Monday, August 01, 2011

Delaware DMV

Awaiting my turn at the DMV. My excitement is almost palpable. 

Well, that wasn't too painful.  I was dreading our visit to the Delaware DMV this morning to get our driver's license renewed.  Bill was so worried, that we woke up at 2 am this morning and couldn't get to sleep.

I had gathered all the necessary items to prove we are who we are.  This is just another example of "the terrorists have won."  We, the law abiding public now has to jump throw multiple hoops to conduct what in the past was routine business.  I half expect in the future we will have to be remove our shoes and be groped patted down before we enter a grocery store to do our weekly food shopping.  This isn't as absurd as it sounds.  Think of it, all it will take is one idiot Shoe Bomber like Richard Reed to figure out that planting a bomb at a super market will so totally freak out our local, state and federal governments that they will institute these new Security Theater rules.  Nothing but NOTHING surprises me any more, especially the idiocy of our Homeland Security which is an oxymoron if there ever was one.  But I digress.

Bill arriving at the DMV

The items we had to have with us this morning to get our driver's license renewed was:
  • Our old driver's license
  • Original Social Security Card (how many people have that item?)
  • Copy of original birth certificate (not a hospital certification of birth)
  • Two pieces of mail addressed to your current home address to prove that is your address
The notice from the DMV was told this was to make the "process more efficient."  Yeah, white is black and two and two equal five.  What is it with the government these days, do they subscribe to all the Republican talking points and lies?  Do they think everyone is THAT STUPID?  Well, that is debatable.  Look at how many people watch Fox News.  But again, I digress.

With trepidation we head on down to Georgetown and the DMV.  Of course we took the long way there as we do every time.  Don't ask.  We're two old men who get all screwed up an any change in our routine.  

Bill drives into the parking lot...the wrong way...again.  He backs up and goes the way the arrows are pointing.  Not a good start.  For some reason he always goes in the wrong way.  That's Bill, his whole life going upstream when every on else is going with the flow downstream.

We head on in to the modernistic DMV building at about 9:30 am.  We take our number.  We are told we can have one number for both of us.  Cool!  Is this a benefit of the new domestic partner bill that was recently passed in Delaware?  Maybe not.  Maybe this is just for efficiency.  And efficiency is what we experienced during our very short stay.  I was impressed!  

The DMV stations - you go up when your number is called

We were only in our seat about ten minutes before our number was called (this isn't the first time my number has been called but that's another whole story).  We both go up to the next counter.  The young man warmly greets us.  A good sign.  He actually smiles.  I have my Proof of Existence in my traveling notebook case.  I open it up and take out all of Bill's vital papers and give it to the young man.

He spreads Bill's vitals out before him.  He looks like he knows what he's doing (another good sign).  After making a copy of Bill's birth certificate and recording the other information I supplied to him, he asks Bill to look in the viewfinder to the left of the desk.  Hey, what's this?  Slides?  Nah, it's to test Bill's eyes.  How cool is this?  We didn't have to go to another location to have an eye test.  

Bill looking in the viewfinder to get his eyes tested - see the blue background to Bill's right? That's where he stood to have his picture taken.  You literally did not have to take an extra step to have your picture taken.

Bill passes the eye test.  Then the young man asks Bill to back up (he didn't even have to take one step) and have his picture taken.  Wow!  Is this efficient or what.  No going to multiple stations to have these things done.  Delaware knows how to streamline.  I am SO IMPRESSED.

Then the young man prints out a paper and tells Bill to go around the corner to a room where his new driver's license will be given to him.  Bill disappears around the corner.  My turn now.  

I go through the same routine.  I pull out my birth certificate, Social Security card (looking at my signature at 13 years old I am amazed at how much my signature has changed), and two pieces of mail addressed to me at home that proves that I live there.  The young man goes through the same routine.  I pass the eye test with flying colors.  Then I back up and have my picture taken.  No smiles these days for driver's license, another piece of Security Theatre.  They want to be able to FaceScan.  When I don't smile for an identification picture I look like a deadbeat dad whose been caught with his pants down and owing $117,000 in back child support payments.  I do not take good pictures with my Serious Face.  I look every day of my 69 years and then some.  I take my best pictures with my big Smiley Face.  But that was not to be this morning.  Oh well, so I have a scary driver's license for the next five years.

Me Waiting for Godot my finished driver's license

I'm ushered off to the next room to await the final production of my driver's license.  I didn't have to wait too long.  Within ten minutes I hear "RONALD W. TIPTON!"  I respond with the butchest "That's me!" that I summon from my normally high, nasal, Philly accented voice this morning.  

