A Step-By-Step Guide To A Terrible Trip To The DMV (In GIFs!)

I finally got my Tennessee driver’s license last week. The process took me 11 hours, three trips to the spectacularly inconveniently located DMV service station, countless calls to their hotline (spoiler alert: all representatives are always busy), and two episodes of public crying. I always want to root for the Department of Motor Vehicles, I always want them prove everybody wrong, but these past few weeks crushed any lingering specks of faith I had in this bloated, soul-killing bureaucracy. The DMV sucks. It really, really sucks. Just in case you need convincing, or you’ve never been to the DMV, or you just want to take a moment and be really grateful that you’re not at the DMV right now, I’ve composed a step-by-step guide to a terrible DMV experience, illustrated by GIFs. If you think you can handle it, take a number, have a seat, and read on…

Step 1:  Arrive during one of their busiest, most unbearably crowded times. For example, any of the hours they are open.

Too crowded GIF

Step 2: Take a number. Sit down. Think, “Hey, I got a seat! Maybe this won’t be so bad.”

Step 3: Look at your number. Look at the “Now serving number…” sign on the wall. Realize your number is nowhere near the number currently being served. In fact, the number currently being served is a letter. Your number is 5 digits long. This can’t be good.

Step 4: Try to stay calm. Who knows what kind of system they’re using? Maybe it goes letters, then 5 digit numbers, then 1 digit numbers, then Cyrillic symbols, then emojis. Your number is probably next!

Step 5: Hear the next number called. Realize you are definitely not even close to next.

Step 6: Wait.

Step 7: Wait.

Step 8: Wait.

Step 9: Try to ignore the toddler who is throwing wet crackers down the back of your shirt, and the guy next to you whose hacking cough sounds miiiiiighty contagious.

Step 10: Wait.

Step 11: Holy shit did they just call your number?

Step 12: Sprint up to the counter, unable to conceal your desperation.

Step 13: When they ask for your two forms of ID and proof of residence, hand them your birth certificate, social security card, passport, expired license, tax returns, and the 300 pieces of junk mail you brought. Wait eagerly for their reaction.

Step 14. Watch them pick through your paperwork with an increasingly disappointed scowl (or is that a triumphant smirk?!). Start getting a very, very bad feeling.

Step 15: Hear them say, “This won’t do at all. This is expired. We’ll need a notarized copy of this. This needs to include your name and address. And this is just a 2-for-1 coupon for laundry detergent. I’m sorry. You’ll need to come back tomorrow.”

Step 16: Cry. Cry openly and shamelessly. If there was ever a time to just let your emotions out, it’s right now. The people in the waiting area will understand. They all want to cry too.

Step 17: Walk out defeated, depressed, and ready to sell your car. There’s no way you’re ever coming back to this hell hole. 

*JK, obviously you’re gonna come back next week and start all over again from step 1.