April 1, 2005 - Doin' Time at the DMV
Hear this story as it was covered on KTYD.
So this week, Peter (Ed's favorite dedicated staffer), went on KTYD and said we'd stand in line at the DMV. Well, Ed thought is was a great idea. Of course, Ed thinks everything Peter does is a great idea. And to be honest, usually it is - but the DMV! Arghh. So at the weekly staff meeting, when we all volunteer for data gathering assignments, an anonymous voice from the back of the room shouted, "Hey, Peter, don't you have a car the needs registering?" Without a doubt, it was a low blow, but Peter took it with his usual good nature.
It was eight o'clock in the morning, and the dedicated staff of edhat.com had an appointment at the DMV on Castillo.
These days, they have chairs and a next in line number system, like at the bakery. Piece of cake, we thought. But as we walked in through the swinging glass doors, we could see that something was amiss. Gone were the new chairs that had recently lined the walls. The air felt a little tense. A cardboard sign covered the television screen that hung from the ceiling, cheerfully displaying the next in line number. OUT OF ORDER the sign said, STAND IN LINE.
Uh-oh. Peter hates to stand in line. But we had a job to do, so we stood. Looking around, we even saw a few of our friends in line. There was Roger Durling from the Santa Barbara Film Festival! Oh, and there's our favorite Mayor! We had always thought that people like that would have people to go to the DMV for them! We waved and smiled. They smiled back.
When we finally made it to the front of the line, Peter started his registration process.
He had all of his forms filled out and his check written. 'Just take a minute, he smiled.
The woman behind the desk began typing on her computer keyboard. She typed fast and a lot. Pretty soon, she looked at the check in front of her, and then she looked up.
"I'm afraid the amount is wrong" she said. "The total, including tickets, is fifteen hundred, forty three dollars and seventy seven cents."
"Tickets?" Peter asked calmly. There was a small vein on the side of his temple that began to throb.
Apparently, those little cameras mounted on the top of some traffic signals around town, are used for recording individual traffic information. The DMV clerk explained that each car is fitted with a tracking device during their biennial smog test. In this way, the State can collect money for traffic infractions, without the expense of patrol officers on site. The vein continued to throb.
The other dedicated staff member, sensing some sort of explosion, took a step back.
"Could you please hurry up?" The woman behind us in line asked impatiently. "I have a yoga class."
What happened next is the topic of much debate. Peter claims he calmly re-wrote the check and was just trying to leave. The police report says that smoke started coming out of Peter's ears, and he started yelling about the DMV, and pulling on computer wires and the whole State lost power for a couple of minutes and the DMV had to close for the rest of the day, and that when they were taking him away, all of the people in line were hitting him and trying to trip him and the Mayor and Roger both claimed they had never seen him before.
We think it was something in between.
Ed thought we should let him sit in jail for a while, but us dedicated staffers stick together. So, we managed to find a buyer for the Campbell's Mushroom Soup collection, and bailed him out. On the way out of the jail, we passed a skinny guy wearing a pair of silk pajamas, who raised a peace sign in the air and yelled, "April Fool's!" We don't know what that was about.
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