I wrote a sad but true urban legend called “Dillen and the DMV” last week.
Here follows an update.
One of my health care employees, Dillen, has wicked ADD, borderline intelligence, not qualifying for disability supports, which are few
and those few minimal at best anyway,
but also challenged by things like getting to work on the right day at the right time,
challenged by processing verbal communications,
whether written or spoken more slowly than Business As Usual pace and pattern would permit,
challenged with struggles to establish and maintain healthy positive social relationships,
much more challenged by intimacy,
so often settling for companionship that does not foster mutually therapeutic co-mentoring,
challenged by his felt urgency for speed while driving,
challenged by States Attorneys who persuade him it’s OK to accept guilty as charged
for driving 45 in a 35 mph zone on his way to work,
never mind that so were all the cars in front of and behind him,
not to worry that this will inevitably result in a 3-month suspension of his license
because he can get a Work Permit,
the DMV will not give Work Permits to suspended drivers
with more than three moving violations,
encouraged by State Prosecutors to go right ahead,
send in that Work Permit application
with his $100 nonrefundable fee
because the DMV is really all about punishing DUIs,
of which Dillen has none
because he doesn’t drink
because, in part, he knows it is bad for his mental health,
especially his chronic issues with depression.
In “Dillen and the DMV” I write to the DMV Commissioner,
the Chief States Attorney, and the Attorney General
about this series of unfortunate events.
I hear back from the DMV.
This letter patiently reviews Dillen’s multiple infractions.
Two involve having others in his car with marijuana or concomitant paraphernalia,
(why not just “supplies” or “equipment”?)
“Marge, did you order the paraphernalia for the copier machine yet?”
Word choices in the public sector often distract me.
but Dillen was not charged with driving stoned,
because he wasn’t.
He was the designated driver for his “friends”
who did not have their Medical Marijuana cards on them.
Then there was the time he might have been going 35 or 40 and hit black ice,
totaled his car
which ended upside down,
for which the local police felt they must issue some form of moving violation,
after all, we do have those towing charges
and the need for all those emergency folks to stand out in the freezing ice storm,
and there are these two drug-related violations on his driving record
so he was probably stoned anyway, right?
And then there was this time,
when Dillen was pulled over
ostensibly for speeding,
but really this was about driving on a suspended license
without a Work Permit
which he didn’t have because
(1) DMV didn’t have a current address to send him his notice,
so he didn’t know he was driving on a suspended license, and
(2) no one had told him,
including the Police Officer who pulled him over,
there is this Work Permit thing
which would have covered his butt
on this particular adventure in high speed suburban crime.
However, this letter from the DMV Director of Programs leaves out some details,
as does my summary.
Then the Program Director reassures Dillen and I of her concern for Dillen’s mess,
which someone else might have called unemployment
and yet another round of couch-surfing homelessness,
but CT’s pesky State Statutes wouldn’t allow her to refund his application fee,
the application form says right on there that it won’t be refunded
even if the application is rejected
Apparently for reasons that remain in the shadow of the public eye.
My two page letter was too subtle for government comprehension
of our own collective abuse and neglect.
She confirms the DMV does have explicit standards for rejecting applications,
including more than three moving violations,
but fails to apologize for designing her Program’s communication plan
to be sure that disproportionately young urban minority low-income males
with mental health and self-medication issues
would be fleeced of their last $100
ripped out of their hungry pockets
to apply for a Work or Education Permit
that State Statutes prohibit her,
from handing out like mother’s milk to a starving baby.
She also does not speculate about why State Prosecutors Dillen has met
are all apparently unaware of stipulated public, but effectively private, criteria for rejecting
She also fails to mention what she might do to correct this situation
of not providing transparent public information
in a way that allows respected residents of the State of CT
to make a fully informed decision about wasting their money
by further investing in the future miserable outcomes
of shoddy DMV Programs.
She also does not explain where we,
the tax-payers of CT,
were when concerns about the need for job security,
especially for those in hard-to-employ populations,
where we were when needs for food and housing,
healthy wants for continuing education and training,
including the need for continuing education and training,
including the need for reasonable transportation,
even in the winter,
where we all were when these were not being weighted sufficiently against risks,
allowing licensed drivers with complex histories
to continue on their journey
the best they can.
Personally, I know Dillen responds much better to a warm hug,
a patient smile,
and expressed appreciation for continuing to improve,
and encouragement to continue with work
and sticking with a healthy daily routine,
which does not include speeding,
even if everyone around him is racing to nowhere good.
Yesterday I was mesmerized for several hours by a TV series
about the Railroad prior to the U.S. Civil War.
A champion anti-slavery attorney
confesses to his Northern wife,
as a younger attorney he used to settle estates,
including estates of slave-holders,
which sometimes led to the awkwardness of arranging for resale of people,
often resulting in the tearing of children from their mothers’ arms,
and other similar heinous crimes against nature
and mental health.
For some reason
I kept thinking about that clerk at DMV,
reading Work Permit applications,
after depositing the enclosed nonrefundable $100,
looking at the high security publicly invisible list of reasons not to help
depressed people living mostly in their cars
have a modestly better chance at life,
as if what is a right for him or her
on his or her way to work and home again,
is a too luxurious privilege for a fragile at-risk criminal population,
enslaved by their need to self-propel their freedom futures.