- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2004

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and his minions have pledged to fix the ever-dysfunctional Department of Motor Vehicles one of these decades, which qualifies as encouraging in a city accustomed to running on hot air, tax increases and traffic-enforcement cameras.

@Text.rag:Of course, nothing frightens residents of the city like an appointment with the walking dead of the DMV.

Many residents feel compelled to pack a sleeping bag and first-aid kit before trekking to one of the oases of bureaucratic ineptitude.

There is a lot of Bermuda Trianglelike mystery with the DMV. The masses go there with honest intentions, only to end up disappearing in the vortex of red tape, sleepyheads and ticket-fixing operators.

A DMV site in the city often looks like an emergency room where the injured convalesce on cots above the din of moans.

Those who apply to work at DMV apparently are required to meet only one requirement, notably the ability to breathe under their own power. Serving the taxpayers is optional.

You usually can spot a DMV outpost by the line that stretches to the suburbs and the weakened bodies littering the trail.

DMV is where time stops, the sun rises in the west and the planet is flat.

Yes sometimes means no with a DMV employee, down sometimes means up, and sometimes there is this: You reach the front of the line, only to be informed that you have been standing in the wrong line the past three days and need to start anew.

One city official says, “We need and we will have a new service philosophy at DMV that will guide this agency to levels of efficiency and productivity that will be the envy of other DMVs across the nation.”

This is the distant dream, in the family of the next peace plan put before Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat.

An official vow to reform that which has been resistant to change doubles as an admission of neglectful leadership.

Mr. Williams, who has been addicted to accumulating frequent-flier miles during his five years in office, is convinced the city is “moving in the right direction,” assuming no one calibrates the zombies with DMV, the mess of the public schools and the commitment of the D.C. Council to enact intrusive legislation.

The latest lifesaving measure from the council is aimed against those who drive under the influence of a cell phone.

Tell you what, council members: How about a law that limits car jockeys to one a block?

Car jockeys, alas, are becoming a public nuisance, and nothing against the average car jockey. There are just so many of them, and they are becoming specialized.

You have car jockeys who protect tires, others who protect windows and still others in charge of quality control.

You might have 10 car jockeys forming a human ring around one vehicle.

One risk in dancing with the car jockeys is inadvertently returning home with one in the back seat or trunk of your vehicle.

The motto of car jockeys seems to be: You can run from us, but you cant hide.

At this pace, car-jockey trading cards are destined to hit the marketplace.

Seriously, how did this service-industry profession come to be so fashionable?

Not too long ago, Johnny wanted to grow up to become a doctor or lawyer or tow-truck operator.

Now Johnny wants to be a car jockey who guards your vehicle in snow, sleet or rain, in hurricanes, tropical storms and typhoons.

If the citys DMV honchos are really looking to make their operation the envy of all the rest, they could start with implementing the can-do spirit of the car-jockey brigade.

Car jockeys are never out to lunch and accept all types of vehicles. They always work with a smile and an extended hand. In their world, the customer is always right, which is in contrast to DMV.

There, you are apt to find those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, Tourettes syndrome and the Marion Barry jobs-for-life syndrome.

There, the customer is often wrong, plus exhausted, dehydrated and in need of an IV solution.

But no more.

You have the word of city officials on it. No, really. They mean it this time.

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