Friday, February 04, 2005

This morning we went to the Department of Motor Vehicles. I'll repeat that. This morning we went to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I'm not going to complain about the people at the Henrietta branch of the New York DMV, because they were generally polite, friendly, and as helpful as possible. I'm not going to complain about our insurance company, because although they did screw up a few times in some astonishing ways, they were actually reasonably pleasant while fixing the mess. But a mess it was, in ways that would make a human factors jock choke on his ergonomically-brewed latte.

First of all, if you ever have out-of-state documents adapted by your insurance company for use in New York, make sure that your name on them is printed (more or less) as follows:

LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME, I

Nothing too difficult there. However, if you own a vehicle jointly with another person, and the names appeared on the previous state's insurance document this way:

LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME, I
OTHERFIRSTNAME LASTNAME

... and were not re-formatted by the agent in New York to read this way:

LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME, I
LASTNAME, OTHERFIRSTNAME, X

... they cannot be read by the automatic scanner at a New York DMV office, and the clerk is not permitted to enter the data manually, which means that the insurance document will be ruled invalid for the purposes of a joint auto registration. So, you may want to have a cell phone with you so that you can call the insurance company, because they will correct the documents and fax them to the DMV, which will be glad to accept them. However, note that if the insurance agent opens your file at the exact same time that her computer system locks up, you may have to wait at the DMV for, oh, at least another 45 to 60 minutes.

Once that's settled, you'll be fine, except for the fact that the New York DMV agent will take your title so that it can be registered and re-issued in New York, which would also be fine except that if the New York DMV agent neglects to tell you that she has to do this and you notice the absence of the title while your spouse has driven you halfway to work, and you don't have the local DMV number and that wouldn't help anyway because you tried it before and it only dug you into a rabbit warren of voice-mail options, your spouse will have to drop you off at work and then drive back to the DMV in a very, very bad mood in order to get an explanation of why the title wasn't returned.

Whew.

My little Prizm now has New York plates, something that I would once have considered about as probable as my buying an SUV. (One unexpected good thing about this apartment complex, BTW: There are very few SUVs in the parking lot, and quite a few compact cars.)

And I eventually did make it to my lab in time to read journal articles and attend the lab meeting and then honor my roots by helping the staff cook for, and feed, the Drosophila. And afterwards Rick and I decided we'd expended enough effort for a while, so we found a nice, friendly, inexpensive Ethiopian restaurant near downtown Rochester, and we went there and ate chicken in spicy sauce and red lentils and collards and cabbage and all sorts of good things, and now we're back home and Rick is having so much fun steaming the curtains that I get to sit here and blog, and tomorrow and Sunday we are going to take advantage of the freak thaw and explore the city.

Oh, and a final note: I've left out the part about why I could change my vehicle registration but couldn't exchange my Michigan license yet, because that one will probably become another even more colorful entry a few weeks from now.


2 Comments:

At 1:26 PM, Blogger Jason said...

In that time you need to find someone who happens to work for the DMV and become good friends with said someone rather quickly. That should speed up the process nicely.

 
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