What About This? By Wayne William Cipriano

What A Week! Renee`arrived on the third and we partied at the airport and all over Springfield. Then we partied the next day with all of America in celebration of the Colonies’ independance from Britain. The fifth was Rosalie’s birthday, and again, “molto party” all day long, talking to everyone else in the family via telephone and collecting all those well-wishes sent by the Internet.

Then came the weekend with its two-day schedule of doings, enhanced by Renee`s presence, and barbecues deluxe.

And then, as always, Monday showed up and all the partying screeched to a halt, may have even backed up a bit, because we had automobile registrations to complete, and that means, of course, a visit to the dreaded DMV. We’ve lived here for more than three decades, but I still refer to it as the DMV even though I know it is really the License Bureau.

There has been some added complication this year for us because there is no License Bureau in Ava. For some reason, the people who owned the concession relinquished it, and, as far as I know, no one has taken their place. I’m sure someone will, but for us, it meant calling around to all the other License Bureaus to get times of operation, requirements (though you’d think they would be uniform) and the various locations.

We will have to get the cars inspected in Ava, I guess, then go to the Ozark License Bureau for the registrations. The folks at that Bureau NEVER answer their phone, and although they have an answering machine that invites us to leave a message and a call-back number, they never responded to the four messages we left!

Renee` has that gadget on her cell phone that gave us audio and visual instructions as to how to find the Ozark License Bureau, and, believe it or not, it took us right there. No mess, no fuss! (I have got to get over my distrust of such technology).

In anticipation of Monday’s outing, we shared stories of DMV (License Bureau) experiences. One was quite nice; the rest not so much. As we talked, we realized that most stories were second-hand and we went from that realization to wondering why the process of vehicle registration is fraught with so much angst and bad encounters. The short answer is, as is the case in so much of life, violation of the Seven P’s, when observation of them would make life so much simpler. The Seven P’s: Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

When, in our case, we will have the five things we need: current insurance verification; title or renewal notice; evidence that we have paid the last two years of property taxes; recent safety inspection; and the fee in both cash and check (they may accept credit cards, maybe not, and maybe with an additional charge), we do not anticipate any “road blocks”, and I’ll bet we don’t experience any.

You’ve got to be understanding at the DMV. The work there is pretty boring, I imagine, doing pretty much the same thing all day long  – after all, how many different operations are they called upon to perform? And then, when we show up for something as simple as a registration renewal without one (or more) of the five requirements, the people there have to say, “No,” because it’s the law.

I’m sure they would like to give us a coast. They know us and have for decades, but the law is the law. So they say, “No,” and then have to face our anger and frustration over a wasted trip, and our concealed embarassment over not having brought the stuff clearly noted as necessary on that renewal card we got last month in the mail.

I’m pretty sure that recent improvements in the system allow folks at the DMV to check some stuff on the Internet, like maybe having paid our property taxes, but who wants to take a chance that the computers are down that day, or there is a mistake somewhere, or the piece of paper we didn’t bring must be presented in person, and another trip to the License Bureau is going to be required? Certainly not us!

So we took care of the Seven P’s, went down the checklist for successfully completing automobile registration renewal; collected all the required paper; called ahead to verify the hours of operation and double-check the location (they did not answer, but we tried anyway – twice.); counted cash and looked in the checkbook to be sure there was at least one blank check.

Nothing could possibly go wrong now!