The California DMV Tanked My Mood

thAs last week came to an end I announced to my boyfriend, my mother, some colleagues and other friends that I just had to hold out until Monday, May 20th and I will be able to start a new week.  All the stress of back to back travel, events (both work and personal, and a jam-packed schedule was to be left behind me.

Then I got to experience my first trip to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  It is time I exchange my New York drivers license for a California one.  This isn’t the hardest thing on earth to accomplish, but it isn’t without its hurdles.

First of all, like all Department of Motor Vehicles from across the nation, California’s are no different in that they are historically plagued with long lines.  Who has time for that?  Luckily, I live in the great state of California where their DMV allows you to schedule appointments ahead of time.  That sure kept the stress off of me!

My appointment, which I had scheduled over a month ago, was for this morning at 8:30 am.  The DMV opened at 8:00 am so I assumed there would already be a crowd when I was to arrive at 8:30.

To my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot of the Santa Monica DMV there were very few cars parked in the lot.  I didn’t count my lucky stars yet though. It is a DMV after all.  I assume some people inside couldn’t drive themselves there, if they all could then they wouldn’t be at the DMV right?

I sashayed, in the way that I do, through the front doors to find no line in the place.  The seats to the right were only occupied by a handful of people leaving at least 90% of them empty.  I naïvely laughed to myself and thought, “well this will go much fast than I thought”!

Now all I had to do was fill out the form to exchange my license and take the written test and I would be done.

So I thought, it turns out that I had forgotten to bring a copy of my birth certificate or my passport with me. One of the documents would be required to get a California driver’s license.

Immediately upon realizing I had forgotten these documents I walked back to my Jeep, sat down in the driver’s seat and slammed my head against the steering wheel.  After a long weekend which I had to work during I woke up early this morning just for this test.  I showered quickly and hit the road so I could study some for the written exam on my way and when I arrived.  All that stress was for nothing and I have to go through the entire process of making an appointment that doesn’t conflict with work or my personal life, study and deal with entering the DMV one more time.

There is one thing positive to come out of this experience and that is that California has received a point from me for the speed and efficiency of telling me I was inadequately prepared to apply for my driver’s license.  I feel like I would have been at the New York City DMV for an hour before someone would have told me I was unable to get my license today.

Now I’m stuck trying to shake off the foul mood this has left me in.  I have no driver’s license from California.  I have yet to take the written test.  I have to make a new appointment and wait a couple more weeks and still have to deal with this all over again.  My mental move to be more upbeat, optimistic and in a good mood is off to a rocky start. If only I had realized I needed those documents maybe my goal of starting the week on a positive note could have been achieved.

Totally Fucked – Spring Awakening… it just seems appropriate when you are speaking or writing about the DMV.

Learning to wake up in LA

good_morning__los_angeles_by_ballookey-d4e9djdSince moving to Los Angeles from New York City I have learned that there are many differences between LA and NYC.  Some of these differences are minor and some are major and with that said, some may be minor but seem major to me.  One of the changes that I am still adjusting to is mornings in LA.

Over 5 1/2 years in NYC I developed a pretty standard ritual that most of my colleagues and friends were also accustomed to.  I would wake-up, walk my dog, get ready for work, ride the subway, walk to my office, sit at my desk, and work for 30 minutes to an hour before I really said a word to anyone.  I would operate in my own bubble until at least 10:30 am allowing me to both wake up and get my day started.  Everyone seemed to operate along the same lines in NYC (although I realize there are plenty of New Yorker’s who are early birds).  We respected the silent commute and the need for many of those around us to ease into their days.  To be honest, half the people I have worked with over the years in NYC didn’t even arrive to their offices until 10/10:30 am.

People here in LA often seem to operate in a much different way in the morning.  You see, here, people seem to wake up and start pounding the pavement… literally!  Everyone seems to workout in the morning, go to coffee meetings and enter their offices in the mornings as energetic as can be.  No matter where I am or what I am doing it seems as if people want to talk to me the second I roll out of bed.  I’ve met more of my neighbors on my morning walks with my dog here in LA than I have at any other time of the day. Let me tell you, when I walk the dog in the morning I have no interest in meeting anyone!  I roll straight out of bed, pull on the first items of clothing I can find and walk the dog looking like a hot mess.   This little fact took me two weeks to really learn! I finally started waiting to walk my dog until after my morning shower just to save face in my neighborhood.

It always seems around here that if people aren’t at the gym waking themselves up in the morning they are surfing in the frigid waters of our area beaches.  No wonder they are wide awake!  If they aren’t surfing they are doing something else.  By the time 10:00 am rolls around and I am finally starting to wake-up and be in a talkative mood, everyone around me seems to have been in a wide awake state of mind for at least 2 hours.

Rolling with the punches and trying to acclimate myself to the culture around me instead of expecting the culture to change for my comfort I have begun waking up a little early and running in the morning.  It hasn’t become a ritual yet, but I would say it is on the way to becoming a ritual.  I’ve noticed the people I know here in LA that wake up and start there days early have very positive attitudes and are very productive.  I wouldn’t mind a positivity  boost and productivity boost in the mornings.

While I would like to say that I would award a point to NYC for understanding the need to take it slow in the mornings I have to give a point to LA for teaching me how to take advantage of my day from the second I get up.