Going to the DMV, (Division of Motor Vehicles), is a harrowing experience for most. However, I have been blessed with good DMV/Car Karma, so the visit is usually painless. I arrive with a book and lunch, expecting it to be a day trip; but I am in and out in 2 hours flat; having barely read a few pages. This was the case when I brought Bubba the Bus in for titling and registration. I arrived at the dreaded San Francisco DMV; which is the black hole of them all; but, two hours later, he had been visually inspected, verified, titled and registered; and I was on my way. It wasn’t even 10:00 a.m. on a Monday. That’s just good DMV/Car Karma.
It’s always been this way for me, from the time I careened across Watt Avenue in Sacramento to stop at a yardsale and crumpled my tin can car under a Dodge Dart. The CHP Officer arrived and laughed at my audacity–(a lot of CHP officers have laughed at me, which leads me to believe they are a jovial bunch), the Dart drove off with barely a scratch on his bumper and I had dinner at The Outback Steak House, with the tow truck driver, who hauled my car away, (which leads me to believe that tow truck drivers make more money than they let on). Or the time I was delivering sandwiches in a deli truck and realized too late that the off ramp I was taking, was closed. After running over countless plastic cones, some stuck to the underside of the truck, the CHP officers arrived and asked if I saw the ‘Closed Road‘ signs; ‘Well yes,’ I said, ‘After I went through it.’ In the end, I was able to feed the CHP Officers–(California Highway Patrol) the freshly made sandwiches and went along my merry way.
I have never had a ticket or moving violation, unless you count my jay walking crime, which landed me in court, but, that is another story.
I knew I had good car/DMV Karma while working at Starbucks Corona del Mar, California; making the typical rich folk lattes. Every afternoon, my double tall, decaf, non-fat, 2 pumps sugar free vanilla man came in. His name was Jake and I was enchanted. He was a self-professed ‘new age doctor’, tattoos running up and down his arms, raven black hair and biker jeans. Basically, my kind of doctor. One day, while making his beverage, he began to complain about his 16 year old daughter. He had bought her a car, a yellow VW convertible. Since, I lived in Laguna Beach, it was basically my dream car. He told me, and I remember it verbatim; “Heather, she is just not deservant.” I remember the word ‘deservant’, because I wasn’t sure it was a word; I’m still not. I replied, “well, you could always give it to me, Jake,” and laughed.
A couple of days later, he came into the store, handed me an envelope with a signed title and said, “Here, it’s parked across the street. You are deservant.” Some girls might say things like, “Oh no, you can’t,” or “it’s too much” or “I couldn’t.” I’m not one of those girls. I said, “thank you,” and I really meant it. I named her Lucy.
I promptly took the car to the Costa Mesa DMV to get the paperwork done. As I was waiting, I hear heels clacking on the linoleum floor, and a woman in a frantic state, dashes in. In a stricken voice, she takes over the loudspeaker and inquires who owned the yellow VW in the parking lot. Since the car was a stick shift, I momentarily wondered if the brake had failed. Had I forgotten to put it in park? Had it crashed into someones Beemer? I considered slipping out the door and catching a bus back to Laguna, but, I approached and told her it was mine. She quickly took me by the arm and guided me towards a group of men in ill fitting suits. They ushered me towards the parking lot, all of them talking at once, explaining, placating.
The situation was, the City of Costa Mesa had been working on the road, hit a water pipe and, for lack of a better term, a geyser had sprung loose and filled my convertible with water, like a fish tank. It was the funniest thing I had seen in a good while, and I burst into laughter. They were alarmed, assuring me that they would compensate me; quickly followed by asking me to sign a disclaimer, which I readily did; prompting them to wonder if I was in some sort of shock. “It’s just a car,” I told them and continued laughing at the sight. I asked if I could go to the front of the line and if they would waive my registration fees, which I did and they did. I put plastic garbage bags on the seat and floor and drove it back home to Laguna Beach, water squishing about each time I pushed the clutch in, which made me laugh all over again.
I had a lot of adventures with Lucy; some legal, some not so much.
A few years later, I had been shopping on La Brea in Los Angeles. I had an eBay store called Retro Rita, in which I would find funky vintage items, sew fringe and tulle on them and sell them to the Burner community. It was a Tuesday afternoon on the 405 freeway and Lucy caught fire. I got out of her, pulled my Hefty trash bags full of soon to be Burner clothes out from her back seat, and stood on the side of the freeway and watched her burn. Cal Trans showed up 45 minutes later, but Lucy was dead. The man from Cal Trans asked what kind of car it was. I told him a VW. He nodded knowingly, “Uh-huh/uh-huh,” he agreed. “You know,” he said, “the only cars that ever catch fire on the freeway are VW’s.”
“Good information,” I ackowledged.
A tow truck was called to take my car away. “You’ve had a pretty rough day,” the driver observed.
“Hhhmmm…I don’t know,” I said, “it’s just a car.”
He smiled at me and said, “Do you wanna grab some dinner?”
“Sure, I could go for some Outback Steakhouse.”