Thursday, May 12, 2005

Just Shoot Me

Here's another installment in my on-going automotive saga.

Being an ex-cop, I really do try to do things legally. Take for instance driving a motor vehicle. When I moved here to West Virginia back in September of last year I had driven my Ford Taurus from Arizona. At the time it was running good despite being fifteen years old and having well over 150,000 miles on the odometer. At the time it was legal, albeit registered in Arizona. I couldn't register it here because I didn't have the title for it, so I took my chances driving it for the time being.

About the end of October I started to loose coolant in copious amounts but couldn't figure out where it was going. The radiator was solid and the hoses all looked fine. Turned out it was the heater core. A big job. A really big job. Too costly to repair. So I put some stop-leak in and hoped for the best, adding coolant daily. This went on for the better part of the winter with no problems. All I had to do was add about a quart of 50/50 mix of water and coolant once a day.

But by this time my Arizona tags had expired and I couldn't renew the registration due to my ex canceling my insurance on me without me knowing. So now I was driving around with dead tags and no insurance. I had no choice at this point. Every call I made to my ex's attorney to get the title was a waste of time. I got nowhere with him.

Then my transmission started to slip.


I had to do something. I couldn't afford to sink any more money into the Taurus. Blue Book value on it by this time is only $500 and the repairs for the heater core and the tranny would have been well over $2000, not a really smart economics move to say the least.

So, about three weeks ago I found a perfect little get-around vehicle. A bare-bones transportation kind of hunk of crap. A 1988 Ford Ranger pickup. 4 Cylinder, 5-speed manual tranny, manual steering and brakes, no radio, no air conditioning. Perfect. All this for only $500.

A steal!

So I bought this little pickup, get my West Virginia tags and insurance.

I'm set.


Today I go down to the grocery store to get some stuff, and when I get back to my apartment and park, I notice a huge pool of liquid running from behind my right rear tire.

Brake fluid.


The brake cylinder is leaking. I'm not going too far with this now.

What the fuck!

So, luckily there's a garage right next to my apartment building and the mechanic will look at it tomorrow.


Just what I don't need. Another repair bill. The thing that pisses me off the most is that if I had the tools I left in Arizona, I'd be able to do the repairs myself. But my tool kit now consists of a flat-head screwdriver and a hammer. That's it.

The only bright side of this right now is I literally can walk across the street for work. As for the Taurus, I still have that, and I can't even give that to a junk yard because I don't have the title for it and my landlord has asked me about a dozen times when I was going to get it out of the lot.

I'm probably going to abandon it somewhere in the near future. I can't do anything with it without the title.

Here's another thing. I need to get my West Virginia driver's license also. Last week I went to the DMV to get one, finally.

I can't get one of those now it seems.

Patriot Act and all.

I have to have a physical address. Now where I live it's odd. The houses and business' on the opposite side from my apartment have street numbers and get mail delivery and everything.

My side doesn't. I have to get a post office box because I don't have a physical address. So I tell this bureaucrat at the DMV that and she wants to see a utility bill. I explain to her that all my utilities are paid in with the rent. I don't have any utility bills. I need some form of government-issue ID.

Well, here's my Arizona driver's license!

Nope, has to be a birth certificate. Bring in your birth certificate to prove who you are.

Now wait just a damn minute.

Here's a VALID photo ID, issued by the State of Arizona. Isn't that good enough?

Apparently not.

But they will take a thirty-nine year old piece of paper with no photo as proof of identity or a utility bill, again with no photo.

But not a goddamn driver's license from another state?

Again I think it's that all of the terror plots are being formulated buy us late-thirties white guys with military haircuts.

Maybe if I let my hair grow into a mullet (which apparently is the official men's haircut of West Virginia) the powers to be will stop singling me out as an Al Qaida terrorist.

I had to send to the Department of Vital Statistics in Philadelphia for a new birth certificate to let West Virginia know I was really born. That's going to take another four to six weeks.

So now I have two vehicles, neither of which I can drive, and an apparently worthless but valid Arizona driver's license that may or may not be me according to the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

But did you notice I could register my new vehicle here without proving who I was? I could have registered it to Micky Mouse and they wouldn't have batted an eye.

Please, just shoot me?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden


Becky said...

Hey, friends don't let friends grow mullets, OK? Seriously.

Ranger Tom said...

Never in a million years would I have a mullet...