Last August I received a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that my Driver's License would expire on my birthday this year. My birthday was more than two months away; so I put the letter aside and forgot about it until early October.
The last time I was at the DMV was to pick up my Pet Lover's License Plate. That was on June 21st and I had an appointment for 2:15 pm. I got there early and there was a short line for appointments. The woman checking in the appointment's line said she wouldn't open until 2 pm. People on the other line with no appointments were all going through while those of us with appointments waited another 20 minutes.
I figured there was no advantage to having an appointment, so this time I didn't bother with making one. Besides the soonest I could get one was October 27th, which is two weeks after my birthday. So I drove down to the DMV in Pleasanton around 2:30 pm on October 7th. My birthday was coming up on October 11th (procrastinate much?).
This time the appointment line was moving and the no-appointment line had stopped. I was about 5th in the line which kept growing behind me. A Supervisor told the person checking in the no-appointment line to check in those waiting for appointments first. So if anyone was waiting for an appointment, they were taken ahead of the no-appointments even if they just walked in.
I waited about 20 minutes on the no-appointment line before the appointment line emptied out. I was checked in at 3 pm. I waited another 40 minutes and finally went to the line to renew my license. I got all of the paperwork and passed the eye test with my new glasses and went to Window 11 to take the quiz. I practiced on a couple of quizzes on the DMV website the night before, so I felt prepared.
The Pleasanton DMV now has touch screen testing. "While using the TouchScreen monitor, customers are guided through the testing process and given immediate feedback if a question is answered incorrectly." We are allowed to miss only three questions out of ten, and I missed four. The new quiz questions are more difficult than they were five years ago, which was the last time I took the quiz.
The woman at Window 11 was very sympathetic. She gave me a copy of the DMV booklet to study and told me I could retake it two more times. I sat down and read through the booklet and went back to Window 11 to retake the quiz, but it was 4:30 pm. The DMV lady said I would have to come back the next day to retake the quiz.
I was scheduled to teach two online workshops for University of Phoenix on Wednesday. I also planned to attend Assembly Woman Joan Buchanan's presentation on Water Woes at the Library Wednesday night. I was starting to feel stressed out, but there was more stress to come.
When I started my Focus to leave the DMV I got a message that one of my tires was flat. Oh great, that's all I need now. I was also getting messages that I needed an oil change, so I drove the car straight to Ray's Auto in Dublin before they closed at 5. The mechanic checked the tires and pumped them up a little. He said they were a little low but not flat, but the flat tire message did not go away.
I drove home and took two more practice tests on the DMV website. I printed out the answer sheets from all of the practice quizzes and prepared to get up early (for me) to get back to the DMV in the morning. I didn't really want to go back to the DMV again but I had only two more chances to pass the "quiz" before my birthday on Saturday.
End of Part I. See Part II for what happened next.