On a recent Friday at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Wilmington, MA I got in line at 12:31 pm. I waited in line almost an hour just to get my number. I had the title of the 2003 Honda Civic that I bought. It has only 44,341 miles on it. My once in a life time auto deal. So what if the fuel gauge is broken. That will get fixed next week. I can get the CD player fixed then too. The motor purrs like a kitten.
The counter woman at the DMV asked me, “Where is your proof of insurance form?” I didn’t bring one. She told me I would need to drive to my insurance agent -gasp, I thought, 128 is already a mess- and they would type one up. She added, “If you called your agent might be able to email you the info. The DMV has a computer and printer set up for folks who need to print out paperwork.”
I immediately called Archer Insurance in Beverly. Alexa there had me email her a photo of the new title. (Thank you KR for my iphone!) Within minutes I had printed out the required proof of insurance.
I went back in line for another half an hour. When I got to that same clerk I handed her the title and proof of insurance and she said, “Now you’re cooking with gas.” She gave me number A231. It was now going to be a two hour wait more to get the title, registration and plates done. The DMV only accepts cash and checks. I brought $300 bucks with me. Surely that would be enough to satisfy the Commonwealth.
Since I hadn’t had lunch I went to the cafe next door. There American Chop Suey hit the spot. After my lunch I wandered back in to the DMV. They were now on A208. This gonna take a while. So I drew a Thursday envelope for my buddy Garlic George. Then I drew Madness at the DMV on the paper and clipboard I brought with me.
At 3:55 A231 came up. I went to counter number 8. The woman there took my title, grabbed the license plate, and handed me a bill for $374.06. Ahhh! I didn’t have enough money. She said I could go to the ATM across the street. I didn’t bring my ATM card. I foolishly didn’t bring my checkbook. This clerk told me if I did some how get the cash before they closed at 5 pm to just to come back to her. She said I didn’t need to stand in line again.
At first I figured I’d have to go home then come back on Tuesday to pay. Then I remembered I had picked up my last paycheck from READBoston that morning. So I walked across the street to the bank there begging them to cash my paycheck. I even told them I would open an account if they wanted me too. The bank clerk said that wouldn’t help me because they hold all new account funds for five days. Then the clerk told me, “This check is written on People’s United. They are just down the road.” I raced to that bank, they cashed the check, I got back to the DMV by 4:30 and handed the clerk $380. She said, “Wow, you made it to Beverly and back quick.” I explained it was People’s United that saved the day.
It took her about 5 minutes to dig up my 94 cents in change to give me. I laughed guessing that most people don’t pay in cash. She just smiled saying, “We are glad to accept your greenbacks.”
I left the DMV with my new registration, new plates, and $374.06 poorer. I wondered why I my own foolishness makes me do things the hard way. Believe it or not though I was happy. Everything was all set with my new car. I headed home smiling.