Wednesday, January 11, 2006


My new sneakers make me feel younger. Ironically, my new sneakers are exactly the same as a pair I had in high school.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Dirty. Mind-numbing. Violence.

PENNDOT, I spat bitterly.
I had to visit them in person today. Again.

I recently paid off my car (the good Volvo, not the rust bucket. I paid for that one with an ashtray's worth of change) and just got the title in the mail.


"In order to release the lein on your vehicle, you must present this document at your DMV to clear the title."


So I stood in line for 25 minutes last Wednesday, checkbook in hand, waiting around at the giant deli counter that is the PA DMV - or PENNDOT. It's like Russia in the year 2100. There are some many goddamned windows, they actually have A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H before the three digit deli numbers. Do that math. Not to mention, the only people that go to the DMV at noon are A) me and B) the kind of people I'd only ever run into at PENNDOT. Scary people. People dealing drugs on their cellphones while they wait to fill out the necessary paperwork to pawn their cars. Or whatever. Oh - lots of SICK people. People who take the day off to sleep off the Avian Flu, then decide they'll knock out that pesky registration renewal.

My deli number comes up and I approach the counter (window 18), where a very fat, humorless woman says "How are you?" in the tone you'd use with someone who just backed into you in the parking lot. I present my form, my released title and fiddle with my checkbook. Her eyes glance at the paper - she flips it over - then pushes it back to me. "Is your wife here?" No. "You'll need to have her sign this paper - and have it notarized."

Rage courses through my dilating veins.

I grab the form and walk briskly out of this swirling cesspool of germs and hate.

So I was ready today. I was ready for the second time I'd be denied. I had the form (notarized the shit out of it - I'm talking 'meeting-in-the-whitehouse' iron-clad goddamned legal). I had my checkbook. I had my title. I had my deli number.

I strode up to window #14 and slapped the necessary paperwork in front of a different, fat, unhappy woman. "Is your wife.." she began. "It's notarized." I snapped. She looked down at the paper, defeated. She gragged her keyboard in front of her and proceeded to peck out some shit that would make booking a transcontinental vacation look easy. What the fuck was she doing - retyping the whole fucking title? She asks me for my money. I open up my checkbook. I just used the last check.


I excuse myself and sprint to the ATM (they actually have an ATM at PENNDOT).

When I return, deli lady is helping a person who is wearing bags for shoes. She hands him his new title without asking him about his wife. Her eyes slide to me and she says "You're back." like I'm a recurring infection on her ass.

She types for another ten minutes. She looks at me and says "I'll be right back with your title." I watch her gingerly exit her chair and amble off to the only printer in the entire building. She returns, tearing the paper tracks off the edge of the printout (seriously, they MAKE parts for printers like that anymore? You'd think at 22.50 per title, they could upgrade their system to include a couple nice Epson ink jets at $135 a pop.) "I almost forgot" she says, folding the title, "I have to mail it to you since your wife isn't here."

You're fucking kidding. Bags-for-shoes can get a title handed to him but you don't trust me enough to hand the title to me in person? Is there some FLAG on my account?

My blood pressure is definitely elevated when I get back to my (already-have-the-title) car.

Bags for shoes drives by in a late 90's Lexus.