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Perhaps It Really IS A Circle Of Hell

I had the pleasure (?) of spending some time in the offices of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles this afternoon. Though the DMV is certainly an easy target, I came away frustrated by the relatively arbitrary and officious nature of the bureaucracy there.

Because my new Zuma scooter has a 125cc engine, I am required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement on my driver's license, but Connecticut requires me to first obtain a motorcycle permit before I can schedule a testing date. I arrived at the DMV about 3:00 p.m. and queued at the information desk, where I was given a form to fill out and told to wait on line #5. I spent nearly a half-hour in line #5--fortunately with the latest issue of The New Yorker in hand to pass the time--but when I finally got to the desk, I was told I was too late to take the permit test because my application wasn't time-stamped. I asked how and when it would have been stamped, and was told an inspector stamps the papers of everyone waiting in line at 3:30. I explained that I have been waiting in line since just after 3:00 and that no one came around to stamp anyone's papers. But the woman at the desk didn't seem to believe me and told me she couldn't help me and I'd have to come back Friday. At this point I became a bit more insistent--not nasty, but firm: I reiterated that I could not have possibly gotten to the head of a line with 12-15 people in in the last ten minutes and that she could ask anyone else standing in line if someone had come around to stamp papers at 3:30. With a sigh of exasperation, the clerk disappeared around back with my paperwork. A few minutes later she came out prepared to help me--I guess she ran my name through the computer in the interim--but then told me that getting a motorcycle permit now would do me no good, since there were no license testing dates for the rest of the calendar year. She explained one had to take the licensing test within 60 days of the permit being issued, but all permits would expire on December 31. Moreover, no motorcycle testing would be offered until April. Having spent some time on the DMV website, I was astounded to hear this, since there was no indication online that the testing was limited to certain dates. But since I had no apparent recourse, I left with a smile, knowing I'd have to go through this whole process again at the end of the winter.



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