Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Battle of DMV-Pleasanton [alternately titled: How California hates Texas.]

I don’t think it needs to be stated again, but I will for continuity sake: I am broke. So, in order to cut spending down, I decided I wanted to get a library card. A while ago, I made the trek down to the local Oakland Public Library, only to discover that I need a California Driver’s License with my current address on it in order to obtain said card. Apparently they think I’m planning on checking out hundreds of books, and making a run for the Texas border. So after much procrastination, I finally got myself to the DMV this week. I brought everything I could imagine needing in order to justify myself to the California state government, hoping, in vain, that this would be a one-trip affair.

I don’t know why I pretend like things will ever be easy.

To get off on the right foot, I show up without a pen. First time in my life I don’t have a pen, and it’s at the freaking DMV. Awesome. I wait patiently, for an hour and a half, while numbers and letters that are not mine creep across the “now serving” screen. I listen to the ramblings of the crazy wannabe truck driver next to me as his quizzes me on commercial license test questions, all of which I respond with “D. none of the above.” I don’t laugh at the woman verbally abusing her husband on the phone for leaving the house, EVEN THOUGH IT’S UNLOCKED NOW, and I even patiently explain the DMV ticket to window process to the old Asian woman clutching her handbag as if I’m going to rip it out of her hands at any moment, screaming LONG LIVE ANARCHY all the way out the door. Finally, G095 is called, and I race up to window number 6 with a pleasant smile on my face. Let’s do this, California. Let’s work as a team, and make me an official resident of your state.

So I hand over my form, filled out entirely and beautifully, and she types my name into the archaic plastic box masquerading as a computer. I’ve had a state license before, so like the lady told me up front, two hours previously, it’s just a renewal, right? Well, here’s the thing about renewing your license. California has to recognize you as a citizen of earth before you can renew a CA driver’s license. So when the woman tells me I’m not in the system, I laugh and say, “yes I am. I’m wearing a Ramones t-shirt in my photo.” She doesn’t know who The Ramones are, nor is she as amused by this statement as I am. So she asks me what my name was when I lived in California.

Here’s the thing about names. My name is, has always been, and save for a potential stint in the witness protection program, or induction into the MIB, will always be Eleanor Thibeaux. That’s it, that’s my name. So she asks to see another form of identification, and I give her my passport. Again, she asks if that’s my name. Yes, I managed to write the same name on both my application AND my legal United States of America-issued proof of citizenship. How is this possible? Because, government lady, THAT IS MY NAME. Then she wants my social. Then she wants to know the name attached to my social security number. So I hand her my social security card, and again, it says Eleanor Thibeaux.  What are the chances? Man, I’m one detail-oriented Russian spy.

So we do the “what’s your name” dance a couple more times, until she finally says I don’t exist in the California database. So then she picks up my form again, and re-reads it. This whole time, she’s smiling at me, and we have a nice rapport going until she sees those five stupid little letters written in the smallest handwriting I could manage legibly.

“Previous License State or Foreign country: TEXAS”

It’s as if I had just walked up to her, punched her in the neck and told her I killed her dog. The mood shift was palpable. It’s like, if there were going to be another war in a revolutionary manner, it would be the California-Texas Revolutionary War. The conservatives are coming! The conservatives are coming!

Now, now my friend in the California state bureaucracy is glaring at me kind of menacingly. And of course, she still doesn’t have enough “proof.” They always want proof. She’s got my passport, which I remind her, and I cringe as she reads the part that says “Place of Birth: Texas, USA” because I’m pretty sure Californians don’t think Texas should be considered part of the union. It’s like back when the white people didn’t want the black people sharing their water fountains, only now, its Californians not wanting Texans to…breathe their air? Which I guess is fair, since the Golden State is so disgustingly green, and Texans really like SUV’s.

