a study in contrasts

So, I just got back from renewing my driver’s license. Beth Elaine’s post this morning inspired me not to put it off for another minute. That and Shelly’s doomsday comment about her experience with waiting too long (I need the complete story, Shelly.).

So here it is–
A Study in Contrasts: BE (Beth Elaine) Renews Her License vs. ME (me) Renews Her License.

BE lives in Pennsylvania.
ME lives in Ohio. (this fact is actually irrelevant, just trying to set the stage)

BE’s birthday is in December. She renewed her license over a week early.
ME’s birthday is on Halloween.She renewed hers over a week late.

BE had “the most delightful time renewing her license.”
ME gets a little squirmy/twitchy when she’s sitting in a chair with nothing to read or write.

BE had no line whatsoever.
ME was #24 (but they were already on 18, so not too bad).

BE did not have to look at the rear ends of two gangster teenagers in line ahead of her whose waistbands of their jeans were literally halfway between the bottom of their rear ends and their knee pits. I don’t even know how they walk.
ME did not technically have to look either, but she didn’t have anything better to do.

BE had a “nice little chat with the nice lady” at the counter.
ME’s lady was all business and didn’t even crack a hint of a smile. (I tried to get her to!)

BE passed the vision test with flying colors (I’m making an assumption here.)
ME about croaked when she could hardly read line 4 at all. She had to pause, adjust her eyes, and squint. She even guessed at a couple numbers. And forgot to watch for the flashing lights.

BE wears glasses. Beautiful, stylish ones that make her look cool.
ME wears contacts but has an astigmatism that only glasses can really correct. Too bad her ears and eyes are crooked and she has NEVER been able to find a pair of glasses that will sit on her face without being uneven.

BE truthfully answered “yes” when asked if her height and weight were the same. (again, guessing here)
ME answered, “um…uh…not so much.” Her license still stated her weight at 16. She added 15 pounds. So what if the new number is still 5 pounds less than her current weight?

BE got to retake her picture.
ME wasn’t given that option.

BE was in and out in 5 minutes.
ME was in and out in 25ish.

BE’s husband said she looked “super hot” in her photo.
ME’s husband she looked “a little blurry.”

BE calls the driver’s license place the DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles).
ME calls it the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles). Google says both are correct.

Anyone have a BMV/DMV/driver’s license/traffic ticket horror story to share?

19 thoughts on “a study in contrasts

  1. FidelicharisHouse

    Hahahahha!  Laughing!   Takes me back to being sixteen…and not knowing the lady was going to take the picture and having my profile (under 21 shot) have *the* most stubborn, “I’m not going to and you can’t make me” look in the world plastered all over the license for every police officer in the world to (hopefully not) see.  Oh the grief I got on my “first license” from everyone for that!

    Now, thanks to my skin condtion (see related blog entry about food), I’m actually UNDER my driver’s license weight for the first time since…probably 2000, I’m guessing?   No great loss without some small gain…or the reverse, I guess, in this scenario!

    Thanks for the memories.

  2. GracefulKiki


    1) Last year when I went to renew my plates, they charged me $320. That was more than they cost when I registered my car new. So I went back to check out the problem but I had to wait 4-6 weeks for my $140 refund.

    2) I renewed my plates 9 months late. Oops! There was only a $5 late charge….

  3. beccaware

    Two Stories- (if you’re short on time, skip to the second)

    In November of this year, my husband got pulled over about 1/2 mile from our house because one of the break lights weren’t working. His liscense had been expired since August, so she gave him 2 tickets. ahhh… and would not let him drive home. He had to walk the half mile on his lunch break! He was procrastinating getting his liscense renewed because it costs 25 bucks. The crazy thing is if it were one day later, our car registration would have been expired, too… that would have been bad. very bad. You would think we would have learned our lesson based on the next story.

    December of last year I got pulled over for our registration being expired, and I was informed that my liscense was suspended and there was a “warrant out for my arrest”. I thought for sure they had the wrong Rebecca Ware, until the cop said that I hadn’t paid a ticket in Kentucky earlier that spring. I, then, remembered when I was pulled over in a mall parking lot in Kentucky for going 25mph in a 15mph zone. I had lost the ticket and hoped they had forgotten. they hadn’t. my liscense had been suspended since the summer. i had no idea. He considered taking me with him and calling a social worker for Ben (my son!), but I promised him I would go to court and pay the fines, etc. He said that if someone would pick me up right then, he would allow it. I called J praying praying that he would answer. He did, and he was there in no time. Whew… that was the worst.

