee Department of Safety Driver’s License facility, I learned this morning that for purposes of residence verification, electronic bank statements do not meet the official definition of “bank statements.” Just as a point of clarification, it’s not as though I put my statement on a CD and took it to them. I printed the statement to show that I was, in fact, domiciled in the state. Apparently once it is actually printed out, my e-statement became defined as a “photocopy.” Who knew?

The whole idea behind getting electronic statements is so that you only need to print them when and if they are needed. It saves me filing space, it saves the bank postage, and even the environment wins, right? Looking at the fine examples of state employees running the desk at the facility, I didn’t particularly feel like getting into an argument over the finer points of what, by definition, constitutes a bank statement. It wasn’t a crowd that look to be up for a debate of the finer points of… well… anything, really. Sometimes you just need to know when you’ve made a bad investment and cut your losses. Today, the better part of valor was to roll my eyes, sigh heavily, and walk away muttering something about being surrounded by idiots.

This is 2007, folks. We landed a damned man on the moon almost forty years ago. We’ve had home computers for 25 years. Email has been around for about 15. I’ve been getting electronic statements for virtually everything for at least five years. Can someone tell me why I can’t just walk up to some kind of biometric scanner, swipe my USA Identacard, scan my eyball, and have my information validated? It boggles my mind that we still insist on making these transactions on paper. Completely inefficient and bloody inconvenient. We’ll never have to worry about the Brave New World because the bleeding government will never figure out how to use the machines properly in the first place.

Bloody Hell. I really am surrounded by idiots… Present company excepted, of course.