Now that we’ve landed in Cascadia, I’m trying to tackle various tasks associated with moving. We’ve got power, water, Internet, and the other essentials. On to officially becoming a Cascadian and getting a drivers license. We were elated to discover that no written or driving test is needed if you’re relocating with a current drivers license from another state within the US (or, oddly, Germany). Also, unlike Estacado, they don’t require that you do things in a specific order (Insurance, inspection, car title, license in that order in Estacado).

The only snag (or the only snag thus far, anyway) is “proof of residence”. Unlike in Estacado, Deseret (I believe), and Delosa, a lease agreement isn’t considered proof of residence. You have to have a picture ID with the address (such as would be found on… a drivers license) or more simply a utility bill or hookup order with your name and address on it. We contacted the city utility company and they said that they would only send something after the first billing period which will be a month or so from now.

What’s interesting is that to get a DL we need one primary document, two secondary, or two secondary or a secondary and tertiary document. They have long lists of what all this involves. One of them, interestingly enough, is a voter registration card. So I went to the state’s Secretary of State site and saw what we’d need to register to have a voice in political affairs in the area and state (and, in November, nation). Apparently all they want is the last four digits of my social security number. No proof of anything else required.

So the thought occurred to me that if I go and register to vote I might be able to prove where I live (even though there is no accountability, apparently) so that I can drive. I was on my way out to do just that when I discovered that the cable company (who is taking care of our TV, Internet, and phone) had already sent me something. So off to the license bureau I went.

I have never seen such bureaucratized chaos in my life. They have a line, they have a little “Take a number” machine. They periodically have “Now Serving” numbers appear on top of the stations, but customers come and customers go and that number doesn’t actually change. So I got in line and then was informed that I needed to take a number, after which I kept waiting and waiting for the numbers to change above the stations. Instead the numbers disappeared so I got in line. Then a mean-tempered woman said “If you’re in line with a number above 330, you are not supposed to be in line so get out and take a seat. If you’ve thrown away your number, get a new one. If you’ve left the building to smoke a cigarette or get something our of your car, you have to get a new number”… and start at the back again of the numerical/non-numerical line, presumably.

Half an hour passed and nothing happened, numbers reappeared, didn’t change, disappeared again, more people got in line, and the lady spoke with great irritation that we weren’t abiding by the system and they couldn’t help us if we didn’t follow the rules… whatever they were.

After another hour of observation, this is what I determined the rules to be: Everyone picks a number and takes a seat. They call the numbers in blocks and the people with those numbers get in line in order. The first ten or so from that block will be called by number (with the Now Serving signs) and then the sign will stop changing (once they forget to keep updating it) and then go dark after it hasn’t been changed for a particular time interval (out of boredom I timed it to seven minutes and forty-five seconds). From that point the order will be determined by where you are in line if and only if your number is in the number block, which actually isn’t posted anywhere. Once that block is finished, they’ll start again with a new block. Intermittently there will be cow-herd lectures about how we’re failing to abide by the system.

Once I figured out he system, I bid my time (another hour) by explaining this system to everyone else that was confused and irate. One lady actually offered to give me a tip.


Category: Downtown

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2 Responses to Becoming a Cascadian

  1. Peter says:

    Waiving the test requirement for holders of German licenses is not as odd as it sounds. Germany’s driver licensing standards and testing are widely considered the most rigorous in the world.

  2. trumwill says:

    That’s interesting. I didn’t know that about Germany. I would still think that the laws would be different enough that some testing would be required, but then again they vary from state to state and I am quite grateful that I didn’t have to take a written test, so I should just let it be…

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