that nobody knew I was going to get my break tag today…I would have thought someone was playing a really elaborate practical joke on me..
Okay, first off, I’m really proud of myself, because I got up early, got Sammy ready and dropped him off at preschool. Then I headed to the break tag station armed with registration and proof of insurance. Yeah, this was going to be my day. I would get my break tag, stop and get paint, and paint my son’s rocking chair before he got home from preschool..
I pulled up to the station, gathered the needed paperwork and headed inside. While the nice young man, named Ernest, looked at my paperwork, I got my fresh crisp, new from the bank, twenty dollar bill, from which I would be receiving ten dollars in change. I stood there, smile on my face as he looked at my documents, and looked, and looked. And then pointed…at my registration…
I looked at him with a puzzled expression. “Your registration,” he said, pointing at the document.
“Yeah,” I said, “that’s what it is.”
“Look at the expiration date.” I had to put my glasses on at this point. June 2009. What???
“I must have another one in the car.” I told him quickly.
“I sure hope so.” He replied.
I ran back to my car, and searched, and searched, and searched…Nothing…
Meanwhile Ernest had come outside to help someone load something in their truck. He turned back to me and I said, “I can’t find it, I don’t understand what happened…I have a current sticker on my license. I saw the look on his face and looked at my license. June 2009. Oh My God, what had happened to me?
“I don’t understand why I didn’t get a renewal notice,” I told him.
“They don’t do that anymore.” he told me.
“I’ll be right back.” I said and got in my car. He sort of saluted me and walked back into the building.
And so about a half an hour later, I end up at the DMV. I am delighted because there is only one other customer in the whole building besides me. This could be alright after all, I remember thinking. The lady waved me over immediately. I explained my situation and gave her my documents and she looked over them, typed some numbers into the computer and said,
“I can’t do anything for you, there is a block on your registration.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Something about a lapse in your insurance.”
“But I pay my insurance on time every month, it gets pulled out automatcally.” The lady then reached for the paper that all people like me get who have a block on their driver’s license or registration. It had the addressess of the branches that I could go to to fix the situation.
“But if my car is parked in your parking lot, are you asking me to illegally drive 25 miles in either direction to get someone to fix this?”
“There is a 1-800 number you can call also.” She circled it with her blue pen.
“Can I use your phone?”
“We only have one line.” yeah right…
So I go and sit in my car in the parking lot of the DMV and call the toll free number. After a half hour of sitting on the phone, a guy comes on and tells me there is a block on my registration because my insurance policy got changed in 2007 and the insurance company failed to tell them. This was a problem that I had dealt with in 2007, by the way, which was why I had a June 2009 sticker on my car. He went on and on to say, if only I had called. I tried to explain that I didn’t know they hadn’t fixed the problem, but he wasn’t hearing that. Finally, I just said,
“If I go back in there right now, can I get my new registration?”
“Yes maam, the problem has been fixed.”
“Thank you, I don’t need to hear anything else.” I praised his name and even though he wanted to explain more, I finally convinced him that it wasn’t necessary and went in and got my new registration and tag.
But it wouldn’t be fun for the fates if it ended there…Yep, there’s more..
I stopped at Michaels and got the paints for Sammy’s rocker. Some pretty good sales going on..Crafters may want to check it out..I get in the car with my goodies, later to find that the checkout lady did not put the bag with the paints for Sammy’s chair in my cart. But wait…there’s more….
So I get back to the brake tag station. Ernest looks over the paperwork. It’s finally all in order. I pay him and he takes my keys and brings the car around back. Five minutes later, he is back. He plays with the stuff on his desk for five minutes, before pulling out the orange book. In retrospect, I think it is because he is afraid I am going to have a meltdown right in the middle of his office. He then very gently explains to me that the tint on my front two windows is too dark. Apparently there is a certain percentage of tint you can have in the state of La and the law has been on the books since 1984, but nobody decided to mention it to the residents of the state until this year. So now, I get an ugly little orange sticker. I tell Ernest that I am going to cry. Ernest tells me that it is going to be alright. I tell Ernest that I don’t think so. Ernest refers me to a place that he thinks will probably not charge me to pull the tint off because I am trying to get my car to code.He tells me to tell them that they sent me. I get in my car once again and head, past the courthouse with all the police cars and finally make it to the tint shop.
The tint shop empathizes with me completely. It’s been hurting their business because they can not sell darker tints. But they must charge me fifty dollars to remove the tint, 110 if I want new tint. I hand over the fifty dollars now thoroughly disgusted with my plight. I look over at the wall of vhs movies the owner of the shop has been taping evidently all his life. Hitch is now in his player and the guy from King of Queens is showing Will Smith how he dances. Will tells him to never do that again. I want my car…now….
And finally someone drives it out. I get in and now it stinks from whatever solvent they used to remove the tinting. I drive over to Ernest’s shop, get out of the car, walk in, look at him and say,
“Oh no, really.”
“Yep.” I wasn’t mad, just resigned for this to all be over.
“Well then, it looks like I owe you dinner…”
“No, you were just trying to keep my legal. You just did your job..It’s cool.”
“You mean I don’t owe you dinner?” he says, in that way that makes you realize that this guy is hitting on you…
“No..uh..just keep doing the awesome job you are doing and that’s thanks enough for me..”
He was still nice after that, which I found commendable. He put on the new tag, I got in my car and said,
“See ya next year, hope there are no new laws I have to watch out for.”
And I drove away.
My daughter came to visit tonight. She stopped and picked up the paints for me on her way here..
I don’t think I’ll have problems sleeping tonight….
Thanks for letting me share my day with y’all..
Onward and Upward!