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  • Sahar Abdulaziz

Sorry, Sir. NEXT!


My oldest son had to go to the DMV today. He called in advance, explained what he needed and was given explicit instructions on what to bring with him. He did everything asked of him. Brought everything he owned and more, and guess what?

That’s correct.

He STILL didn’t have the ‘right’ paper with him because this so-called unexplained paper that he all of a sudden needed had never been discussed. The DMV representative never mentioned it until AFTER he drove 45 minutes to the DMV center, and after he stood in line waiting for another 30 minutes. He had every piece of paperwork and identification known to mankind in his envelope, thinking he could face any contingency thrown in his direction. And yet, they still had one more secret piece of the puzzle left, one more rabbit to pull out of the hat; One more ‘gotcha’ in the ready. Never fails.

So he headed back home, another 45-minute drive, the new piece of mystery paper in his envelope. The next necessary hurdle needed to climb to hopefully satisfy the DMV deities. Another notarized letter that needs yet another signature that, in the long run, means zilch.

The process is daunting, confusing, and most of the time superfluous. It’s expensive and aggravating. I know when I have to go, I have to brace myself for being told I am missing some innocuous paper or signature or piece of ID. It’s never easy or enough. The hoops keep expanding.

Reminds me of the time I went to get my passport at the Prothonotary’s office last year. I had MY ENTIRE COLLECTION of ID ready. Had the check, the money, my birth certificate, my driver’s license, and the passport photo. You name it I had it.

And guess what?

I was informed that my birth certificate- the original Birth certificate with the raised seal was “TOO OLD” and therefore they could not accept it. The birth certificate wasn’t bent up, or hard to read. There were no obvious issues, and as a matter of fact, it was in relatively perfect condition, but yet I was told it was “too old”. I’m sorry…. But for the love of everything chocolate- what does that even mean?

-And just as a point of reference, wouldn’t every original Birth Certificate be the age of the person? I’m. So. Confused.

Well, for me it meant going home, and having to send away for an entirely new birth certificate, which took weeks. I also had to spend more money unnecessarily. This ordeal was such an unnecessary waste of my time, but wait! There was more. When I went back in with my 'new' same birth certificate, they THEN informed me that the photo I had could not be accepted because of my hijab. [scarf]

Excuse me?

I demanded to see their rule book- they were wrong. After going back and forth, they begrudgingly mailed in my passport request with the photo I gave them. Over four weeks later I received a letter telling me that I would not be approved for the passport. I was then instructed to send them a notarized letter saying that I “wear my ‘headgear’ [their word, not mine] for religious purposes.

I kid you not.

And so, the system of ineptness reigns supreme. The public continues to get hassled over nothing issues, and these kinds of state places never seem to understand why Joe and Jane Public have an attitude.

Go figure.


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