Friday, February 26, 2010

My Car vs the DMV... I think my car is possessed!

 My car has a mind of it's own and apparently it has made up it's mind that it does not want a valid license plate.  It has been battling with the Seretary of State's (SOS) office, License Plate Division, since I bought it almost a year and a half ago and apprently is not ready to give up the fight quite yet. 

In September of 2009, I managed to kill my 11-year old minivan by trying to drive it through a large body of water... I know... not a smart idea.  Later that week, after all attempts to revive the minivan had been unsuccessful, I purchased my seafoam green 5-year old Chevy Trailblazer.  The death of the minivan and subsequent purchase of the Trailblazer occured two states away from home and it was an enlightening experience in many ways.  But that's not what our little story here is about.  This is the story of what my Trailblazer has been up to since that time.

Since I bought the car in another state they told me it could take up to a month to get the title transfered to my state.  They gave me a temporary plate from the dealer that was set to expire one month from the purchase date of the car.  A week later my boyfriend bought a car and got his plates that same day... I was so jealous!  A month came and went and there had apparently been no progress made on the title transfer... it was bogged down in red tape somewhere in one of the state offices.  This didn't bother me much, except that my temporary plate had the expiration date written on it in big giant black marker and I really didn't want to get pulled over.  So, I called the dealer and asked for a new temporary plate.  That is when the fun began.  The dealer said they couldn't give me a new plate because that would be illegal and assured me that they had sent everything to my State office and it should all be resolved shortly.  This didn't sit too well with me, so I went to my local Department of Motor Vehicles (ah, the DMV... always a fun errand) to find out what the State was doing with my title (my first assumption was paper airplanes, but I still can't confirm this).  The DMV told me it could take several months to process everything and that the dealer had to give me a new temporary plate.  The popular rock and hard place saying was now coming to mind.  Fortunately, the people at the DMV were being especially helpful that day and called the dealer for me.  They arranged for me to get a new temporary plate (which I had to drive to the dealer, 2 states away, to get) and said everything would be fine.. until next month. 

This headache went on for over three months before the title was finally transfered and I was able to apply for real license plates.  Everytime I looked at my temporary plates, I got the feeling the car was giggling at me, but that would be crazy on my part, so I ignored it.  I got the license plates, installed them on my car and went on my happy, carefree way.

One week after getting my plates, I went to get in my car after working a full day to find it sitting there without license plates.  They had vanished while I was at work... mounting hardware included.  At this point, I think the car was out and out laughing at me, but I would get this fixed one way or another. 

The next day, I spent my lunch hour at the DMV getting a set of replacement plates with a new number.  These replacement plates have now been on my car for a year... which means they must be renewed.  You can renew license plates at any currency exchange around here, so I went to the closest one last Friday to get my renewal sticker.  Unfortunately, they were unable to find my current plate number in the system.  My old (disappeared) plate number was still in there, but since that wasn't the plate on the car they weren't able to renew anything.  I was going to have to head back to the DMV to get things corrected... yippee!

I drove to the DMV first thing Saturday morning.  You see, I had forgotten to get them renewed in time and my plates were 2 weeks overdue and now that I found out they were invalid, I was a little paranoid driving the car around.  If I got pulled over it would mean a huge headache and probably a court visit.  Upon arrival at the DMV Saturday morning, I discovered that Saturday was Washington's Birthday, which the DMV feels compelled to close for, despite the fact that they had already taken Lincoln's Birthday and President's Day off.  This means an entire weekend of driving around in a car with non-existant, invalid plates... not my idea of fun.

Today, I was finally able to get back to the DMV to get this corrected.  I had been there so much last year that the woman remembered me by name!  She and I had a good laugh about my car not wanting license plates and she said it would be easy to fix and I would be out the door in 5 minutes.  She updated my plate info, handed me a paper to take to the cashier and told me to come back to her after I paid so we could verify that the new plate was in the system.  You may think at this point that the DMV has finally outsmarted my car, but think again.  When I got to the cashier I was told they couldn't process the renewal because my car needed an emissions test!  The cashier said the first person I talked to could probably get me an extension and to go back and ask her.  Well,  to make a long story short (at this point that might not be possible), the computers on one side of the room at the DMV thought my car needed an emissions test, while the computers on the other side of the room disagreed.  I could see my car out the window grinning, thinking it had finally won.  After numerous trips back and forth across the room with various levels of supervisors, they finally called the main office in our state capitol and had to remove me entirely from the system and put me back in.  What should have taken 5 minutes had now taken almost an hour, but the DMV and I had finally beaten my car.  I rushed outside with my victory renewal sticker and placed it on the rear license plate.  I was finally driving a legally licensed car... a filthy legally licensed car.... I really needed to get it washed.

So, after all my turmoil at the DMV, I took my car over to the carwash to get spiffed up.  This particular car wash lets you sit in the driver's seat as your car is pulled through the tunnel and cleaned by various forms of hanging clothes and squirting water.  At the end of the tunnel there is a huge dryer your car passes through before exiting the car wash.  Just as I was getting to the dryer, I watched  from inside the car as my front license plate shot off the front of my car, arching high in the air like a projectile missile, before landing about 20 feet ahead of me.  This was just too much!  The car wash attendant handed me the plate through my window exclaiming, "You car must really not like it's license plates.  I've never seen that happen.  Usually if they fall off they just fall straight down but yours rocketed off the front of your car like it was shot from a cannon!"  I was too busy dissolving into fits of laughter to answer... if he only knew!

Tonight my car sits in the garage.  The front license plate is still inside the car on the passenger seat and I am sure my car is currently plotting the removal of the rear plate as well.  The DMV and I may have had a brief victory today, but my possessed car seems to be winning the war.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! That is just too funny. Just think of the movie!!