Monday, April 25, 2011

paper vs. e-forms

The other day, I had to take my drivers licence, insurance and registration into work so that I could drive this weekend. You see, in the Army, at thirty years old, it's important that I have someone inspect my vehicle for seat belts and fill out a small book to ensure that I'm not driving a broken piece of crap or illegally driving without insurance.

I did so, and then came home and changed into civilian clothes. The next morning, driving my friends to a BBQ, I got pulled over for making an "improper left turn". I had turned on the green arrow into the far lane, not the near lane. The Officer told me they don't normally issue citations for this, but then asked for my insurance and drivers licence. I explained that, being in the Army, my insurance was in my uniform pocket because I'd had to show it at work, but that I could pull it up on my phone. I quickly showed him my phone with my registration PDF showing (it even has more information on the online display, such as my drivers licence number). He said it didn't count unless printed and issued me a citation which would be dropped if I brought the printed version to the Court.

I don't have a printer and didn't feel like driving all the way to work to print something off, so I came to the library. I don't have a library card, so applied to get one. I needed an ID and "proof of residence" such as--you guessed it--vehicle insurance. I explained, again, that I didn't have insurance and that this was precisely why I needed to use the library and showed her my address on the phone. She said I could get a visitor pass.

I used my visitor pass to print off the same thing I showed her--with less information actually--and am now headed to the Court to show them the paper as well.

The upside to all this ridiculous bureaucracy and technophobia on the part of government is that I've now seen the Manhattan Library, which is quite awesome. There's a really great sculpture in the foyer and a magazine reading room I will begin to use. I might try to volunteer here sometime--maybe help lost souls get library cards even.


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