Ordinary Moments for Adventure

Dear Reader,

Today I undertook the not-so-glamorous task of getting my out-of-state driver’s license converted into a Massachusetts one. To do this you need two proofs of residency (bills, paychecks, leases, etc.) and proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (passport, birth certificate, etc.). I also opted to get a REAL ID (which is necessary if you want to travel by air without a passport after Oct. 2020!) which required more information.

While trekking to the DMV (or RMV as they call it in Massachusetts) and slowly wending one’s way through bureaucratic protocol can be tedious, I chose to make this a “fun” (or as fun as it can be!) experience.

The worst thing that can happen when going to the RMV is not having all needed documents. My advice is to fill out the application online and make sure all of your documents are in order so you do not get sent to the back of the line!

In Boston the RMV operates strictly Monday – Friday from 9 – 5pm. I generally work between these hours, so I planned to get there right as it opened this Friday morning.

North End, Boston, summer 2019

To make the trip more fun, I got downtown early and strolled a bit through the city. I don’t make it downtown as much as I would like and I could already see some changes since the last time I was there. A few new cafes lined the streets and the Fanueil Hall building is totally under construction (see American Flag building in pic at top). Luckily it was a beautiful September morning and the walk was pleasant. If you want to see Boston at its best, see it in the early hours before people are rushing to work and cars congest the streets (for more on this, see my post “Perks of Being a Morning Creature”).

The RMV is located in Boston’s North End aka “Little Italy.” This part of town is also somewhat of a historic center in Boston. Many of the buildings are protected and some of the streets are cobblestone. I walked through some of these little lanes on my way to the RMV. It is an extemporaneous sight, Dear Reader, to see men and women in suits with briefcases and iPhones rushing across the narrow brick streets between 18th century structures. 

Haymarket, Boston, summer 2019

If you come to the RMV from Downtown, you will likely go through Haymarket. Located at the intersection of the Red Line and Orange Line on Boston’s subway system, Haymarket is also a real market! On Fridays and Saturdays one can purchase cheap, fresh produce from local vendors.

RMV, Boston, summer 2019

Exiting the market and stepping in front of the RMV, I started to regret my leisurely pace here. At 8:55am there was already a line stretching outside of the building. At least in the morning the line moves relatively quickly even if it looks long. I waited my turn, took a ticket as if I were at a deli, and watched the screen for them to call my number. One clever (!?) thing about the tickets is that the ticket “numbers” are an alphanumeric combination, which makes it hard to predict where you are in line. It’s a little disorienting waiting to hear S12 called when they are currently serving O24 and Y5. How long have I been here? It’s hard to tell with this system.

RMV Waiting Room, Boston, summer 2019

Luckily, I was able to get my license (or at least the temporary, paper copy) without incident (save for a not-so-flattering photo that will be with me for up to five years….) And, to make my little trip to the RMV a bit more fun, I ended it with a visit to my favorite cafe – Tatte (which deserves a post of its own!).

Muesli bowl, Tatte, Boston, summer 2019

Sometimes, Dear Reader, we have to do things like renew our licenses, get a cavity filled, or change tires. Life is filled with these little experiences and ruminating or dreading such things will only bring us unnecessary pain. If you can, Dear Reader, find the positive in such experiences. For me, “going to the RMV” meant exploring the North End, “waiting in line” meant an opportunity to read some short stories (see my post on this “Read and Listen”), and “returning to work” meant a nice pit stop at my favorite cafe. Always open your eyes to the little joys around you, Dear Reader, if you look hard enough, I’m sure you will find them.



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