Monday, July 11, 2011

Short Lines

I've found that the challenges of being a foreigner can, at times, seem so overwhelming that they outweigh the benefits.  Of course, I'm referring to literal, tangible, palpable benefits.  Obviously, I'm not referring to the intangible benefits of personal growth which result from spreading one's wings, being flexible, thinking with an open mind, trying new things, and appreciating new cultures, languages, and people.

I did discover a handy benefit to being a foreigner today, tough.  And I'm feeling pretty awesome about it.

When I first walked into the Verkehrsamt (Department of Motor Vehicles) this morning and saw the other hundred people waiting to be helped, I thought, "Doggonit! It'll be an hour before I can talk to someone and transfer my US drivers license for an Austrian license.  Thank goodness I brought a book."  But then, I asked the friendly lady at the info desk which line I should queue for transferring my foreigner drivers license (David did this a few weeks ago and said that we had a special line).  She said, "Schalter sieben" (Desk 7).  I looked around for number 7 and didn't see it, but I did see a sign with numbers 1 through 6 directing folks through a set of double doors into a larger room with more people.  Figuring that 7 should be near 1-6 since, after all, 7 does come after 6, I headed through the doors.  My killer instincts were right because the desk opposite the crowd gathered around 1 through 6 was labeled 7 and had NO QUEUE!  I only had to wait for the one gentleman to wrap up his session and I was next.  I couldn't believe it at first.  This kind of luck never happens at any DMV, right?  Unless you're a foreigner.

And this my friends is "Benefit of Being a Foreigner" Nummer eins!  At the DMV, we enjoy a shorter wait time than the Austrian citizens do.  I feel no guilt at all.

Verkehrsamt Wien
[image from Bundespolizeidirektion Wien

1 comment:

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

As a foreigner who has been at the DMV too many times for her liking I can tell you that the queues are not shorter, nor is anything better organized or more efficient for foreigners!

My husband and I still make jokes about the DMV ;-)

So happy you had such an easy time of it! Unfortunately all I got was a temp license, I have to take a couple of courses and then in another year or so I'll get the actual Swiss license - the Swiss are more complicated than the Austrians, looks like ;-)

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