We moved to the Hancock Park area from New York in July. Being well-organized, we put the DMV at the top of the list, right after getting a place to live and registering our son for Third Street Elementary. (According to the DMV, if you become a resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days). We allotted half a day for the entire process. How hard could it be?
First schedule bump: the car needed a smog inspection, a procedure that should be but is not in use on the East Coast. Newly-certified (con: the process took a couple of hours; pro: our ten-year-old loved watching the car wheels spin maniacally), we set our sights on the DMV office on the optimistically-named Hope Street. Second schedule bump: if you have an out-of-state license, you must take a written test. Luckily, the DMV has a series of helpful sample tests on its site.
We headed to the DMV on a Monday morning, armed with an appointment time (a huge time savor) and all of the requisite forms and materials. All was well…or so we thought. When our new California driver licenses arrived in the mail two weeks later our last names, which are hyphenated, ran together in an unpronounceable string of letters. What was going on? We pondered this question during three subsequent trips to another local DMV office, as we got set after set of similarly misspelled licenses. Finally, a well-meaning DMV official explained to us that California’s DMV computers don’t do hyphens. He suggested kindly that I change my last name to Brown.
We’ve since met other hyphen sufferers. If you’ve got one of those last names, better to settle for a very long string of letters instead.
Editors’ Note: Anya is new to the neighborhood and will be contributing a series of stories as the “Newcomer Chronicles.”