Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Can you be from 3 states at one time?
How appropriate that my father has become an officially licensed heathen (i.e. resident of California) on National Pagan Holiday or whatever evangelicals call Halloween while still buying Snickers in bulk...for the children. His free gift with purchase was a fair amount of attitude from a woman in a multi-colored wig which was apparently not a costume (again, I apologize Shelisia) and stickers that make his Grapes of Wrath truck legitimate but only in the sense that it is not illegal to drive it. It is still illegal to think you’re cute in it, as I am continually reminded each time I must commandeer it to transport him for the purposes of physician visit or yarn procurement.
This has been an arduous process the likes of which I have never seen. When he moved to this great state in September 2011, his tags had expired the previous month. When I asked him about it, he said he’d get around to it sooner or later.
As the sole driver of said vehicle, I was jouvous every time I drove it, afraid that I would get a ticket for expired tags. And CHiPs are serious about tickets out here, believe you me. If you don’t know what CHiPs means, you are far too young to understand my humor and should laugh at random intervals so grown folks think you ‘get it’. And that nervousness was apt when I was stopped back in January for an illegal U-turn while attempting to steal a prime parking spot outside Armadillo Willie’s BBQ. If it hadn’t been for the scooter in the back of the truck I would have noticed that the car directly behind me was a full-on police car with lights and everything.
When I got out of my Daddy’s truck wearing kelly green chinos and said, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see the ‘No U-Turn’ sign; it’s my Daddy’s truck and I’m not used to driving it”, the cop took pity on my misplaced preppy self and only gave me the U-turn ticket. I informed my father that we were getting tags post haste or even faster.
To make this story as short as possible, I have been attempting to get him California plates and a license since February. We made it through the written test communicating across the room with more signs than an indecisive little league first base coach. California requires you to take a written test if you are from another state, regardless of how long you’ve had your license. And the rules out here are different and weird. There are questions about smoking in your car (illegal), phone use in your car (illegal except when dialing 911) and other random things about light rails, child seats and something about twin babies in a back seat that both I and my Daddy both missed and still don’t understand.
Once he had the license, we could get the tags. That’s when I realized we were in for a treat with the lovely people at the DMV. My father had, in his assortment of ‘portant papers, a Colorado license plate, a Louisiana registration and a title that had been transferred from Mississippi to Alabama. When I asked how that was possible, he accused me of being too picky. When I informed him that it was the state of California and not I that wanted these three items to be from the same state, he told me I was just trying to figure out a way to make him look dumb.
So, cut to me, spending four different days of vacation time over several months attempting to get unwilling state employees to tell me what was acceptable as they changed their minds more than a political candidate. Then I had to contact the respective states, finance companies and insurance companies to get the necessary paperwork while mi padre sat and watched loudly complaining that it was taking too long. Don’t make me type out the thoughts that ran through my head because they are not fit for mouth or print.
I don’t know if the impending legality of his method of transport was the primary motivator for change or he was simply inspired by the political climate, but he decided very recently that he can drive himself to the doctor. He was forced to drive himself while I was away for 9 days in the last two weeks. However, upon my return he decided that he was fully capable of taking himself to and from his appointments for the foreseeable future.
This past Monday, I was headed to work around 7 o'clock in the AM while my Daddy had an appointment at 9:30. That he left the house before I should come as no surprise. I was so excited about it the prospect of a day not interrupted by the use of family care leave to cart him home that I took a photo of his truck when I was behind him at a red light. It’s a strange photo because his scooter with side mirrors looks somewhat like a ghost from Pac Man wearing Mickey Mouse ears, but it was a beautiful sight indeed. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I would’ve posted it to the blog and not actually written anything. Alas, it is not worth that many words, but it was worth about that many calories as I celebrated with a turkey and cheese croissant from Palo Alto Baking Company which is serendipitously on my drive to work, if I take 5 extra turns and go about a mile and a half out of my way.
And the driving of himself has continued to his appointments yesterday and today and tomorrow. I know that is a lot of appointments but we (the doctors and I) are trying to fix everything from bad feet, gnarly toenails and obesity to poor circulation, lung disease, diabetes and depression. There should be a reality show about ‘refurbishing’ my Daddy to some semblance of good health. We could call it ‘This Old Redneck’. I’d be the unwilling family member, forced, do you hear me FORCED, to share the screen and subsequently steal the spotlight and finally get my own TV show that everyone’s always talking about. And when I say everyone, I mean me.
And that is all I’m saying.