“You’re a New Yorker now”

A visit to any state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has zero possibility of either being fun or entertaining. It is inevitably long, painful, and excruciating. You cannot even really listen to audio books or watch movies to make the time pass because you could miss your number getting called. And who would want to be at the DMV any longer than absolutely needed?

The last time I went to the DMV was to renew my driver’s license early in November 2014. I was in San Francisco and still (wrongly) using my California license even though I technically should have had it switched over to New York when I moved… but I was lazy and always thought I would move back. Well, 11 years later, I still haven’t moved back, and with the Real ID laws going into effect next year along with the expiration of my California driver’s license on my upcoming birthday in less than two months, I figured I had better suck it up and switch over to New York state.

You know a governmental process is terrible and disgustingly inefficient when you come in without an appointment and somehow get out sooner than someone who actually made an appointment in advance (California, I do not miss that about you). Five years ago, I was advised NOT to make an appointment because I’d have a longer wait time. This time around, I had no appointment at the DMV in Manhattan, and I was able to get out after just over two hours. My mind was numbed, but I was finally free.

As I handed over my credit card to process the payment for my new New York state driver’s license and my Real ID, the worker processing all my paperwork took my California license away. “You won’t be needing this anymore,” she smiled. “You’re a New Yorker now.”

My gut twitched a little when she said this. With this step, I’ve fully relinquished my California identity. I am not sure how I feel about that.

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