Thursday, December 21, 2006

My beef with the DMV

When I moved to New York (eleven years ago) I did not apply for a New York drivers license. For one thing, I had a valid Florida license (with a decent photo) that wasn't due to expire any time soon. For another, the only place I ever drove was in Florida, when I was back visiting family or friends. I have been known to have a lead foot on occasion and I thought to myself: I do not want to be stopped by the Florida Highway Patrol for speeding with a New York Drivers license.

Time passed and this arrangement seemed to work nicely. Then it was time to renew. Decisions, decisions. I just happened to be in Florida visiting... so I renewed my Florida license. That one had an even better picture of me and was good for six years. The entire process, including high-tech eye test and photo session took half an hour.

Now I'm a nun, and I do drive on occasion in New York. In fact, I got a ticket last summer for double parking while I was helping one of our elderly sisters (with her walker) into the van. (Now who gives a ticket to a nun helping another nun into a car? Only in New York. But that's another story.)

Anyway, since my license was due to expire yet again, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get a valid New York license. You are supposed to do this within thirty days of moving to the state, but as I mentioned before... I had my reasons.

I visited our local DMV office with all my various documentation. (With tightened security, one must have a valid Social Security Card, a photo ID, a current license...I had all that.) and waited my turn to get my new license. I figured I would have to take a written test, and had already taken the online sample, but no test was required. The eye test consisted of me reading from a battered cardboard eye chart from a couple of feet away, one I could have memorized while standing at the desk waiting for the representative to punch keys on her computer.

Now here's the thing: my Florida license had a motorcycle endorsement. I wanted to keep it. (Okay so I'm a nun and I don't ride a motorcycle anymore, but I can, I might, and it's not easy to get something back if you let it lapse.)

I asked her three times to make sure that the motorcycle endorsement would be on my new license and had the card from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation proving I had passed the test. She assured me that any endorsement on my old license would transfer to my new one.

After four hours my number finally flashed and I was handed a piece of paper that said I would receive my New York license in a week to ten days. What I don't even get the license? Nope that's mailed from Albany. Huh? Okay... You do know what's coming, right?

The license arrived in the mail. No.motorcycle.endorsement. (to be continued...)


Anonymous said...

I think it's because the system has a thing about giving women the motorcycle endorsement - - a gender deal. I scratched and clawed my way to be eligible at 56 for the endorsement (at 56, coordinating hands, feet and mind is difficult!)
- and when I got my license - I only got a learner's permit. The system never registered that I had passed the test. But here in Oklahoma - I had a friend who was a tag agent - and it took her about 10 minutes to make a phone call and hand my license. There are benefits to living in a blue state!!!

Richard Lamb said...

What!!!!! Women (and a nun to boot)riding motorcycles. What next a woman PB

Claire Joy said...

Always good to have friends in high places... or certainly in the paperwork places :)

Anonymous said...

I just got a visual of you in the 2008 Nuns Having Fun calendar on a motorcycle. Priceless.