Thursday, October 09, 2008

The good old days

I'm a Californian again. I had changed my mailing address to Texas with the Escapees mail service last year. As with many other RVers, however, I'm not traveling as much nor as far as I had planned. The problems with voter registration were frustrating. To me, it wasn't worth the hassle of having my RV registration and driver's license with a Texas mailing address, especially since I'm now volunteering with the California State Parks. The RV insurance was based in Texas because of the Texas address but the rig was here. So now, my address is in San Francisco, even if I'm not.

While I was changing my address, I thought about the good old days and how we had to handle it then. You went to the post office for change of address cards and bought post card stamps. Then you spent an afternoon or evening filling out a card for your bank account, each of your bills, your magazine subscriptions, your relatives, your distant friends, and finally, the big card for the post office itself. You ordered your new checks by phone (spelling every word carefully) and waited two weeks for them to arrive.

Weeks or months later, the yellow forwarding labels on your mail would begin to disappear. When you wrote the checks to pay your bills, the checks had the new address on them. You would cross out the incorrect address on the bill and print the new one. The entire process of "moving" took about three months longer than the actual move from one dwelling to another.

Now the entire process takes about 24 hours and only because I needed to wait for email confirmations during their business hours. I clicked on my Favorites, chose each company, group or organization, and changed my address online. Most took effect immediately. I receive six magazines by postal mail and while I was changing the address on them, two asked me to opt for an online version instead of printed. Of course I agreed. Two others are bimonthly (so the address change will be reflected in the next issue) and one other is in the process of converting to an online version.

The change from the Texas insurance carrier to the California agency was done by phone and email. Within a half hour of the initial contact, I had my complete policy sent electronically, printed it and inserted the proof of insurance into the ID case with the registration.

I changed my address online at the Department of Motor Vehicles for both my registration and driver's license. Since my license expires this year, the DMV wanted me to show up in person to have my 13 year-old picture replaced and test my vision. Thank goodness: the same great picture had been used for several updates to the license over the years but each time, my hair picked up more of the blue background. Hence, I had really become a blue-haired old lady.

Here was the only delay. The registration was issued immediately along with the tag (I had already paid online) and I took the vision test. My picture was taken. Now I wait for two weeks for the new license to be mailed to me and hope the picture turned out as well as the previous one.

Another aspect of the good old days I don't miss is actually going to the DMV. You can make an online appointment now. When I tried to do that for Monday, October 6, I was told the next available appointment was October 16. I don't have a toad and the RV would not fit in the parking lot nor on the street, so my friend drove me there. I decided not to tell her I didn't have an appointment.

From the time I walked in the door, registered the RV, took the vision test, had my picture taken and left, I had accomplished everything in 35 minutes.

My absentee ballot arrived, I have cast my vote and mailed it.

These are the good old days.


  1. You got in and out of a DMV in 35 mintues? If you don't have an appointment, and you don't show up at 8:00 AM when they open, it's MINIMUM 2 hours usually! Especially if you live in a large city like SF!

  2. Don't tell anyone, but I went to the DMV in Lodi. It's a tiny building with a tiny parking lot and I had a ride from one of my co-workers because her post office is there. She finished a couple of errands and picked me up just as I walked out. Timing is everything.

  3. small towns and dmv is a piece of cake .... i am looking to exit alaska i can drive anything tught by my ex husband looking for a partner that want's to see the us i'm an old lady with a small dog that want's to see the world again if you have any friends that are doing the same thing please contact me