Why, why, why is going to do anything at or with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) a dreaded, intimidating and miserable experience?  Just thinking about it gets my palms sweating and my heart racing.  No diva should be forced to cope with the indignities of the DMV.   

As I write this I am sitting at an undisclosed (for fear of retribution) DMV location in Virginia. It is early morning and there are 200 people, in lines, sitting in chairs, checking the paper number clutched in their hand or standing at a counter with a clerk. We all know that they stand before one of the most powerful people they have the misfortune to come across in their daily lives.  Two beefy guards with guns stand at attention eyeing the crowd suspiciously for the first sign that one of the sheeples has begun to crack under the pressure of suspenseful long waits and certain rejection.  It just might be me, so I’m attempting to look cool, calm and relaxed while writing this blog to cover the anxiety and steam building inside. 

I’m here today because I just sold one of my cars (well maybe, depending on the outcome of today). Unfortunately, a clerk in the office that Titles cars in Richmond entered the wrong mileage on the car Title when it was paid it off.  The mileage should have been 38,000 and not the 190,000 someone typed in error.   

When I stood in the first DMV line to get my –here’s your number, go over there and sit down and wait to be called when it’s your turn instructions – the “welcome” clerk said “Oh Honey, you’re not going to get this fixed here, you’re going to have to go to Richmond and have them pull the microfilm, good luck!”  That is not a good sign if you ask me.

 Most people are not aware or are loath to admit that the most powerful person we cross in our daily lives is a governmental or county clerk.  This is the individual who knows the rules and can wield them like the judges gavel, BLAM!  Oops, I ust peeked up over my laptop and I see a clerk eyeing me right now, she’s smug and thinking she hopes she gets my number.  Stay calm, give a friendly smile; I’m doomed I tell you, I’m doomed! 

Oh my gawd, I’ve been here an hour and I’m finally at the counter.  I’ve explained my problem and we now have three clerks huddled, clucking and head bobbing negatively.  My Clerk is dispatched to a Back Office.  I have no idea who or what is in the Back Office and I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know.  One of the advisory clerks keeps saying I need to go back to the bank where the car was paid off and the registration information was submitted to Richmond, even though they admit it is obviously a DMV mistake. Of course, yesterdays call to the banks clerk was the expected “not our problem, you have to go to the DMV.”  

As expected, things have now gone down hill! The Clerk has returned with the Super Clerk, the one that holds Clerk Super Powers!  She sees my laptop open on the counter top and immediately stakes her claim to her superiority over me and my assigned clerk.  “That laptop is not acceptable here, put it away!”  I sheepishly asked, “May I have save what I was working on!” 

 We all know by now that whenever The Super Clerk appears on scene you know that the news is NOT good!  She tells me that The Title is the “official” document and whether or not the information is true or correct “The Title” will supersede facts in evidence.  See, when you talk like that you know you’ve lost.   

Super Clerk, tells me that it would take 2-hours (I’m not sure what that is in government time) to research what the actual mileage submission was.  I should not be optimistic that the problem can be resolved, but if a DMV clerk made the mistake they would correct it and if the bank made the mistake we need lawyers, affidavits, a few sworn oaths and probably a drop of blood or two…..to be continued   

Cynthia de Lorenzi

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