  4. singenschmetterling

    Michigan is evil when it comes to that. We also don’t have DMV’s or BMV’s, they are Secretary of States offices that we go to. My story isn’t about a license renewal, but our tag renewal… ANyway- last year when registering our cars and paying the 90 bucks per car or whatever to get the plates we threw the registrations in the cars and left. This year when ready to renew we realize that BOTH registrations are listed for ONE of the vehicles. They had made a MISTAKE and instead of contacting us they just DELETED one of the vehicles all together, making our plate illegal for the last year. Instead of paying the cost of renewal they made us pay the 90 bucks AGAIN even though it was obviously their mistake. I can’t stand this state when it comes to vehicles!

  5. shannahhogue

    I was pulled over by a small town cop for being ONE DAY past the registration deadline (it was March 1 and the license plate sticker was still Feb. because I’d moved and the renewal form did not get forwarded to my new address). He gave me a paper, which he called a warning, and I promised to renew it that day. I hurried home after work to go to the only BMV office open late (near me) and got it renewed that night. No problem.

    Until a month later when I was mailed a form from said small town for not paying my fine. MY WHAT?!? He said it was a warning. I checked the ‘warning’ he’d given me…no fine listed. I drove the 25 minutes back to said small town (I’d just gotten home and found the form in the mail) where I was told that they’d recently changed policies (b/c of a new police chief) and there were no more warnings. If they wrote up the paper, it was a ticket. The lady did admit that I couldn’t have known the fine since it wasn’t written on the ‘ticket’ and she knocked off the late fee. But I still had to pay $100 for being ONE DAY past my registration renewal because the small town cops can’t get it together.

    I’m still annoyed about the whole thing, can you tell?

  6. jnrobison

    I renewed online last night. It was quit and easy, but I am paranoid that I will find out too late that I did something wrong. With visions of flashing blue and red lights dancing in my head…

  7. stephaniedawnbasham

    When I got my new license for turning 21, the picture they took of me was AWESOME. I was so proud of myself for looking cute. It gave me a little boost of confidence every time someone asked to see my license (for using credit cards, etc.) and I knew it looked good.

    Then two months later I got married. Had to get my license changed with my new last name on it. They made me take another picture. TWO MONTHS LATER. The picture was not cute. I was so very upset. Two stinking months of a great license picture.

    And then five months after that I moved to SC. Had to get a new license for a new state. Had to take ANOTHER picture (how much do they think I change during the course of a few months???). It was even worse than the last one. And this picture, of course, is the one I’ll have for the next 10 years.

    Figures. 🙂

  8. MlleBaroque

    When I renewed/updated my license (last year when I got married) I had my new hubby with me so I didn’t mind the wait too much (Texas DPS offices are notorious for long lines…I think we were in and out in 45 minutes…which is a record for me).  BUT I took a fantastic picture (so good it doesn’t really look like me ) that I won’t have to retake for at least 14 years (we’re allowed to renew at least once online or by mail).  So I was happy cuz I looked hot.

  9. jennikim


    i just got new contacts to correct my astigmatism, PTL! except they are crazy more expensive… but i can see!!

    (and im not conceited, just wanted to give you this warm cup of cocoa/coffee or whatever you prefer. )

  10. bensmomshelly

    LOL @ knee pits.  It’s “an astigmatism”.  And, the short version of my story is as follows: I had it in my head that my license expired a certain year.  It didn’t.  I didn’t realize it until just over 6 months after expiration.  In Ohio, if it’s over 6 months expired, you have to take the written and the road test again.  Yes, the road test, like a teenager.  And the lady was mean to me and treated me like a teenager.  But I was 25.

  11. bethelaine

    LOL!!  so, so sorry that your experience was not as delightful as mine!

    a few corrections:

    1. in PA, we are not required to take a vision test to renew our license.  i guess they assume we are trustworthy enough to get our eyes checked regularly….

    2. in PA, we do not have our weight on our licenses (height only), so there is no need to submit an update. (praise the Lord!!!)

    3. for what it’s worth, i even managed to make my DMV worker throw her head back and laugh.  (it was unintentional, but i’m still taking credit for it.)  after she took my picture, she was waiting for the card to print out.  she said, “it’ll only be a moment… as long as nothing goes wrong.”  (she has a worried look on her face, indicating that things frequently go wrong.)  so i said, “oh, it’s fine.  stuff happens.”  and she totally cracked up.  she thought i was using a polite version of the phrase “—- happens.”  which i totally wasn’t, by the way.  but hey, she thought i was hilarious, so it’s all good. 

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