I love the fact that Ashland has its own DMV office right here in town. It's convenient, it's fast and it's one more way that I can avoid having to go into Medford.
No matter how long I live here in the valley I will never be able to figure out which streets in Medford are one-way only, and which ones allow me to cross under the freeway. Driving in Medford usually just feels like I'm driving semi-aimlessly until I get lucky and stumble across my destination. This is probably why I've allowed my passport to sit around expired for a couple years now. Doing the paperwork sounds hard — trying to find the Medford post office sounds even harder.
At the Ashland DMV you get to push the fun little button that gives you a number upon entering. I think the last time I was there I drew the number 38 and the sign on the wall said "Now Serving Number: 36." Honestly I probably could have remembered which person was already ahead of me, but I guess the number system helps both when the office is busy and when dealing with adults who have a deadly fear of people possibly cutting ahead of them in line.
There are a couple things I find confusing about Ashland's DMV office. First, when I was in high school I dreaded having to take my driver's license test because of the fact that the driving portion of the test is done in Medford. When I was a new driver, parking, looking both ways for pedestrians, and attempting to go faster than 45 miles per hour on the freeway were things I practiced in Ashland. My dad, who was trying to teach me to drive, avoids going to Medford at all costs. I think I went to the South Gate Fred Meyer once, and that was my only driving practice in Medford before taking the test. I did manage to pass on my first try, but I think that was mostly luck, since I've heard that if you turn the wrong way down a one-way street it's an automatic fail.
I'm also continually confused about the Ashland DMV's hours. I know it's only open four days a week.
For some reason, no matter how many times I go to the website and look up the hours, I am convinced that they are closed on Fridays. Maybe because I wish my own job was closed on Fridays. Don't listen to me and my confused little brain. The Ashland DMV office is closed on Mondays. Now that I think about it, it would be nice if my work were closed on Monday, too; I wouldn't ever have to hear the moaning groaning about Monday mornings coming from my own mouth and I could have the house to myself to do super productive things while my son is in school. By super productive things, I of course am referring to lying on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching "Dr. Phil."
The only thing I really don't like about the Ashland DMV is the driver's license pictures. I am pretty familiar with this process since I probably lose my license on average twice a year. I think last year I may have lost it three times. You'd think there would be some kind of statewide standard on how far they zoom in on your face while snapping the picture. Apparently, there is not. The driver's license photo I had taken in Medford seems to be fairly normal.
Every picture I have taken in the Ashland office makes it so my face takes up the entire little square.
I'm not really self-conscious about the way my face looks, but the only time I ever really want to see it that close up is when I'm in the mirror trying to decide if my pores are growing.
All things considered, it's worth it having a DMV in Ashland. Whoops, I've got to go! They're now serving number 38.
Zoe Abel is a lifelong Ashland driver. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.