So I got into a little issue with the New York State DMV this weekend. Apparently -- to steal a line from Willie Moe -- they expect you to pay for car insurance every month! Long story short, they took away my personalized plates (fine they weren't personalized, but they had the word "ARM" in them), as well as my car for safe-keeping.
When you used to having as-needed transportation, taking the bus throughout the Syracuse City limits is sobering and humbling. Having to be on someone else's schedule is something I am just not used to, and having to walk from bus stop to bus stop is brutal sometimes. I got lucky that it was in the spring and not the dead of winter. [Sidebar: why would the DMV north of the city have not one bus go anywhere near it?]
But basically my journey was like this:
- Taking bus from home to downtown; walking half mile to Erie Blvd DMV.
- Being told by guy sweeping up outside building that DMV had moved to Western Lights Plaza.
- Getting on bus I thought was going to Western Lights Plaza. Getting back on bus returning downtown.
- Getting on correct bus to Western Lights; going to DMV.
- Being told I had to come back the next day, because you cannot surrender your plates and get new ones on the same day (even though they were technically surrendered on Sunday).
- Swearing at DMV.
- Helping old lady with her bags to get on bus; considering myself a hero.
- Going back downtown; getting off bus to run at top speed to catch next bus going near my work.
- Panting all the way to work; applying swath of deodorant.
But it didn't end there.
- Taking bus downtown.
- Waiting 50 minutes for next bus next to smell of garbage.
- Taking bus north; getting off at wrong stop, 3 miles from where I needed to go.
- Walking one mile in the blazing heat before saying "fuggit" and calling a cab.
- Taking cab driving by sweaty mouthbreather to DMV. ($15)
- Getting new plates and registration.
- Taking another cab driven by friendly Jesus freak to police station to get release order for my car. ($20)
- Finding out from ornery police department pencil-pusher that I needed to have a copy of the title, or else he wasn't going to give the release.
- Taking cab back to the DMV to get this title for $20 and a green receipt. ($20)
- Taking cab BAAAACK to the police station with the info I needed and getting my release. ($20)
- Taking final cab ride ... in the WRONG FUCKING DIRECTION because the cop at the desk gave me the wrong address. (The tow truck driver would later tell me he thinks that this cop purposely fucks with people.)
- Finally getting my final cab ride ($40) to a gas station where the tow truck driver picked me up to bring me back to my Cranberry-colored baby.
But here's the kicker -- and the irony, especially considering that my dear little brother is a member of law enforcement.
Out of all the people I dealt with on my 44-hour journey through the belly of the beast, almost all the people I dealt with were pleasant and helpful.
The tow truck driver, my main cab driver, the DMV folks, most bus drivers (although one of them was a fucking miserable asshole) and even the girl behind the bullet-proof glass at the Centro station (!) were all great, even if their circumstances limited how much they could help me.
Who were the two people that I dealt with who were full-fledged, grade-A bastards? You guessed it: the cops. The one that pulled me over, who said "You can sit in the back seat of my back car, I'm not going to cuff you." As if he had any reason to cuff me!
And the lifer behind the desk who sent me on a $40 wild goose chase when I could have just as easily called the tow truck driver first. (Apparently the tow truck would have come to the station to pick me up.)
My brother always tells me -- and I totally understand why -- that he gets annoyed when people talk back to him and say things like "I pay your salary!" That has to be irritating.
However, when police are paid to protect us, and they end up being condescending stewards for the DMV -- all the while ignorning real, heinous crimes -- it actually diminishes the great work that police do on a daily basis. People want to like police to protect them from actual criminals ... but when police go after the GOOD people (like me, you and all of the mostly law-abiding people we know), it makes them look like they just have chips on their shoulders and nothing more. The reason that people hate cops is not because they want to break the law unscathed; it's because they aren't doing anything wrong (at least morally), and are still getting hassled.
Anyway, my girl is back and it's great to be back inside her. Wait, that didn't come out right.