It is important to remember that despite having an unhealthy interest in thrift store fashions and coffee shop writing sprees, and having a modest income and an even more modest sense of decorum in professional and intimate social gatherings, I have never had any problem advertising my ineptitude, apathy, delirious naivete, and oblivious ignorance of anything resembling good sense. In fact, I almost take a kind of demonic, or rather demented pleasure in posting my foibles and scalawaggery on a public forum, the most obvious of which is this here blog, in which I freely mix both high-falutin’ linguistical percolations and down-to-earth twangy homespun ruminations, the combination of which is, I believe, lethal to a few marsupials and hordes of undead hobos.
The point is, I feel absolutely no shame in sharing my sins in gaudy detail. Most of my motivation lies in the fact that my life is, despite what you may have read on this blog or other social networking sites, not a barrel of monkeys, laughs, or rollicking good times. I don’t have a bad life. I just have a life devoid of much excitement, drama, or fierce terror. It’s mundane and dry, routine and structured, and not even to the point where I could claim with some deprecation that it’s “scary how boring my life is.” The best I can say is it’s boring how boring my life is.
So I snoop for methods which might elevate my posture every once in a while. Unfortunately, this usually involves a significant decrease in the size of my bank account (never a mountain of tires in its heyday) followed by a signficant increase in the number of times I say the word “frick.”
“Frick,” if you are not aware, is a euphemism for something far less kosher and far more satisfying to say. And though I generally shy away from the Duct Tape of curse words, sometimes it’s all you have left.
In my latest urge to expose myself to ridicule and generally good-natured ribbing from those in the know, I have flagrantly flaunted the law, skirting for nearly two and a half years the California state code requiring one to register one’s vehicle at the local DMV. My reticence at doing so was first and foremost a thumb to the nose. I admit this freely. It’s not often I get a chance to stick it to The Man, and when I do, it’s always in a lame and unobtrusive manner. You might say I’m passive-aggressive in my anti-Man stance.
Point in question: I dare not shoplift, not even a candy bar (though I’m desperate to try it in an MTV Real World kind of situation), and I cringe at any criminalistic endeavours more hardy than a foot pressed vigorously upon the accelerator of my Honda Civic in a zone that encourages excessive speeds. So my natural course of action was to simply not register my car.
I know. It sounds so silly and stupid in this setting. And it is, no matter how you slice it. But man, it felt so good flirting with danger, knowing every time I got in my car was an invitation to get rocked by the cops for expired tags. I still had my Virginia plates on my car, with 2005 boldly proclaimed in the upper right corner. I definitely wasn’t being subtle, especially with my car looking the way it does. It’s not exactly the paragon of unobtrusive vehicles.
But there was more than just thumbing my nose at the man. There was also the sense of justice. My tax dollars are already paying for quite a few things I don’t support on a moral, political, or economic basis. In my rebellion I was secretly and happily supporting my own code of ethics and justice. Even knowing it wouldn’t last couldn’t stave my cautious anarchy against the state. I simply lived “as if” and enjoyed life as it came. Like a man who discovers he has a terminal disease, I took pleasure in simple things like those who take registering their cars take for granted. The sun on my faded and bent hood, the wind whistling through my well-ventilated defrost system; the empty place where my stereo once rested. I had been through so much, and yet had survived. Why would I let anything else derail me?
So the months continued, and I and my car festered under the golden glare of the California sun, under the baleful eye of the watchful LAPD, and for two and a half years, we lived. Words, my friends, do not provide adequate coverage of the emotions, the intensity of this time. This time, my time.
But all good things come to no good end. Sunday morning, the Los Angeles City Police Department cited my car and had it removed from my street without my permission, which makes it stealing in my book, but because I’m good natured and I am nobody’s fool, the ire I should perhaps have felt was morphed into amusement.
I was less amused by the back-registration and impound fees I incurred today, but it all boils down to this one thing: without my erstwhile and momentary rebellion, I would not have such a tale to tell. As it is, I can say I have seen the light, my feet are back on the straight and wide (four lanes, crawling forward, with no music), and I am once again legally tendered in the service of the state.
Was it worth it? My bank account says no. But my heart, my blog, and my love for you says yes.