When I first moved to Oregon I had just about finished up all the super fun things one is required to do to become an official resident of one’s new home state. Included in the long litany of things is registering a car and getting a driver’s license. Because I’ve been driving reasonably well for decades, I figured I could pull off these two tasks. How hard could it be? Call the DMV and get instructions, study the driver’s manual, take the test, DONE! Ohhhh, how naive. The call was great – the information they shared was the start of the problems. “You want to register your car here? Have you ever had an Oregon license?” “No,” I said. “Ok, you just need to get your car emission test at the DEQ, then take your title over to the DMV.” “But I lease my car,” I say. “Ooooh. Well, you’ll just have to have the leaseholder send in the title then.”


“Oregon is a ‘title’ state,” she says. “We have to have the ORIGINAL title before we can issue your registration.”

“But my registration expires in 20 days – is there anything I can do more quickly?”

“You’ll have to come in and purchase a ‘trip permit’ – it will give you an extra 21 days.”

Ok, fine. I call Honda and they very nicely say…no. Well, not exactly no. They need a letter FROM the DMV in Portland so they know who is requesting the title (because it certainly isn’t allowed to be me. I might sell the car??). So…I call the nice people at the DMV back.

“Sure, do you have access to the internet?” “Uh-huh,” I say. “Just go to this address and you’ll find a form letter you can download and send to Honda. We *should* be calling you when we receive it, but it is probably best if you keep checking with us. Once we have it, you’ll only have 10 days to come in and take care of registration – we have to send it back after 10 days.”

So I do as I’m instructed, ridiculous as it all sounds. And in a couple weeks I call them.

“Hi,” I say to the nice young man who answers the DMV phone. “Can you check to see if my title has arrived? I haven’t heard and I want to be sure I don’t miss my 10-day window.”

“Oh, that wouldn’t come to us.”

“OH YES IT WOULD!” And I explain every detail of the former rep’s instructions.

“Well, that isn’t usually how it is done. We don’t have it here, but let me call the field office and see if they have it.”

While on hold I must’ve played out at least a dozen scenarios, none of which was going to make me look at all good – or sane.  But I patiently waited, hugging myself and telling myself it would all be alright.

“Yes, they have it,” he says.

It felt strange to be so excited about something so dramatically un-exciting, but I was. And the next day I took my happy ass back to my field office, waited in line for the 2nd time (remember I had already visited to purchase my trip permit), with copies of every bit of paperwork they could possibly need. It took a couple of hours, but when I left I had my temporary license, my plates, and my registration stickers. A proud day indeed. (?)

Ah, beaurocracy…

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