Friday, October 31, 2014

A Case of Overkill (of Me) by the DMV?

(UPDATE: I found the problem with a call to the DMV. Seems when I co-signed for a young friend to buy a car nearly a year ago, I took on a whole lot more than backing up a loan. I am responsible for the insurance on the car, as well, and when it was threatened with lapse in April, everything fell to me. I thought we had taken care of the problem, but apparently the DMV saw it differently and didn't get the proper documentation from me, so, as it turns out, this really is my fault. It also proves the adage, "No good deed shall go unpunished.")

OK, so last night about 9:30, I'm on the way home from a poetry reading at Hollins and I get stopped by the Roanoke City constabulary for a minor violation, one which warranted but a warning citation. During the course of checking out my driver's license, however, Sgt. S.F. Maffee discovers that my permit has been suspended since April.

At first, I think he's joking, but then I remember: cops don't joke. No sense of humor at all. I ask why the suspension and he explains that the DMV apparently sent me a letter in April asking for verification of my liability insurance, a letter I never saw. When I didn't answer, the heavy wheels of unforgiving bureaucracy kicked in and the license was kaput. Maffee says the DMV then sent me a letter telling me I'd been busted. Never got that one, either.

Mafee told me that the DMV sends out these letters "at random" occasionally to make sure people are not lying in their annual renewal of auto registration. It's a spot-check. And it's unforgiving and brutal, more totalitarian than democracy.

I've had automobile insurance continuously since I bought my first car nearly 50 years ago. I respond to mail immediately, especially bureaucratic mail where the sender can scream "Off with his head!" if provoked. There would have been no reason for me not to respond. Ask my Traveler's agent. I have insurance.

So today, Friday, Halloween, I get to find a ride to the DMV, discover what I need to do, get all the info together, go back, get rejected again for some minor reason, get further information, go back ... You get the drift.

And it's all because of a screw-up I had nothing to do with, a crime I didn't commit. Am I annoyed? Does a bear poop in the woods?

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