Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Long License Loiter

Righto, so here's a full catch up of yesterday morning's drama. Varen & I were up early (I'd asked him to accompany me since I had no idea where the Randburg Civic Center was, and knowing it was on Jan Smuts & Hendrik Verwoed led me to feel it was not exactly "single woman hanging about in the still-dark hours of the early morning" territory), 6am in fact and arrived at the Civic shortly after 6:30am where I proceeded to get some id photos taken by some clearly foreign entropeneurs for a massive R40 (well, it ended up being R50 cause they had no change :P). And then we found the appropriate queue and waited. Let me tell you, there is nothing similar about the Car License and Driver's License queues, be sure you're in the right one (especially cause the car license one only opens at 8am on a Monday morning, nearly had heart failure!).

The Driver's License department opened promptly at 7:30am (as the websites promised) and we were herded upstairs and handed a 4 page green form to fill out (only in black pen, mind you). And then we waited. And waited. Hey, I was just happy to be in the warmth of the building but seriously, there were people wandering in and out looking official but making sure not to make eye-contact with any of us. Close to 8am (and I thought if I got there early and was in the first 10 people, I could be out of there within half an hour of opening, pah!), and small man with some serious face scaring and injuries (seriously, he looked like he'd recently been mauled by a small dog or something) came in and started handing out new white forms that needed filling in (also in black pen, to be sure). And then he started processing us.

At this point I should tell you that I was 3rd in the queue and staring at 5 tables, 4 of which had huge equipment filling them. There was also a sign (printed A4 page, sticky taped to the wall, like all the others in no discernable manner) saying somethign to the tune of "The Joburg Traffic Department has recently installed new eye-test and fingerprint machinery which is slow. We appreciate your patience". This one little man took up his post on the empty table and proceeded to call us up one by one to take out fingerprints (no spanking new machinery used here, although he was pretty slow!). Before he'd got the whole way thru the room, he started at the front of the queue again (luckily we were sitting down for all this) and started cutting our id photo's to the correct size with his little clamping-cutting machine (hi-tech!) and telling us to stick them to the white sheet (which also had our fingerprints). After he'd done most of the rooms photo's (again not all of them), he went back to fingerprinting. After a short while of that he got annoyed because people weresitting in the wrong places. Which started a bit of an argument because, naturally, no one had been told where to sit or what the right order etc. was. He proceeded to ignore them, stop fingerprinting (again) and started at the front of the queue ensuring that our white forms were signed (by him). Eventually he went back to fingerprinting, cutting the rest of the photos and completing the rest of the white forms (all very peculiar, I tell you).

Eventually, around 8:30am, someone asked about the eye-tests (Naturally there was one crazy lady telling anyone who'd listen that she'd had her eye-test done at an optometrist already, the little man told her to sit down and wait with the rest of us). Turns out whoever is supposed to be there doing eye-tests had not yet shown up this morning (fabulous!). Luckily very shortly after that, someone came in to assist and we started doing them (at probably the most archaic looking machine on the 4 remaining tables). It's a strange eye-test, no letters, no closing your right eye and then your left.

Anyway, once that was out of the way, we left that room and went to stand in a new queue, waiting for the cashiers. They'd been in and out all morning so far (the only way into their cubicles is thru a door in the room we'd all been sitting in) but by the time we were finally ready for them, there wasn't a person in sight. Eventually one arrived. Do you think she was ready? Nope. She proceeded to (all while not making any eye-contact ... I'm beginning to realise why they're protected by glass because there were some pretty frustrated people by this point) check her printer paper, get out her ink block and stamp, set the stamp to the correct date (hello, they've been there since 7:30am, you'd think they'd be ready to handle customers by 8:45am?). Anyhoo, by the time I got to the counter (the crazy optometrist lady had just joined the queue, after having to re-do her eye-test), there was a second lady at the counter (who'd also had to set-up before being able to process anyone) so after that, it was all over pretty quickly.

So yay, after hours of waiting and a few minutes of processing, I have applied for my new Driver's License and currently have a temporary one to tide me over. Relief, I can drive legally again :)

Other than that, not much happened last night. Varen and I got into an argument (about absolutely nothing, as usual) and barely spoke, so I went out grocery shopping (for Bookclub dinner this eve) and to buy Bookclub books from Estoril (I love love love their 20% off all books sale on the last Monday of each month!) and then to gym (shock, horror, I know!).


Sweets said...

i went through the same process in December, my first day of leave... sat there the whole day. made life long friends :)

i thought it would have been a nice touch if they provided wipes to clean the eye test machine... didn't like poking my face into something that just held a oily zit infested face!

phillygirl said...

@sweets - eep, I didn't even think of that after having waited so long I was just in such a rush to get it over with. Eeuw, now I'm a little grossed out actually :P

A friend of mine has a theory that the best time to go is at 14h50 because they're all in a rush to process you and get outta there :) Will be trying that theory out next time!

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