The Department of Motor Vehicles: Part I

I had to get my tags replaced on my car today. I was hoping I didn’t have to do since my tags expired this month of the year 2012. I was hoping the Mayan’s prediction would come true so I wouldn’t have to sit, wait, and deal with the happiest people ever. But they were wrong. The world didn’t end. No zombies appeared. No asteroid came crashing into our planet, and there weren’t any natural disasters to end life on Earth. With the world still going on, I decided it would be best to get new tags on my car. I’ll need to drive with legal tags and not have the constant fear wondering if the police will pull me over for tags that ended on what should have been the end of all humanity. With the fear of the law in my head and the disappointed of no zombies, I hopped in my POS car and headed off to get the tags and to have the relief that I am a law-abiding citizen with tags that are legal and up to date.

I turn my radio on. The CD is blaring some Third Eye Blind. I look at the corner of my windshield and notice that I really need an oil change. I am past due and I shouldn’t let this go any longer. Besides, I still need to get my car inspected. I don’t want there to be some strange unwritten inspection about not having current oil in your car when getting it inspected by a non-shady mechanic. The last time I got my car inspected was by some shady people. I think I was in and out in five minutes. He signs the sheets and tells me I have a nail in the tire. I guess all checked out? Nice. I should remember this place for next time. This was easy as hitting a Staples Easy Button.

I drive to my local Wal-Mart. I dislike Wal-Mart. I don’t dislike them as much as my mother does but I dislike this place because it always looks dirty and secondly, it’s Wal-Mart. I ask for the oil change. They swindle me into getting new blades if needed and replacing the filters if they need it too. I am sure they replace them either way. I walk away and browse the store. I walk past 2 Eastern-European men arguing about money and coupons. I keep walking, passing other characters that you will only find at Wal-Mart. I spot the couple with the bratty kid who won’t shut up and the gal who rather than dress up in something presentable, decides to throw on shoes (or slippers) and head to Wal-Mart to shop in her dirty, ragged, and torn pajamas. You know you’ve seen them. It’s a staple of Wal-Mart. I can keep speaking about the wonderful customers that shop here and also speak highly of the sour and nasty cashiers they have but this post isn’t about Wal-Mart and it’s tarnish on neighborhoods and the economic world.

I sit down and wait. I keep busy with my phone. I don’t want to make contact with people and don’t want them to make contact with me. With my head buried in a game of Angry Birds, I overhear a couple of kids talking to what appears to be their grandfather about the toys they just bought. These boys who looked like the boys from, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, show their elderly chaperon the cool matchbox cars they got. The only perk to the conversation was not how many they bought (6 if you’re wondering) but it was the snarky comment the older Pete said about younger Pete.

He pulls out the cars from the bag. He holds them and waves them in the face of grandpa.

I got this one and this one.

Younger Pete tries to speak but he is rudely interrupted by Older Pete. Younger Pete holds the car in his hand and shows grandpa his toy. Older Pete sighs and rolls his eyes,

I don’t know why but he got Danica Patrick. I tried to make him get someone else. 

EverStartMaxxThey shoved each other and after some bickering, grandpa escorted the two rowdy gingers out of the second happiest place on Earth. People are funny. Gingers are funny. With my entertainment now gone, I figure it is probably best for me to check out my car. It should be ready. I get there. I see the car in the shop and that tells me my wait won’t be much longer. I pace around, looking at tires and batteries. I looked at A LOT OF TIRES AND BATTERIES!!! Wal-Mart sure does sell their fair share of tires and batteries. A woman now walks in to the store with a dog. This isn’t a seeing eye dog. This isn’t a dog that is aiding her with shopping or anything. It’s just a dog. It’s Rover. It’s Sparky. It’s effin’ Spot the Dog. Why is this dog in the store!? Why isn’t anyone doing anything? When did Wal-Mart become PetCo and let animals stroll inside their “clean” store? I don’t know the story behind the lady or the dog but she was with some guy who wasn’t from this part of the city. I don’t think he was even from Missouri. He was talking to this lady with the dog about how he used Siri to get directions. He got lost. I guess he wasn’t aware of the craptastic map service Apple gave us when they updated to IOS 6.0. No matter. This guy was talking about how beautiful our city is and praising it like it is Holland, the land of windmills, lots of bikes, and pretty flowers. My car is ready. When the guy returns the keys to me, I am informed that my serpentine belt is about to go. He tells me that I need to get it replaced. To overly exaggerate what he said to me,

“You shouldn’t even be driving this car! That’s how bad it is. I don’t even know how you got it here. I suggest you not drive it out of here. It’s going to go any second and you’re going to have a bigger problem on your hand.”

