Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Temper, Temper!

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
[Proverbs 15:1]

I'd like to believe the best about Maryland MVA (Motor Vehicle Administration). Really, I would. Except that time after time, I have found it to be more of a bureaucracy that's intended to test how well I keep my temper.

Guess what??? I'm not doing so hot...

Every Maryland resident gets to have the experience of practicing self-control at the MVA every few years, whether for a driver's license renewal, or for vehicle registration. Stand in line. Get a number. Fill out forms. Sit and wait. And wait... And wait... And wait... Go to a window. Get more forms. Go to another window. Get another number. Sit and wait... Eventually, you get to pay your fees, take your paperwork and leave. All this in a large, loud room with constant DINGs announcing the next lucky number.

I thought I had licked that problem. PAY BY MAIL AND AVOID THE LINES! said the promo literature from the MVA. So we did. One vehicle's renewal arrived, and two weeks later, the other one was still missing. Every fool in Maryland knows you don't go to the MVA the last few days of the month, so I went a week early.

"Not our problem. Pay $5 for a duplicate sticker."

Say WHAT? Cough up $5 for a duplicate sticker? I did it the way you suggested! Why am I getting charged a fee? Who sat in the chairs and waited for 90 minutes? And why do I pay for this 'service'?

"Not our problem. Pay $5 for a duplicate sticker."

I paid the fee. I grumbled. I talked to a supervisor. I let them know I was not happy. They really didn't care. I (barely) kept my temper. After all, there's armed state troopers walking around the MVA like bouncers.

$5 bucks.
90 minutes.
Maryland MVA.
Keeping my temper. (sort of)
Not exactly priceless.

Cynthia Kavanaugh in the Mitford Series books by Jan Karon had a practice. Say 3 things you love when you say 3 things you hate...

So what do I hate?
Liver, cell-phone-yakking-drivers and the MVA
And what do I love?
A car that runs (!), cats that purr and a clean kitchen counter


Next time, I'll just stand in line...

From our home to yours...


Tricia said...

They don't hold a candle to the Maryland Dep't of Taxation - who tried to sock me with an overdue tax notice about a dozen years after we'd moved away - with interest and penalties topping $1000!! As providence would have it, we'd saved those records and were able to prove that, in fact, they had owed us money that year and had even paid. But I was certainly annoyed (and concerned!) until we got it resolved (with no apology, mind you).

On the bright side, MD has a great consumer protection division (as long as your complaints aren't against the state, perhaps :^)

Anonymous said...

I would really REALLY love to know where my tax dollars go. They don't go to logical administrative policies...

Another Maryland taxpayer...

Anonymous said...

Hey Deb-
Haven't you ever heard the verse that says "WAIT on the Lord"? Must have been your turn to wait.

love ya