After more than a year and a half of living in NC, I have finally decided to get my North Carolina Driver’s License. I only slightly look like a chubby 40 year old Meth cocaine addict:
So obviously, me getting my North Carolina’s Driver’s License was not without it’s share of drama. It is me, after all. On Wednesday, October, 20, I decided it was time to officially become a citizen of North Carolina. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I deferred New York jury duty until this December because I hadn’t gotten around to officially declaring myself a NC resident when initially summoned in June. Uncharacteristically, I forgot that I had a purpose for switching licenses until one night when I couldn’t sleep and it just popped into my head that I needed to get cracking on that.
Our travel agent for our honeymoon happens to be in the same shopping center as the DMV branch for Drivers’ Licenses are. In NC, it’s split up so that each DMV specializes in something different. So on Friday, October 15, I took my mere 30 minute lunch break and made our deposit on the honeymoon and then went into the DMV and a nice woman wrote down on a piece of paper every single thing that I would need in order to switch my license.
GUESS WHAT?! Yes, this is one of MY stories, so of course, nothing is about to go smoothly and right! I find out that I have to bring in my current license, Social Security card, a bill for proof of address, and proof of insurance. Then I have to take the signs test, eye test, and written test again. I’m a former AP student and that shit never leaves you, so I went to the ncdot.gov website and study the handbook and take a practice test beforehand. DUDE. That practice test was HARD (TWSS). They wanted statistics and everything.
I get up an hour early on October 20 to get to the DMV before it opens and get in line. I had fallen asleep after 1am & woken up at 5am and couldn’t fall back asleep so I was exhausted. The handbook is over 100 pages long and I was planning on reading it over on my iPad while I was waiting. Unfortunately, that was the morning that my iPad’s wifi plan didn’t automatically renew so I not only thought I’d lost my unlimited data plan, but also couldn’t look at the study guide. Luckily, I had pulled up the website page before I left my apartment, so I had some of it to look over, but couldn’t move to a next page or anything. I was freaking out, even though I knew I shouldn’t have been, but I was counting on looking that over and I was dead tired and upset that I thought I’d lost my unlimited data plan for good, so I was already a semi-head case at that point.
The DMV opened at 8am. I walked up to the front desk when it was my turn and showed them everything I had. Well, guess what! In North Carolina, you need to have your full name on your driver’s license that matches your birth certificate and passport. I had no idea. My NY license and my social security card both just say, “Colleen H McAllister.” I had no idea that wasn’t acceptable as I thought your social security card was fairly important documentation in verifying you are who you say you are. But whatever. So Strike 1: I didn’t have my birth certificate or passport to prove that the “H” stood for “Helen” and not some other random name I’d make up. [Side note: Even in retrospect, I find this to be completely f*cking stupid and still don’t understand why I needed to provide proof of my middle name.] Then she looks at my insurance ID card. My car is still registered in NY and I’m still under my dad’s insurance policy for the next few months until I get my own insurance. The title is also still in my dad’s name. Therefore, his name is on my insurance card. They refused to accept this as me, Colleen “H may be for Helen” McAllister, being a recognized insured diver in the State of North Carolina. I was fighting the urge to turn into a basket case so I went out to the car to call my insurance agent aka my dad to ask him if he had anything on file to prove that I was an insured driver. He didn’t. NY DOT and Auto Insurance rules are different from NC rules. (I later found out that in NY, you only put the middle initial or a driver on insurance forms because it doesn’t usually allow for full names.)
So naturally, I started crying in the car while on the phones with my parents. Yeah, I know. Most of my stories involve the words, “So then I started crying…” haha. I didn’t want to look like a crazy person, especially if there was any possible way that I was going to still take the test and have my picture taken that morning! I wiped my pathetic looking teary eyes and took a deep breath for composure and probably tweeted like 40 times about how I hated life, and then walked back into the DMV. There’s a very nice gentleman that works up front at the DMV. I don’t remember his name but he was very, very helpful. He explained that I would need to get a DL-123 form filled out by my NY insurance agent and faxed to the DMV in order to show proof that I was on a policy. He said as long as I had that, he’d let me take the tests to get them out of the way but no license would be issued until I provided proof of my middle name.
I wasn’t able to get those forms filled out until the following day, so on Friday, Oct. 22, I woke up early yet again, blow dried my hair all purdy and set out for the DMV, insurance forms in hand. My passport hadn’t arrived from my parents yet so I knew that until I showed that, I wasn’t getting issued anything. My goal was to be able to take and pass those damn tests. That all went smoothly; I gave them all my info, registered to vote and took the tests. I was so nervous that almost didn’t pass the written test because I got the first 3 out of 25 wrong and you can only get 5 wrong lol but I calmed myself down and did fine the rest of the time.
My passport came in the mail following week and I decided to just put my fate in the number 29 since it always brings me good things 🙂 – I went down to the DMV for the 3rd time on Friday, October 29 and presented all my paperwork yet again. THE RELIEF WHEN THEY PUT ME STRAIGHT INTO THE LINE TO TAKE THE PICTURE! Woooooooo, let me tell you!
So now I’m officially a licensed NC driver and resident. The moral of this story? Don’t have a middle name and don’t try to avoid jury duty because the government will still make life hard for you one way or another!