DMV, How I Dislike Thee

Things I learned at the DMV today:

I have the same phone as an 11 year-old girl.

They don’t give two shits.

I wanted a new driver’s license. We’ve moved and when writing my new address on the back in Sharpie it smudged. And my name isn’t quite right. My passport, my water bill, Audrey and I headed to the DMV. I took ticket #255. We’re on #239. Okay. I can breathe through this.

I get my turn and begin to explain to the worker that legally, as one can see in my US issued, valid passport my name is (let’s pretend because my maiden name is crazy uncommon) Catherine Louise Smith Williams. My maiden name is Smith. My married name is Williams. It’s not hyphenated. It’s not two last names. Actually, it’s two middle names. The IRS likes to call me Catherine L. Williams. My payroll calls me Catherine L. S. Williams. I commonly go by Catherine Williams. My driver’s license says Catherine L. Smith Williams. And herein lies the problem. Seven years ago after getting married I still had a tie to my maiden name, Smith, and wanted it reflected on my driver’s license. At the time, at that office, rather than making my entire middle name show up on my license (there’s plenty of physical space) someone chose to put my maiden name (my legal middle name) in the last name field to get it to display.

Now? I don’t care so much about my maiden name. I care more that my voter registration is incorrect. My county pulls its records from the DMV. The DMV says my last name is Smith Williams. It is not. Nor has it ever been.

Worker tells me I need a certified document stating that my last name is Smith and not Smith Williams like in her system. I point to my US issued, valid passport. No, she needs something else. I ask what could that be? My birth certificate surely doesn’t have my married name. My social security card looks exactly like my passport. And my marriage license doesn’t have my married name because in Alabama you sign the license at application time and therefore sign with your current legal name. So, my marriage license says Catherine Louise Smith.

To which she replies, “I cannot help you if you’re going to get upset.”

And I said, “You cannot help me because you’re not interested in helping me.”

And we left.

In hindsight, I’m sure she has lots of 9/11 rules governing her life. But my name change on my passport was post-9/11 and they managed to muddle through somehow.

Now I am bound & determined to get a new license. What forms, other than my US issued, valid passport should I take? According to their site, a passport is a stand-alone document and proves identity, name, age and lawful presence.

… and some time passed …

egads! Now I worry that I’m not really a Williams at all. What if I did the marriage certificate wrong? And only convinced the guy at the social security admin that I could change my name because he had never seen an AL marriage license before?

9 smart people left their mark:

  1. melissaz, 28. July 2008, 8:41

    I totally sympathize with the name thing. I also have two middle names. Not hyphenated. And every few years, this causes trouble at the IRS when I file my taxes. Because someone will put it in as hyphenated. So frustrating.

    And I also hate it when kids have the same toys I do. Grr…:)

    melissazs last blog post..One Hundred Word Challenge, II

  2. Leslie, 28. July 2008, 9:08

    I know how you feel! When I moved and tried to get a license in my new state, they tried to tell me my marriage certificate wasn’t valid (because she hadn’t “seen one like this before”) and they couldn’t list my married name. I even called the clerk of courts in the county where I was married who assured them that the marriage certificate was valid – that’s how the marriage certificates in that state are made – but it made no difference. I ended up going to a different branch office of the DMV and they gave my license with my married name, no problem.

    Ugh. The DMV.

    I hope you get it worked out.

  3. Pamela, 28. July 2008, 12:43

    This is the kind of crap that makes my head spin around and fire pour from my mouth. I can’t even start to get started on this. My blood pressure is high just from reading.

    And your phone is fab. Of course a kid has it, because probably she is a whiney little so-and-so, and she guilted her stupid parents into purchasing it for her, and so shame on them.

    You, on the other hand, are an adult, and make wise, measured decisions. And purchases. There must be pink, so pink it is.

    Yours was an educated decision. Hers was a spoiled rotten mistake. Obviously.

    Pamelas last blog post..happy birthday, wee man!

  4. Lynn, 28. July 2008, 16:20

    OMG! I TOO was at the DMV today, no kids though, thank goodness. With the line pouring out the door, I started to foam at the mouth when the application asked me the sales tax of my 2002 Ford Explorer, the one I bought in Colorado. That was 6 years ago and I just moved from Texas! I called Nathan at home, he was unable to help.

    So I left the DMV as well because I didn’t want to blow up at the poor people there and have them say the same thing to me.

    Let’s talk next week after we revisit??!!

    Lynns last blog post..

  5. CathyC, 29. July 2008, 7:24

    This is what I don’t get: a US passport should trump all other documents. Right? I mean, it is probably how the FBI or CIA (hey, I watch TV) would track you down like a dog (had to put that in) if you left the country. Well, your passport AND your 11 year old girl pink phone ;)

    CathyCs last blog post..Random things

  6. Amy W, 29. July 2008, 14:17

    Holy Crap, we have the same middle name.

    Amy Ws last blog post..I Don’t Like Traffic Lights…

  7. Joy, 29. July 2008, 18:13

    Brought to you by the people who only know to follow the “rules” (whatever they are) and NOT THINK! Arrrggghhh! So annoying! My friend here can’t get the DMV to give him a replacement license because he can’t show that he has insurance because he has no car to insure. When he points that out, they don’t get it. It’s baffling. Now, of course, the car people would never give him insurance without a license so it’s a chicken/egg thing at this point. My advice was to go to a different DMV and see what they say.

    BTW, no photo problems here – I just hear this idea that people don’t need to bother printing, which I think relegates us to the slide era-but almost worse because we take way more digi photos than anyone ever took slides AND slides are pretty destruction proof, compared to digi media, at least. Hopefully, that made sense…

    Joys last blog post..Another Public Service Announcement…

  8. Kelly O, 1. August 2008, 10:54

    I did the same thing, with two middle names then married name, and at my DMV they just asked “Is this two middle names or two last names?” How hard is that? UGH. That person is making my head explode. … Poor dear, I bet she really hates her job. Does anyone ever leave the DMV thinking that the civil servants who work there are decent, hard-working, reasonable people?

    Kelly Os last blog post..What is "pink asparagus" a euphamism for?

  9. Pink Asparagus » DMV Again, Maybe (Pingback), 20. August 2008, 12:34

    [...] fixin to get ready to go back to the DMV. Which is to say, I’m considering the possibility. In my arsenal I [...]