I have never been waterboarded, but I can’t imagine it can be much worse than going to the DMV.

This is what I was thinking as I was standing in line on the sidewalk at 11:00 in the morning.

There was a line outside the DMV because there was no room inside the DMV. The inside was filled with disgruntled motorists sitting in chairs holding tickets with numbers on them. Numbers like D5 or K14 or Z99. The line outside the DMV was to get a ticket with a number so that I could wait inside the DMV for my number to be called, allowing me to either go to a window counter or to yell Bingo.

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Now I don’t want to imply that the DMV is a bureaucratic mine field filled with people who have no patience for customer service, but the DMV is a bureaucratic mine field filled with people who have no patience for customer service.

It started like this.

8:05 AM

Next!

Good morning. I need to register a car.

Fill out his form. Take this ticket. Wait over there until your number is called.

Is this a zero or an O?

Next!

8:37 am.

O25 go to Window 1. O25 to Window 1.

Good morning! I need to register my car. Here is my form.

You are at the wrong window. This is Window 1, the express window.

But I was just instructed to go to Window 1.

Let me see your ticket.

See? O25.

Is that an O or a zero? I must be a zero. You need to stand in that line over there for a new ticket.

But that is where I just came from . . .

8:55 am.

Next!

Hi. I was just here. You gave me a ticket and I was instructed to go to the wrong window.

Let me see your ticket.

I don’t have it. The woman at Window 1 took it.

Window 1 is the express window. For car registrations. Are you registering a car?

Yes, and that’s where I was!

Fill out his form. Take this ticket. Wait over there until your number is called.

Is this an l or a one?

Next!

9:28 am.

l45 please go to Window 2. l45 Window 2.

Good morning! I need to register my car. Here is my form.

You should be at the express window. Window 1. This is Window 2.

But I was instructed to go to Window 2.

Let me see your ticket.

See? l45.

Is that an L or a 1? I think it’s a 1. You need to stand over there and get a new ticket.

No. I have done this twice now. You are the ones who keep sending me to the wrong window. Can I please talk to a supervisor?

Go over there and tell the receptionist you wish to speak with a Supervisor.

And stand in line again?

10:13 am.

Next!

I am back for the third time. Look, I just want to register my car. Either send me to right window or let me talk to a supervisor.

Which do you want? Register your car or talk to a supervisor?

I want to register my car. But if I have to talk to a supervisor to do it, then send me to a supervisor.

Take this ticket. Wait over there until your number is called.

Is this an S or a 5?

Next!

10:52 am.

S42 go to Window 5. S42 to Window 5.

Hi. Are you the Supervisor?

No the Supervisor is Window 6.

But I was instructed to go to Window 5.

Let me see your ticket.

See? S42

Is that an S or a 5? I think it’s a 5. You need to stand over there and get a new ticket.

I can’t do that again. I just can’t. Please. I am begging you. I just want to register my car.

You don’t need a supervisor to register your car. You can just go to the express window. Window 1. It takes two minutes.

BUT I CAN’T GET TO THE WINDOW!

Sir, there is no reason to yell. Give me your form.

Oh thank you, thank you! Here is my form. It is all filled out.

This is not the right form. This is Form 072S. You want Form O725.

Then can you please give the correct form to fill out.

You will have to get that in the front.

But it is almost 11:00 and the line is outside on the street!

You should get here early. When we open at 8:00. It’s a lot faster.

Like I said, I have never been waterboarded, but I can’t imagine it can be much worse than going to the DMV.