Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Broken Pointer

Well... these past few days have really been hot stuff. Just know that the end result is going to be about a $400 cell phone bill. And know that the state of Massachusetts should really have to pay that bill but they most certainly (and obviously) will not. I will announce right out of the gate here that I am at fault in the story I am about to tell... but the system I am dealing with is waaaaay more jacked up than I could ever possibly be myself.

So, I accidentally let my driver's license expire. Like ummmmm, 6 months ago or so. Yeah. Just realized that one about a week ago when a teller at the bank pointed it out to me. It was shocking news to say the least. I have accidentally been driving all over the country without a valid license for months. Brilliant. But not surprising if you know me.

I set to work right away to right the situation. I called the state of Massachusetts on Wednesday to see what I could do to get this fixed. After waiting on hold for 45 minutes I got a woman who informed me that "the national computer is down" but she could see that I had a "red flag" on my name in the state of Illinois. She said I had to wait and call back next Monday (meaning this past Monday) to find out what my "red flag" was all about. Is it just me or does "the national computer is down" sound like a really ridiculous made up lie? I mean... it's right up there with made up stuff like "The Legion of Doom." At this point I am actually convinced that the Massachusetts DMV may BE The Legion of Doom or at the very least they are an affiliate of it. And having to wait 5 days to find out what my red flag was? Sheer torture.

I waited the 5 days and called back on Monday. I was on hold again for 45 minutes (that seems to be a pretty standard wait time) and got a woman who said (guess what!) "The national computer is down.... you will have to call the state of Illinois yourself to see what the red flag is and try to get it fixed." So I called Illinois. I got some guy who sounded like James Earl Jones on crack yelling at me that I had never even had an Illinois driver's license in my whole life. Hmmmm.... I was born and raised there... and seem to recall several years of driving in The Land of Lincoln. Yes, several years of it. All the way from 1988 when I got my first license until I moved to Massachusetts in 2000. But apparently they had no record of this. On the "national computer." Mr. Angry DMV guy put me on hold for a really long time at this point and eventually came back yelling at me that his computer screen was coaching him to "DO NOT DISCUSS WITH DRIVER." He just kept repeated this over and over in a loud, robotic way. "DO NOT DISCUSS WITH DRIVER!!" And then he yelled "YOU HAVE A BROKEN POINTER!!! You MUST have the Boston DMV call us to handle this. We cannot discuss it with you!"

WTF? Let me just repeat that.... WTF???

So.... I called the Mass DMV again. This time I was allowed to enjoy being on hold for a full hour and a half. About every 20 seconds a recording plays on the line reminding me that my call is very important to them and that someone will be with me just as soon as they can! So very reassuring! When a woman finally answered my call I explained my situation and my apparently tragic, debilitating broken pointer to her. I explained that I was instructed to tell her that she must call the state of Illinois and discuss this with them to get it cleared up so I could renew my license. Guess what she told me? "The National Computer is Down." She then told me to call back the next day in the hopes that it would finally be back up and running.

People... The National Computer is Down. This may be your best chance to get away with any dirty business you have been toying around with. They don't seem to be able to look at any of our information. If you are looking to invade China, vacation in Cuba or drive backward down a steep grassy embankment just for kicks... The National Computer IS Down. It's pretty much always down from what I gather. I'm not sure what we are running on? Crotchety, old, dusty librarian types shuffling our files around in the deep, dank basement of The Legion of Doom? I am out here hobbled by my "broken pointer" and no one cares or seems to be able to help me. Of course... I am required by state law to have a license to drive... the state has tagged me with a "red flag" and a "broken pointer" but they sure can't be troubled to do anything beyond that. They certainly can't tell me what any of this actually means. Or what I can do about it to fix it. They can parade of bunch of angry morons past me over the phone and run my cell phone bill up to the moon though.

We did find one other guy ranting on the web about his similar situation. He went back and forth with it for a full month until he found out his broken pointer was a parking ticket from 1988. He later found out that he had actually PAID that parking ticket IN 1988. From what I read he was still trying to get it cleared up with no luck. The thing that struck me the most in his tale was that he too was told repeatedly that The National Computer Was Down. This must be some sort of secret DMV worker code for "Don't help this person! DO NOT DISCUSS WITH DRIVER!!! Tell them ANYTHING but whatever you do DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE!" Anyway... reading this guys story eased my pain a bit in that I am not alone.

Hopeless. Hopeless. Hopeless. Billy is now my official chauffeur. He has to do all the driving. I am going to go to the New Mexico DMV when we get there and see if I can deal with this in person and get a new license there since it's where we plan to hang our hats for Spring, Summer and Fall. Wish me luck. Lots of it.


Michelle said...

you are such a law breaker...Operating a vehicle after license expires (CGS § 14-41)
• Within 60 days of expiration: Infraction with $ 75 fine

• After 60 days: same penalties described above for operating without a license

Operating vehicle after being refused a license or with suspended or revoked license or right to operate
(CGS §§ 14-215(a), (b), and 14-111(b), PA 05-215, §§ 2, 4)

1st Offense:
• Up to 90 days in prison

• $ 150 to $ 200 fine

• License suspended at least one year

Athena said...

You're going to try to deal with your problem in New Mexico? Oh you poor baby. The State computers here run on kerosene and bat guano. I'd say better off to be a scofflaw and just drive nice and hope you don't get caught. Dealing with MVDs in any state is to enter one of the outer rings of purgatory.

Bethany said...

Michelle... Yes, thank you for the dirty details. So much for any fleeting thoughts I may have had about just driving here and there anyway.

Athena... I am hoping that the bat guano will be on my side. Maybe they won't even find my red flagged broken arrow or whatever it is in NM. Maybe if I smell like green chile enchilada sauce when I go in they will take pity on me and extend a kind hand in my direction.

Desperate Middle Aged Man said...

I tried to leave a comment the other day but I was fuming so much at the bureacracy involved that I couldn't get through the word verification.

But, when they talk about a red flag, and a broken pointer, are they really a red flag (fluttering about your head) and a broken pointer (hanging limply from your hand)? I'm guessing not

Bethany said...

DMAM... Before this ordeal is over there may be more broken digits than that. And the rivers of New Mexico may be flowing with blood.

Groover said...

Sounds like straight out of a novel from Kafka. Read "The Castle". Or even better "The Trial".