Adventures in red tape

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.



  1. Francis W. Porretto »

    1 July 2011 · 5:38 am

    (chortle) That’s why I always use my full name, including the middle initial. At one time — and possibly still today, as I haven’t checked in years — there was a Francis A. Porretto here on Long Island. Indeed, she and I are the same age — the “A.” stands for “Alice” — and attended the same university at the same time. Whenever I went to pay a bill at the Bursar’s office, the payment was credited to her account. It took two full years — and an unknown number of years off my life — to discover this.

    Conclusion: Change your name to something no one else would use. I suggest “Dragomir Z. Slivovitz;” no one is using that one, at least in the United States. And of course, you can insist that it be pronounced “Charles G. Hill.” For the convenience of your friends, admirers, and debtors, of course. (Creditors? Who cares about them?)

  2. fillyjonk »

    1 July 2011 · 6:19 am

    I was going to remark that perhaps one of the benefits of small-town life is an easier time at the DMV, but now I see the root of your problems.

    There are at least three other people Known From Google that have my same first-and-last name, but one is in the UK, another is younger and of a different ethnic heritage. And at any rate, neither of them have committed crimes. The third is actually dead. (And it’s creepy to read about a child abduction and murder case when the victim has the same name as you do).

    My main end/start of the month frustration is when I forget and try to go to the wal-mart on the first of the month. (Speaking of crimes committed: if I ever stab someone, it will be then and there.)

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