So I finally got my license from the LTO San Juan branch after a whole day's worth of waiting in line and taking test after useless test. Hearing my name called at the Releasing window at 5:30 PM, just when I was starting to lose hope as to whether I'd be getting it that day or not, kind of blew away the bad vibes I've been absorbing the eight plus hours I was there. So instead of recounting the dozens of foolproof ways I've thought of to improve the efficiency of LTO, I'll instead be posting some amusing observations I made yesterday:

The medical test consisted of two bossy fat ladies asking us our height and weight before giving us a visual test. The visual chart was at one end of the room, the person being tested was at the other end, and everyone waiting for their turn sat in the middle. Since the ladies only wanted the last line of the chart recited, everyone would have memorized it by the time they were called. And since the ladies barely even looked up when they talked to us, we probably could have all been blind and we still would have aced the test.

Before the written exam, the LTO people handed out reviewers whose questions and answers were the same as those on the actual exam (though their computers print out random questions on the questionnaire — so 'di pwede answer key — but do it badly, since I encountered one question three times in my 40-item test). The posters surrounding us in the exam room also detail the various traffic rules, regulations and street signs you'll encounter in the test.

The practical was easy. The guy just had me move the car forward, and then backward. My only worry was the vehicle used for the test: an ancient Volkswagen Beetle, which I'm pretty sure violated more than a dozen LTO regulations — it was tipping to a side, was rusty and muddy, didn't have working seatbelts and lights, and lurched and handled like crazy — yes, I got that from just the two straight lines I had to make.

What did I get from all this? That most people who enter LTO leave with a day sucked out of their lives, that they earn their licenses because of perseverance rather than skill, and that the government is still a funny and sad old little man.

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