Ah, the wonders of working with government


So, a while back I went to the DMV to try to get my Californian license. I’m still not sure whether I actually need one or not, but I figure I should err on the side of caution. And it’d make it a little easier to get into bars and whatnot, too – I’m yet to have my Australian license refused, but it always slows the process down.

Anyway, so, I went down there for the written test, which I wrote about previously, and that went fine. I then went back the next week to do the driving test.

So, I drove down there – which was an adventure in itself; I wasn’t used to the highways at that point and missed my turn off several times. But I made it eventually, and more or less on time, too.

But I didn’t bring my rental agreement with me. ’cause of course they have that big “license & insurance” thing here, and I didn’t have any proof of insurance. I actually did, in that I had a Certificate of Self Insurance. That’s one of the four ways of insuring your car here, and just means that the owner of the car (Hertz) are approved to provide their own insurance. Done.

Now, whether that insurance covers just the car or not, I don’t know. So, maybe it’s not sufficient. In any case, I had no idea they were going to ask for that sort of crap, so I hadn’t brought any of the rental papers.

So, they sent me away. Booked me in for a few days later or the next week or whatever. Great.

I came back the second time, with the rental agreement and all my other bits and pieces. They’d said last time, after checking all my other documentation, that the only thing I needed was the rental agreement – with that we’d be fine. They actually said that – it wasn’t implied, I didn’t assume, they straight out said it.

So of course when I turned up with specifically everything they asked for, they said “Oh, no, you can’t possibly do your test in a rental car!”. Eh? This came up the first time, and they’d decided then that it would be fine. But no, apparently DMV policy was completely turned on it’s head in the interval between my two visits. Grrr.

They guy offered to hold my appointment for up to half an hour, supposedly enough time for me to go off to the nearest Hertz rental place, get a letter of permission for doing the test, and get back. Well… pfft. Aside from going the wrong way to start off with – which wasn’t really anyone’s fault; the guy gave me directions, but they were critically ambiguous as it turned out – which cost me the half hour anyway. And when I did actually get to where the guy had said to go, it took me four passes and fifteen minutes just to find the Hertz place. Because it’s not there anymore – it’s closed down.

So, even if I hadn’t gotten lost first up, I still would not have made it in half an hour. *eye bulges*

So I went to the one in Campbell or wherever it is, and gave up on the idea of doing the test that day. Which was a good thing to give up, because when I got there, they guys were more than happy to give me the letter I needed – but first they had to cancel my contract and open a new one. Turns out I didn’t have the necessary insurance to do the driving test in the car, so it not only cost extra but couldn’t be added on to the existing contract.


So I said thanks but no thanks, and went home.

And that’s the reason, kids, why uncle Wade never got his Californian driver’s license.

Well, that’s being necessarily dramatic – I figured it would be a lot easier to just wait until I get my own car, then do the test. That seems to be the only scenario they can actually handle.

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