Friday, October 22, 2010
Surviving Hell unscathed - My trip to the DMV
As difficult as this last year has been , I have tried my best to be a good citizen by following all the rules. I pay my taxes, obey traffic signals, signal before turning, and even helped an old lady cross the street (I'm not kidding I almost got killed crossing).
I passed a smog check and paid for my registration more than 1 month before it was due. Fast forward to last week.
Location: Anaheim,CA on Brookhurst Bouelavard. Situation: getting pulled over by a cop. Flashing lights behind me. I pull over, open the window, and I don't move. I'm Mexican. Sudden movements on my part can result in bone-shattering damage. I know the routine.
"Insurance and registration please"
I hand over the cop a mountain of papers that includes what he wants.
"I ain't going to read all of that..."
The cop continues, "looks like your registration expired"
"What do you mean?" (my ADD is now in full effect)
"It means your registration is expired!
"Sir I just got word that my registration has arrived by mail..."
"Hold on for a second" (he takes my i.d to make sure I'm not a fugitive on the run. I'm Mexican after all and well, you just can't take them kind of chances.)
"O.K Israel here you go, make sure you take care of that"
The loads of laundry should have tipped him off that I just finished doing laundry but who the hell needs logic these days
It turns out that the DMV papers said that I CAN'T! register my car because I was invloved in an accident and the other people's insurance deemed my car a "total loss" even though only my trunk was damaged. On paper, my car is not operational.
That's when the panic sunk in. What If I can't register my car. What if cost me $10,000 to fix this problem. What if (insert worse case scenario here).
I couldn't sleep. I'm neurotic and anxious to begin with. The sheer thoughts affected my dreams including getting raped by gobblins. (not true but added to ehnace the story.) But then I remember a phrase from a book I read. It simply states:
ACTION CURES FEAR.
I took action. I went to the DMV and the people in the Costa Mesa branch were really helpful. They realized they were dealing with a dummy so they simplified things for me. #1 do this #2 then do this #3 etc.
Turns out I had to get a light,break,and smog exam. Missing was the break and light exam. An old mechanic changed all three lights basically for free. I gave him $20. The mechanic referred me to a Vietnamese man that checked my brakes and lights but made me buy yellow lights for the front lights. After replacing them, I passed. They charged me $80 for this but for using a debit card, they wanted to charge me $3.50 extra. I tried hard to get this waived.
"Can I get a Mexican special and not pay the $3.50?" I asked the Vietnamese lady.
"Sorry you have to pay it."
"How about the Vietnam special?"
I tried playing the race card to no avail.
I took care of everything and I just need to go back to the DMV and get new license plates.
I learned a few lessons:
1- Perception is oftentimes worse than reality.
2- Having your card deemed "total loss" means getting new license plates.
3- Vietnamese people are difficult to barter with.
4- Cops are still assholes and will pull you over for no reason.
5- There are still nice people that are willing to help you out like the mechanic and the DMV people.