Doing hard time at the DMV

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Complaining about the DMV is an admittedly banal exercise. Just like death and taxes, a trip to obtain, renew, or restore a driver’s license is inevitable, and no matter where you are, the ambiance is best described as “hell’s antechamber.” If you value your driving privileges, the universe declares, then suck it up, buttercup.

I’ve experienced epic wait times of up to 2-3 hours in New Jersey, which is practically world renowned for “worst DMV experience of all time,” and easily an hour in the Philadelphia suburbs. In Florida, the county tax collector’s office instructs you to book an appointment online for the privilege of waiting in line for half an hour or more.

In Tupelo, the waiting isn’t the hardest part. But just as Tolstoy famously wrote that “every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” every state’s DMV system is a unique incarnation of Hades on Earth, and Mississippi is no exception. Continue reading

Southern man, better keep your head

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Today is my 27th day as a Mississippi resident, even though I still need to update my driver’s license, vehicle registration, and bank accounts accordingly. My ears still haven’t fully adjusted to the gumbo-thick sound of the natives that envelops me whenever I step outside my work-from-home bubble. I suppose that will come in due time.

And yet, just when I start to think that Mississippi might not be as horrible and backward as I’ve feared, my eyes are assaulted at nearly every turn with a prominent state symbol that reminds me not to kid myself: the state flag.  Continue reading