Day 31: Im headed back to the SLO airport for a grueling turnaround to exhume my passport from its safety deposit box back in Virginia. All so I can get a California drivers license. Oh and BTW Cambrians its raining. Its not just raining; its a wicked, howling onslaught. Let the record reflect that in my first month in Cambria it has rained FIVE times.
Todays tale begins at my first post-move Sandy and Charlie concert when super-nice Sandy and Gale advise that I can make an appointment at DMV to get a drivers license. You mean, have an actual appointment instead of waiting in line for hours? How marvelously efficient!
So, I make an appointment and expend $10 in fuel motoring to SLO only to be told that: option one, you need your passport; or, option two, you need BOTH your birth and marriage certificates. Ah, no, I didnt read the pamphlet in advance, silly me. I was under the impression that the Republic of California (ROC) was part of the USA and that my Virginia drivers license would suffice. Mine is (another) expensive boo-boo.
Of course, Im glad to see my mother and stay in her chic, well-appointed condominium. I just wasnt expecting to be here less than five weeks after Id left. One week later, passport in hand, I head off to my second DMV appointment. I pass the drivers license test, although it takes two tries as California law is fraught with unknown perils. Next is car registration. I move my car as directed into the verification lane, ring the bell and wait and wait some more. I go back inside and the man behind the counter (well call him Mr. Not Me) says he has heard my rings but he is too busy to help. He suggests I come back in 2-1/2 hours, after the lunch-hour rush. Oh, and move your car, you cant park it there. Totally drained, I return to the beleaguered receptionist who is genuinely perturbed. Apparently having an appointment does trump all. She reports Mr. Not Me to his supervisor, who asks him about the conversation and Mr. Not Me denies it. Hes 50-plus years old. Sigh. Some people never outgrow recess.
It gets better. The supervisor performs the verification but explains the car registration process cant be completed without an emissions test certificate. I schedule a third DMV appointment. A week later, I learn something that blows my mind. Apparently, the ROC doesnt require any kind of annual vehicle inspection, just the SMOG certificate every two years. Now, let me get this straight: the most populous state in the country will register a car whose owner may choose not to maintain even the basic fundamentals (tire pressure, oil change, engine warning lights)? So, when said car has a blow-out or other mechanical failure causing destruction and mayhem, we can all take comfort (in our last gasps) that the derelict drivers derelict cars emissions were not the cause. Thats a load off.
Segue to He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (William Butler Yeats). My favorite poem. Had I the heavens embroidered cloths I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Ive shared my dream of coming to Cambria, hopeful and determined, scared and excited, etc. I came with an idealized perception of unworldly proportions. Then, reality bites. Cambria and Cambrians are special but still part of planet Earth. And the reality is that, wherever you live, there will always be people who want to tear you down. How do bona fide artists, public servants, sports greats stand it? (Talent? Ambition? Money? Grit? All of the above?).
Recently, Ive been subjected to three nasty, verbal attacks in four days, totally out of the blue. Bam! Pow! Eyaahh! Two happened on Happy Hill! Misnomer? I think not. Ninety percent of my experiences thus far in Slab Town have been very supportive and positive. So, Im shaking off the naysayers. I dont know what they do when life hands them lemons. Personally, I dont make lemonade; I make a margarita.
Next up: My Kingdom for my Horse!
Email Elaine Horn via email@example.com.