There is no one more boring than the person you get stuck next to at
dinner who expounds at length on the subject of his or her treatment
at the hand of the Department of Motor Vehicles. We know it’s
a nightmare. In fact, we’ve been there ourselves. Tell us something
we don’t know.
Well, how about this. An English journalist who’s lived in New York
for over five years needs to do the following just to get a learner’s
- Go through the same hassle of taking the written test that everybody
else goes through;
- Get two original letters (not copies) on official letterhead
from the editor of his publication, addressed to two different people
and saying two different things;
- Persuade the British Consulate to write him a letter as well;
and, last but not least
- Get a fourth letter, this time from the Foreign Press Center (a
branch of the State Department, for crying out loud – I’m sure
they have better things to do at the moment) which can then be taken
to the Herald Square office of the DMV (not any other branch)
and somehow redeemed for the permit.
All this ridiculousness, needless to say, has only been implemented
since September 11. (And, of course, none of this information is available
on the DMV website; you
have to get shunted around four different desks at the DMV office to
find all this out.) The Foreign Press Center even still has a welcome
note on its website saying that ‘The United States has no central
office responsible for journalists, no "Ministry of Information."
Generally, journalists work without need of official permission.’ Well,
unless they want to drive, of course.