That’s not good. I should get that fixed. But I am not going to listen to a Wal-Mart employee. What does he know? I will drive this car where ever I please. In fact, I am going to drive it to NTB to get it looked at and get them to replace this belt that I need fix, ASAP. I really hope I make it. In case you’re wondering, I am being sarcastic. I wasn’t worried. I was 100% sure I was going to make it to NTB. It wasn’t a trip I wanted to make. This oil change is getting expensive. I pull into NTB. I explain the guy behind the counter my problem. He is all peppy and excited about “poppin’ that hood and having a look!” I am all cool with his cheeriness but I just don’t need that stuff rubbed on me. I just want to get my car the tags they need. I just want to be a legal and law-abiding citizen. I can’t do that if I am stuck here because some guy at Wal-Mart is telling me my serpentine belt is in need of replacing.

He pops the hood. Looks good. Not everything does. One thing does need fixed. No, not the serpentine belt. That’s all find and dandy. It was a water pump belt that needed repairing. I saw it too. It was pretty bad. It was torn and looked like a piece of Christmas ribbon that’s been torn and pulled it. It was my water pump belt. Sounds made up. I am not a car person. I can’t tell you what is what. I know nothing about cars. They work on gas and need a key to start. That’s about all I know. I could be getting screwed over and told lies about parts that don’t even exist but I don’t care. I am the kind of person who would pull my car to the side of the road if someone told me my blinker fluid was leaking. I just want a car that runs. Spending money sucks but just fix that belt in my car that’s frayed. I need to get my tags. I need to get going. I got places to be. The annex building is waiting on my arrival. Those happy and always smiling ladies want to help me without rolling their eyes or talking down to me like I am a stupid, little child.

I opted to stay at NTB while they worked on my car. They were going to fix the belt, rotate the tires, and give my car the inspection it needs so I can get the tags I need to be that legal and law-abiding citizen. I watch CNN and hear about the fiscal cliff a few times and listen as the reporters talk about how America is falling apart because of school shootings, debt, and the Kardashians. I asked once and I’ll ask again,

“Who broke America?”

Now, going to the mechanic is never just a simple task. You go in expecting to get those tires rotated and get that oil changed but it is not that easy. There is always something. There is always something to put a little bigger dent in your wallet and add a little more stress to your life. Turns out, my car, the one I thought just needed an oil change, needs more than just a quick fill of some well needed Pennzoil. The mechanic comes into the waiting room and like a doctor delivering bad news, motions me to come with him. The outlook is grim. He lets me know that it isn’t serious but it needs to be taken care of quickly or I’ll be facing a bigger problem than just a broken water pump belt…that is, if the water pump belt is even real.

Correct me if I am wrong but how can it not be serious and also need to be taken care quickly at the same time? That just doesn’t make sense. Anyway, it turns out that this problem with my car had something to do with the sway bar. Whatever that is. He should me it. Tells me that is should only move when the tires move. It shouldn’t move when I tug at it. Then don’t tug at it! Why did a basic and cheap oil change turn into a bigger and more expensive outing? I was not ready to be told that my car needed work. I was not ready to hear about this fictitious “water pump belt” that needs fixed. But since he put the fear of my car not being able to pass inspection with these issues, I better just fork over the money or I could just bend over and let him continue to (expletive action). He shows me the damage this will do to my bank account. He asked me if I am okay with it? No, I am not. I don’t want to drop 300+ dollars on this. I already spent money getting my oil changed. But I need my car. I need it to make money. I make money to spent it on the car that gets me to the place to make the money. See how it goes? It’s never ending. If you are reading this and shaking your head at my stupidity about the money spent, eff off. I already told you that I know nothing about cars. I am happy that you do. I really am. But I don’t give two sheets to the wind if you build an engine with toothpaste and an old Rolex watch. I can’t. I don’t know anything about cars. That’s why I bring it to places like NTB. These people do. I pay them do fix the crap I don’t know how to. I wait more. Another man walks in and sits near me. He is getting some tires put on his car. He is dropping 1,000 dollars on tires. Um…why? He does let me in on how this will ruin his night of “strippers and booze”. But seriously, dude!? You’re spending 1,000 dollars on tires! That’s crazy. It’s a load of malarkey!

With 300+ dollars out of my account, I cry about the money that I once had. This day was not turning out very well. I woke up with the intention of getting the oil changed. I then was going to get the car inspected. I was sure I was going to get a gold star on that and afterwards, after all is well in the kingdom, I was going to visit the ladies at the DMV to get my tags. I was hoping for a two-hour errand at most. But no. This turned into an all morning and afternoon event. With my car all fixed and the fake parts replaced and in working order, I head home. I wasn’t in the mood to see the happy and charming ladies at the DMV. I will do that tomorrow. I will finish it up tomorrow and I will get my tags for my car. I will get those tags so my car will be tagged legally and I can be happy and proud of myself as a legal and law-abiding citizen. But you know me. Things never are simple. Things are never just black and white.

To be continued…




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