Today I had my first trip to the California DMV, which was, surprisingly, a breeze. I arrived for an 11:10 appointment. In California you can make an appointment even for non-driving test tasks, though you still have to wait in the same queue as everyone else, though for not as long.
I went to the desk, they gave me a number, and about ten minutes later my number was called and I went up the counter. I was getting everything done at once -- transfer of ownership papers for the car I bought used, renewal of the car's registration, my new California driver's license, and my voter registration. The woman behind the counter had nails so long that her fingertips never made contact with the keyboard. Not the ideal trait for someone whose main responsibility is spelling people's names correctly.
After an eye test, I went across the room to take my photo for the license. There's a mirror to make sure you look ok, but seeing as I had woken up about an hour ago with no shower, the mirror wasn't going to help me much.
Then onto the test, which was tough. Much tougher than those joke tests in NY and MD that I was used to. Around 30 questions and I could only miss six (if you're renewing your license, you can only miss three). There were questions like "how fast can you drive in a school zone: 15 mph (my answer), 20 mph, or 25 mph (the right answer)." Whenever I guessed I picked the most cautious answer. I figured that most of the questions try to find out if you're irresponsible. Only a few of the questions try to find out if you're an idiot.
The woman correcting my test was the same long-nailed woman from before, but she had moved windows. She informed me that in my photo I looked "heavier" than in my New York licence photo but that's ok because in California they like people who are "muscular" and "wear tennis shoes." Noticing my birthdate, she asked if I'm "nice," because Scorpios are "bitches" and she named Hillary Clinton and Roseanne Barr as examples.
Anyway, I walked into the parking lot feeling so great that I had gotten all that bureaucratic stuff done. Especially after my saga in New York where I let my license expire and had to take the driving test again. I felt so good that I didn't even care when I realized that there was a $47 parking ticket on my windshield, for being parked overnight on the street cleaning side of the street. My third parking ticket in three months. I knew that spot was too good to be true.