DMV Madness on a Monday

DMV Driving Miss Daisy
Quinn and me. Only he’s not black. Or old. And I’m not old. At least not THAT old.

On Monday my 15-year-old son and I headed to the DMV in Heber for the SECOND time. The kid wants his driving permit, and frankly I’m ready to have him cart me around like Cinderella in a pumpkin carriage. Once my 18-year-old went off to college I lost not only my chauffer, but also my designated driver. And now I have to wait a WHOLE year before Kid #2 has a full-fledged driver’s license where he can operate a car by himself. Which means I’m back to being the sole driver of Mom’s Taxi Service. Oh well. At least with his permit he can take the wheel if I get one of those moments when I’m feeling like Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.

I know this implies that my son flunked his first attempt at getting his permit, because otherwise why would we go back to the DMV for a repeat performance? I mean, who in their right mind does that?

Ah, but he didn’t flunk. In fact, he didn’t even take the test. Apparently, the DMV does not give driving tests after 4:00 p.m., even though they’re open until 5:00 p.m. They also don’t accept phone calls at the Heber DMV, therefore you cannot find out in advance things like the hours of which they give driving tests. Nor does the DMV list this little factoid, or anything else helpful, on their website. All it says is that they’re open until 5:00 p.m.

So scratch his first attempt at getting his permit.

DMV Adventures Part 2

Fast forward to this past Monday. This time we headed to Heber at 2:30 in the afternoon. For those of you not well versed in the geography of Utah’s Summit County (in which Park City resides), Heber is a about 17 miles away and the DMV takes about 25 minutes to get to. Unfortunately, Heber is home to our closest driver’s license testing center. We have a DMV in Park City, but you can only register your car there, which is useless when you have to get (or renew) your license. So the fact that I had head to Heber yet again, for the same reason, was a little annoying, but whatevever. I’m nothing if not accommodating (just don’t confirm that with my kids).

This time we pull up to the Heber DMV, and the first thing I see is a handwritten sign taped to the front door that says:

“Computer is down. We don’t know for how long. No driving tests will be given until the computer comes back up.”

DMV driver permit test
The good old days. Can’t they at least use paper tests as a back-up?

OMG, you have to be friggin’ kidding me! I storm in and march right up to the check-in desk. A bored woman who resembles Mrs. “Hew-wiggins” from the old Carol Burnett Show of the 1970’s sits at a computer, looks at me with dead eyes and asks, “Checking in?”

“Um, yeah,” I stutter hesitantly. “My son wants to take his permit test.”

“Name?” she asks robotically?

I go through the whole litany of name, address, birthday, passport or birth certificate, blah, blah, blah, while she taps the keyboard. Glancing around I see a lot of sad people who look like they’re waiting for the boat in Purgatory, so in other words…business as usual at the DMV. My blood pressure goes down, and I think, “Oh good lord, they ARE open. They just forgot to take the sign off the door.”

Turns Out I Was Too Logical

At the end of my five-minute exchange with Mrs. Hew-wiggins she says, “Have a seat, we’ll call you.”

“How long do you think it will be?” I ask eagerly. I can’t believe we’re actually getting this done.

“I don’t know,” she says as she unwraps a fun size Butterfinger and pops it into her mouth. “Could be till tomorrow. Our computer is down.”

WTF? “Are you serious? Then why did you take down all that info?”

“So that you’re in the system when we’re back online.”

“But it could be down for the rest of the day.”


Back UP my blood pressure shoots.

DMV Dairy Keen
And you thought I was kidding with that name…

“Okay,” I take a deep breath so I can maintain. “My son and I are going to get something to eat. We’ll check back before 4:00.”

“We’re open till 5.”

“I thought you didn’t give tests after 4.”

“We don’t. But we’re open till 5.”

I leave, proud in the fact that I didn’t let rip a string of profanity that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush.

Quinn and I go to Dairy Keen (not “Queen” but “Keen” because it’s Heber), where I pound down a large order of fries I don’t need and Quinn has a chocolate shake. After that we return to the DMV.

“Name?” says Mrs. Hew-wiggins.

“Don’t even start with me. Is your computer still down?”

“Yes. But we’re open till 5.”

Back to Park City we go. Quinn with no permit, and me mumbling colorful phrases like a filibustering congressman plagued with Turrettes. During which I actually make up new cuss words by combing the syllables of existing dirty words. It’s a talent, really. And I’d love to give you examples, but a lot of my kids’ friends read this blog.

So NEXT Monday we will head to the DMV in Heber for a third time. To be proactive, I’m taking a box of chocolates with me as a peace offering, just in case for some reason my kid cannot take his test yet again. Because if that happens, I’m pretty sure some messy, cataclysmic event will occur that involves the top of my head exploding and some language that could actually melt unsuspecting ears. In which case, I’m just praying it can all be rectified with an 16-oz. Whitman’s Sampler.

Stay tuned.


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Stacy Dymalski is an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage. For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in bookstores and on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.