It’s official: I’m a Tennessean.
Yesterday, I got my TIN-ne-see driver’s license. When I walked into the DMV, there were about 15 or 20 people in the waiting area so I figured things would go pretty quickly.
I walked up to the desk and told the woman I would like to get a Tennessee license. I had read about the required paperwork online prior to my visit and believed that I was adequately prepared with my birth certificate, current Massachusetts license, car insurance, front page of my lease, and my social security number.
Apparently I needed the LAST page of my lease with both signatures, not the front one. The lady informed me that this was no big deal and requested that I have my apartment office fax over the last page of the lease.
So I stepped out to call the apartment office and requested that they fax over the correct papers. What’s that? They don’t fax leases? Oh. You have to come into the apartment office to pick up a copy of the lease personally. Bummer.
I walked out of the DMV and drove 10 minutes back to my apartment, asked the nice lady to make me a copy of the signed pages of my lease and in 10 minutes I was on my way back to the DMV. Sure that I had lost my place in line, I went back to the woman at the desk and requested a new number. She asked to see my original ticket number and then promptly handed it back to me and said:
“You’re fih-ne.” As in, my number had not yet been called.
Wonderful! I didn’t lose my place in line. Surely it will just be a few more minutes.
2 hours later, after checking my email, the news, and people.com on my phone 93 times, my number was called.
Things went fairly quickly after that. I barely could see the third column for the eye test, but I passed.
As the woman was giving me back all of my paperwork, I asked her if she would be giving me my Massachusetts license back. She smiled and this is what I thought she said:
“We keep the old ones, but we’re about to give you a ten-cent one.”
I smiled politely and said, “Oh ok!” (What? A ten-cent license?)
Reflecting on this exchange as I was waiting to have my picture taken, it occurred to me that she actually said “a Tennessee license.” (Duh.) I guess I haven’t completely mastered the accent yet.
Thoroughly famished, I left the DMV beaming like I had won the lottery, with my “ten-cent” license in hand.
Today, I psyched myself up for going to get my Tennessee registration and license plate. I decided to eat lunch BEFORE embarking on this journey, which I expected to be even more of a process than getting my license.
I went to get my oil changed, then to have an emissions test done, and finally headed to the county clerk’s office for my registration and license plate.
I walked into the office and there was no one in line. There was hope for an afternoon of productivity. The nice lady, Wilma, called me up to her station and requested my paperwork, which thankfully this time I had in its entirety.
The whole ordeal took about 5 minutes and I mentioned to Wilma that I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and painless this process was. I told her that I had been to the DMV yesterday and before I could tell her how many hours I had spent there, she chuckled and said:
“Did you bring your lunch? Man, I dread goin’ over there.”
I laughed and told her I will definitely pack a snack next time.
She chuckled some more and then typed a few things. And then chuckled. And then chuckled some more. And then a little bit more. She handed me back my paperwork. Chuckle. Chuckle. Apparently Wilma thought I was a hoot.
I liked Wilma.
A few minutes later, I walked out the proud owner of a Tennessee license plate and registration.
So it’s official, I’m now a TIN-ne-see-yan.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
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