i think Missouri should change their state motto, for tourism purposes, to “Missouri Loves Company.”
so in a completely unexpected assuming of adult responsibility, as traffic was light this morning, i decided to stop at a gas station down the street from work and get my car inspected as my inspection sticker is due to expire at the end of the month. this was the same gas station where i may or may not (the former) have filled up yesterday morning and the guy got me to buy some kind of gas additive that cleans your engine and tunes up all the pipes and is good for 3,000 miles! i don’t really even know what that means, but he made it sound incredible. he also offered to inspect my car in 10 minutes tops and “will pass, no problem!” but i had to go so i said i would come back. and surprise, surprise to everyone, including myself, there i was this morning, in the customer waiting room, pleasantly surprised by the 50-50 gender composition of the auto mechanics.
i went to get a cup of coffee, and when i returned, the auto mechanic asked to have a word. “i’m sorry, i can’t pass you,” he starts apologetically. i have a history of barely-passed inspections so i am the antithesis of nonplussed. i wait for an explanation. “two things,” he says, “your left tail light is out and there’s also a crack in the cover, which you need to get repaired so you’ll have to replace the whole tail light cover before i can pass you.”
are you serious?!
photo courtesy of Flickr and dbking
ok. here’s my rebuttal.
1) the only way i know one of my tail lights is out is if someone tells me because i’m oblivious, and since i’m not used to conversing with other drivers on the road, an inspection is the best place to learn if a tail light is out. this one’s a piece of cakey pie. we change the light. everybody’s happy.
2) now as to the latter matter…crack in my tail light cover?! it’s tiny! it’s a hairline fracture. how many gas stations of yore have smiled benevolently upon me and passed me despite what is really a tiny meaningless flaw in the grand scheme of things?! have sent me spinning merrily on my joyriding way?! what happened to the guy who assured me “will pass, no problem!”?! no fair. i want a rematch.
buh buh buh whyyyyyy?
photo courtesy of Flickr and 
then he tries to put a band-aid on it by saying this…
“the good thing is i can put a temporary inspection sticker on your car that will expire in 15 days, and then as long as you get the repairs done within 15 days, you’ll be fine, and you can bring it back for reinspection for just one dollar.”
and i’ll be honest. i felt better after that. he also said his people would call me with some price quotes for replacing the tail light cover. i felt even better. i felt like i was sailing on a lake with a cool summer breeze. ok, not that good, but i was trying to go to my happy place. even if i had to hitchhike there.
so i thank him and prepare to go to work, one failure and counting for the day. once i start driving, i realize something. i don’t have a temporary inspection sticker on my car (yes, i should have checked this before; no, i did not; yes, i am an idiot) but rather a huge REJECTION sticker. bigger than anything i would ever voluntarily stick to any part of my car. the rejection sign is so prominent, i’m sure aliens in outer space are clucking in disapproval. nothing about it says “i am safe for 15 days.” it’s a scarlet letter, and it stands for everything bad in the world. right now, my car is a renegade, a fugitive. it’s operating so entirely below the law that even a toddler wearing a policeman’s uniform would be qualified to ticket it. and for what?! a crack more slight than the one between most people’s buttcheeks?! nay i say. nay. it’s a sign so glaring that it makes my car look like a radioactive waste dump site. i’m being lumped in with people who don’t even have a fender?! or other people who took out all their car lights and sold them on the street for umbrellas and/or watches?! my poor baby. this just will not do.
here is New Jersey’s rejected sticker. subtle, no?
photo courtesy of The State of New Jersey
measures must be taken.