Before anyone from the home state points out that we only have one car, know that Virginia is one of those places where you have to have a plate on the front and a plate on the back. Interestingly, the cost of these two plates plus the registration stickers for both of them was $52.75, a full $15 less than the registration stickers alone cost for one plate in the home state. I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth in this case, or maybe the heat is getting to me.
After a morning training session at work during which we learned canine first aid I was off to the DMV to bite the bullet and change our plates. Observe the scene below:
<redwhiteandnew enters DMV, providentially located right behind work, approaches woman at information counter>
<I smiled. She did not.>
Me again: Yes, well. My husband and I moved to Virginia recently and I need to get a Virginia license plate.
<I blink innocently. She blinks not at all.>
Me yet again: Yes, well. I have all my forms and my inspection certificates.
Her: You need to fill this out.
<Slides a form across the desk, never breaking unblinking, unsmiling eye contact.>
Me: Umm ok. I have with me in this bag right here my vehicle registration, my current proof of insurance, my old proof of insurance, my safety inspection certificate, my emissions inspection certificate, my driver’s license, my entire lease proving my Virginia residency, the title for the car, and an insurance binder from the week I bought the car.
Her: Are you getting your Virginia driver’s license today?
Me: Do all of those documents qualify me to get my Virginia driver’s license today?
Me: Then no, I’m not. What else do I need?
Her: A passport or a birth certificate and a proof of residency in the state of Virginia–
Me: Commonwealth. Please continue.
Her: –and if you’re married and your name on any of those documents doesn’t match the name on your Social Security card or driver’s license, you will need to bring a certified copy of your marriage license as proof.
Me: The ring on my finger and the baby bump I’m resting on your counter don’t suggest that my husband is a reality?
Me: Yes, well.
Her: Fill out this form.
In the end, I filled out the form that basically copied all the information from the Corolla’s title and asked for the address of the dealership from which I purchased the car. I suppose if things were different (and this wasn’t the Noble Bureaucratic Red Tape Land of Licenses and Regulations known as Virginia) I would have tried to put the husband’s name on the new title as a joint owner, but since I was pretty sure they would have me arrested for perjuring the form from the unsmiling information lady if I tried to add another name when only mine is listed on everything else, I didn’t do that. I even took off my ring when I went up to the counter, just in case they tried to force me into fessing up that someone else drives the car, too. I was so close to getting something right in Virginia at this point that I was prepared to call myself a surrogate if interrogated by the police officers stationed at the DMV doors. Sorry, husband. Victory was in my sights.
When it was at last my turn, I dealt with yet another unsmiling and efficient DMV employee at her little counter. And yes, I needed every single sheet, form, certificate, and proof that I had with me. In the old home state, you fill out a form, write the Secretary of State a check, and they mail you a license plate in a few weeks. Today the DMV girl just grabbed two off the stack behind her, pulled two JULY and two 2013 plate stickers out of a drawer, and handed everything to me in a bag. After I paid my $52.75, of course.
Gathering up my sheaf of personal information and tucking everything back into my own bag, I thought of one more thing.
Me: Oh, in my old state we only have rear license plates. How do I attach the Virginia plate to the front of my car?
DMV girl: You need to take it to a dealership and they’ll mount a frame for it. You’ll want to call for an appointment.
#$%@#&!$%!! I was so close to done.