Thursday, November 15, 2012

Exercises in Futility (Damn, I'm Fit!)

OR:  She's Tenacious, You Have to Give Her That

I have such admiration for the government.  I really am in awe of how strict the training of their staff must be.  I have never experienced such proficiency at the passing of the buck nor such skill at getting persons seeking assistance and information, to run around like chickens with their heads cut off.  It's breathtaking, really.  

My husband had to turn over his Japanese driver's licence at Service NB when he exchanged it for a New Brunswick licence.  They keep it on file.  We since moved to Ontario and had to turn over our NB licences to get our Ontario ones.  Still with me?  Making sense?  Good.  Hang on, it's about to get bumpy.

Now he is planning to go to Japan early in 2013 to see his family.  He will need to drive whilst there.  I checked the Service NB website regarding his situation.  If we were still in NB, he would have to surrender his NB licence, they give him back his Japanese licence.  When he returns to Canada, he gives back the Japanese licence and NB re-issues (read pay again from the beginning) a NB licence.  However, we are in Ontario.  So, I contacted Service NB to inquire about getting his Japanese licence back.  They responded amazingly quickly; I was so impressed!  They informed me that they need certain info from him in order to get it back out of their archives.  No problem.  They also informed me that they need an address and contact name to send it to at an Ontario Motor Vehicle branch.  Hmm.  Ok, I get it; security.  No problem.  I can get that for them.

I'm an idiot.  

So, at 7:30 am today, right after reading my email from Service NB, I get out of bed.  I start researching stuff on the internet with regard to the Ontario end of things.  No information on the internet for our situation.  After calling Service Ontario, then the Drive Test Centre getting no answer, then a Service Ontario branch, getting told to call the Drive Test Centre, calling them again twice and still no answer (I actually sat there on the third call, letting it ring for almost 10 minutes), calling another Service Ontario branch and leaving a message, calling the Drive Test Centre again - no answer, hearing back from Service Ontario being told "I didn't listen to your message as soon as I heard "driver's licence" because I am in the Land Registry office and the agents who deal with that cannot be reached directly by phone.", calling the Drive Test Centre one last time, emailing Service NB to give them a heads up on the road blocks I am hitting, calling that Service Ontario branch again to leave a message to beg for help, hearing back and this time in a more friendly manner being advised to go in person to talk to the agents, I hopped on my 40 foot limo to go down and see said agents.

I get there, explain my predicament and get a very surprised "Oh my, what do I do with this?" look.  She tells me she has never heard of that kind of situation and they didn't do that as far as she knew and wasn't sure why Service NB wouldn't just mail it to us.  I explained that I assumed it likely had to do with needing to present ID to prove he really is who he claims to be (gov't offices are silly that way, checking ID and trying to protect against identity theft, fraud, etc.  But what do I know?? lol).  She asks another agent in the next wicket who shook her head and said, "Nope, we don't do that.  Not sure who does."  My agent turns back to me, not sure where we should turn next.  She was very friendly and as helpful as she possibly could be in a world where everyone looked at me and my unusual request as though I had three heads.  She tries suggesting Drive Test.  I tell her they don't answer their phones.   Ms. Next Wicket backs up my assertion.  Ms. My Agent suggests going in person.  I explain that we don't have a car and since the distance between our humble abode in Waterloo and the Drive Test location just before the border of BF Nowhere would be a bit of a jaunt for the carless just to ask a question.  (Meanwhile in my head, I'm screaming "but I am not a loser, I swear!!!")  God love her, she calls them for me and of course, she gets the same result as me....ringringringringringringring, etc.  She calls a friend in another department then calls the employee hotline.  All the same result.  "Nope, we don't do that, nobody does.  Can't NB just mail it to them directly?  And by the way, oh my God!  Does that client have three heads???"

All I was looking for was one human to say, "Sure, it can be dropped off here.  Have them mark it in care of me.  We will contact you when it arrives, you come down, present ID and we hand it over."  That was it.  Little did I know that is asking for the world and more.

As I was typing this, I received a call from Drive Test (I forgot, I managed to find a number that led to a voicemail there and left them a message too).  They said they can only do what the MTO tells them so that I should call them.  They give me a 416 number.  I call it.  It was just the same Service ON line I started with early this morning.  Oh dear, this is not going to end well.  I talked to an agent there.  Long story short, he tells me nothing they can do either.  Blabs on about having my husband just exchange his ON licence for a Japanese one while there and also about it being perfectly legal to drive for a little while in Japan with a Canadian licence.  My jaw hit the ground in disbelief.  The evil voices in my head started giggling, "He's talking out of his posterior right now, mess with him, MESS WITH HIM!"  So I did, asking things that I knew were full on wrong and getting a huge kick out of how eagerly he responded with, "Yes, exactly!  That is right!"  At least I got to hang up with a grin.

But just the same, I'm spent, beyond exhaustion and despair at how many hours I spent chasing the trail of ineptitude and just how much I have to try and cram into my day tomorrow due to not getting one single thing done today.  

It is now after 4pm.  I think I will just curl up into the fetal position under the computer and weep quietly now.

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