I go to the window and the man on the other side of the pexiglass enclosure slides my driver's license under the winder.  What's with the pexiglass?  It's not like I'm making a withdrawal from the bank?  But then looking at the other characters waiting for their driver's license I can see why.  Methinks that sometimes the transactions in this room haven't always gone as smoothly as they are with me this morning.  The other three guys in the room waiting for their driver's license look like some prisoners I saw on "Lockup" this past weekend.  I swear they did.  I'm not trying to be funny here.  

I see Bill waiting for me around the corner.  I look at my new driver's license and as I suspected I look like a convict.  I ask Bill to show me his new driver's license.  He refuses.  HE WOULDN'T SHOW IT TO ME.  Oh well, I know how to get around that.  I know where he keeps his wallet when he goes to bed.

So we're outta there.  The whole process took about 25 minutes!  Can you believe it?  

Delaware is so cool in so many ways.  I remember back in the day when I used to go through the torture of getting my driver's license renewed in Pennsylvania.  It wasn't easy folks.  Pennsylvania's way was very inefficient.  The quickest I ever got my driver's license renewed in Pennsylvania was three and a half hours.  Yes folks, Pennsylvania is that inefficient and backwards.  And I wouldn't be surprised if it still is.

Pennsylvania has lovely rolling hills and beautiful scenery and nice people and a state government that is incompetent, corrupt and they just don't care about Joe Average Citizen. All they care about is increasing their salaries and pension payments and seeing how much money they can steal from the taxpayer. 

I am so glad I moved to Delaware.  My experience this morning was just another reason that proves I made
 the right decision when we moved here five years ago.  Oh sure I'll go back to Pennsylvania for occasional visits (brother, class reunions and family reunions) but I will have nothing more to do with their corrupt, inept, incompetent and tax happy government that never passed up a chance to increase taxes. 

I only have one more official transaction with Pennsylvania and that is when I am buried.  My grave site is at the Northwood Cemetery on a hill just above Downingtown (I'll have a beautiful view).  But then I won't care because I'l be dead.  


nitewrit said...


Well, that sounds a lot easier than my experience. It was not so efficient. If you have forgotten you can find it at

I am very glad I don't have to worry about it again for five years.


anne marie in philly said...

well, I have to renew my PA license this year. I can renew online! YAYZ! and it's $26 for 4 years. I just received a form letter in the snail mail stating these facts.

I can also renew my car registration online. YAYZ! that's $36 for a year.

and if I HAVE to go to the DMV, it's a half mile from my house. lucky me!

PS - my spouse says you don't look 69; 60, but not 69.

(heh heh heh, I said 69)

Ron said...

Anne Marie,
We renewed our driver's license for five years for only $25! In every way Delaware is better than Pennsylvania.

Ron said...


I'll go back and read your experience at the DMV. You probably had a more difficult time because you're in a more populated area. The local Sussex County government has always proved friendly with whatever dealings I've had with them. When I asked for a map once (sort of apologetically) the person said "Sure, we work for you the taxpayer." You'll never hear a statement like that from any local of state government official in Pennsylvania. NEVER.

Ur-spo said...

Take a deep breath! Everybody goes nuts at the DMV.
I think it could've been a lot worse.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,
Actually, we had a very good experience. The DMV was unbelievably efficient. One would hardly know it was a government agency.

nitewrit said...


A few years back, before you moved down here, the DMV was pretty bad. The people weren't people-friendly at all. Then there must have been a program put in to retrain the personnel on people-skills because there was a real turn around on being serviced with a smile, so to speak. It hasn't been near as much hassle in recent years when I've had to deal with them, but getting my license renewed last time was not at all efficient. I don't have a complaint about the behavior of the various clerks I had to deal with, though. They were all polite and friendly.

With the way things are anymore, I'm surprised some security person didn't haul you off for questioning about snapping all those photos.


Vương Tử Trực said...

Not fun at all! The eye testing station seems uncomfortable.
I hate doing papers.

Ron said...


Actually the process went much smoother than I thought it would. The eye testing apparatus wasn't too uncomfortable either. I too hate "doing papers." :(

Ron said...


The whole process went very smoothly yesterday. And by the way, the clerk behind the counter had no problem with me taking pictures. You've way too timid about taking pictures. The only time I had a problem was at the Wilmington VA when I was taking a FLIP video but then that's the U.S.Government and their Security Theater. Plus, maybe they were worried someone would bomb the VA. Who knows what criteria Authority has these days for taking away our formerly taken for granted liberties. I refuse to limit my picture taken to landscapes and flowers. I take pictures of buildings and even the interiors of buildings like the Smithsonian Institution, which I did when I visited there a few months ago. In fact LOTS of people were taking pictures and videos and the sky didn't fall it.

Amanda said...

I lost my cell phone, license, credit card, AAA card... 3 months ago. I didn't make an appointment with the California DMV but I was
out of there in 15 mn, $ 25 and they sent me the new driving license by mail. Everywhere I went or called, everybody were really nice. I just don't like post offices.