Then she says to me, “I need proof of your residency in Texas.” So I quizzically hand over to my Texas Driver’s License, and allow the pictorial representation of a proud, billowing Texas flag to do my talking for me. She stares at it, repulsed for a moment, and then looks back up at me. “I need proof from the state, like you need to contact them and have them send the information to you.” I’m sorry, is my completely legitimate driver’s license not enough? What, do you want me to get a brick from the Alamo speckled with the blood of like, a billion angry Mexicans to prove that I lived in the state?

It’s just absurd, the battle of Texas vs. California. There’s Team Lone Star, which is maybe one of the dumbest things to rally behind – the picture of a star. At least California has an animate object. They have a bear. But then again, it’s a golden bear, and WTF is that, if it’s not some kind of delicious cookie treat commonly referred to as “Teddy Grahams.”
So you’ve got the Californians and their self-righteous “we love the planet, peace and pursuit of happiness” crap, and then you’ve got Texans, who also love freedom, only it’s freedom to exploit the planet, and the pursuit of happiness as it pertains to their agenda.  Be whoever you want, just don’t be different.  And the Texans, to be honest, are confused - because wasn’t it originally Californians who were all about manifest destiny? And Texas is like, “Come on, Cali, we got Mexican problems, too!” But California is all “we love our Mexicans, just don’t let them vote, because last time we did, we got a cliché action star as our Governor. Oops, our bad. 

But then again, Texas had George W. and well, oops, that was OUR bad.

So there’s a war. Stars versus bears. And well look at that, it turns out the Texas Lone Star is actually a firepower star like in Super Mario Brothers and it makes everyone in the Texas army spit fireballs that kill snapping plants and oh what’s that? YELLOW BEARS.

But don’t worry, Chief Golden Bear has a plan.

So there I am in the middle of civil freedom lasers and religious agenda fireballs, and all I really wanted was a library card. And you can’t explain to Texas why you want to live in California, and you can’t apologize enough to California for having anything to do with Texas. So when the DMV employee says, “You need to contact Texas and tell them…” all I hear is, “you’re really screwed.” Texas is mad at me for leaving; Texas thinks I’m a traitor to America and that I stabbed Sam Houston right in the back. But California really doesn’t care, because all California hears is, “I was born in Texas, therefore, I was born into evil, and I hate the earth. Viva La Offshore drilling.”  

But here’s the thing both California, and Texas for all intents and purposes, don’t realize about me. I’m not a quitter. You think you can subdue me with a run-around, illogical governmental process? I’ve been wasting other people’s time my whole life; I know how this works. I will get that library card; I will get you to admit I live here, and I will get my picture taken by one of your menial state employees, who probably hates you more than I do. And you know what I plan to do once I have a state issued ID? I’m going to get in-state discounts on my education. I’m going to vote against the majority. I’m going to go to other states and act poorly, therefore further ruining the already diminished reputation of the state of California. I will commit minor offenses in the name of the Golden State AND it’s bear. Now who’s screwed?

Game on, California. 


  1. Yet again...AMAZING! How you manage to take an ordinary situation experienced by more than you'll ever acknowledge and turn it into a solo, personal battle/quest, is beyond AMAZING! Love the illustrations! Viva la estrella! Pobre osos!

  2. I've already told you how funny I think this post is like a bajillion times...but here are my favorite parts:

    • Teddy Graham CA Bear? Totes adorbs. Way better than the original. (There aren't even Grizzlies left in

    • you running back to TX with a suitcase full of CA library books. Hilar.

    • When you say your form was filled out beautifully..I can only imagine. *jealous*

    • You look cute holding a bloody Alamo brick.

    • Mario Bros. crossover? #WAYMAZING

    • I'll help you act poorly in other states. CA owes me for taxes *shakes fist* Bitches...


  3. And we all know the number one threat to America, right?


  4. The Texas star looks more like the Invincibility Star from Super Mario Bros. The Fire Flower allowed you to shoot fireballs. But since California marches to the beat of their own drum, I'll let it slide.

    Awesome post, though. You made me hungry for Teddy Grahams.

  5. You should try getting a license in Florida...or even better...returning to Texas *from* Florida. Same story morning glory. You're f*cked on both coasts.