Saturday I dropped into the local tag agency and paid a ghastly sum for a little rectangle of plastic with a barely-legible 2012 on it, and having finally learned to remember the expiration date on my driver’s license, I decided that 0.5 stone per bird was a more efficient use of my time, and ambled over to the other side of the building to do the renewal.
And HAL balked: “I’m sorry, Dave.”
“Dave’s not here,” I was ready to point out, but my lack of Daveness notwithstanding, HAL refused to yield, and I was directed to the nearest Driver Examination Station under the auspices of the Department of Public Safety. (Any similarity to any other state’s DMV is probably justified.) Which, it being Saturday, was closed.
First chance I got to break away from the salt mine was this afternoon. Now you should know that “nearest” does not necessarily mean “near”: the only station in Oklahoma City proper is on the far southside, which meant a trip to either Yukon or Edmond. I opted for the latter, contriving to arrive 75 minutes before closing. This got me a 50-minute stay on what you’d get if they’d ordered chairs to match the Group W bench, after which I was admitted to the Inner Sanctum. I presented all manner of paperwork, as required; the high priest punched several thousand buttons, issued me a slip of paper, and bade me return to the tag agent, with the promise that HAL would keep his trap shut.
It was at this point that I realized the folly of this whole operation. It was the last day of the month. What was I thinking? Still, in for a penny, in for a euro or three, and after fighting a whole battalion full of ardent members of the Anti-Destination League, I arrived at the tag agent, to find 18 people ahead of me with thirty minutes to go. Collars, as they say, were getting hot under.
Still, I kept some semblance of cool until the transaction was completed and I was safely out the door and I noticed the 107°F on the dashboard.
Now what caused all this brouhaha? You can charge me with contributory stupidity for trying to do this on the 30th of a thirty-day month, but the real culprit was some feckwit of similar name and description who was wanted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for various unspecified high crimes and misdemeanors. Driver’s-license compacts being what they are, the Keystone Kops asked everyone else to keep a lookout for said feckwit, and of course, DPS and HAL were happy to oblige. (Now of course I’ve been to Pennsylvania, but having dinner with the prettiest girl in Philadelphia is not, so far as I know, illegal.) I have no idea what material DPS had to review to persuade them that I wasn’t the drone they were looking for — they’re not about to give away trade secrets — but I do wish to express my desire that the perp be caught and beaten to within an inch of his life.
Come to think of it, make that half an inch.