Thursday, July 23, 2009

The State of the Union

I'm a little over a month into my suburban relocation experience and I thought it time for my "State of the Union Address...Asshat edition".

For those of you that missed it, I recently took the State of Georgia Driving Exam. As a result, the rules mentioned in the Drivers Manual are pretty fresh in my mind. I even researched questions that might not have been listed in the Manual. I discovered the following:

1) There is no state requirement for you to leave your turn signal on for three miles after you turn/change lanes...pull your head out of your ass, moron.

2) Similarly, there is no rule or law that I can find that forbids you from actually using the turn signal to announce a turn and/or lane change...I know it's tough to walk and chew gum at the same time, but a little effort might help those around you.

3) It's not mandated that you change lanes to the left and immediately slow down. It's actually encouraged to maintain speed (or actually increase speed) if you enter the "fast" or "passing" lane. Travelling in aforementioned lanes at or near the speed limit while traffic in the lanes to your right speed by you does, in fact, make you a motorized asshat.


I pulled in to meet a friend at a local watering hole the other day and parked next to a guy in an older Jeep Cherokee. His doors were missing, as was his tailgate.

Me: "Aw, that happened to a couple of buddies of mine up in Brooklyn. Sorry about that, bro."

Kentucky Fried Motorist: "Whuu-uutt?"

Me: "Your doors. I'm assuming they were stolen."

KFM: "Hell no, I took 'em off. It's summer!!!"

Me: "Ummmm, you realize it's been raining off and on all day, right? That's why the inside is wet."

KFM: (looking amazed that I didn't understand) "You ain't from around here, are you?"

Me: "Actually, born and raised. I did something like that when I was about 17. I stopped when I realized how tough it was to get everything reattached properly and I got tired of being wet." (translation - I stopped being a dumbass)

I was told later by my dear betrothed that this was not an uncommon occurrence among the denizens of North Cobb near the lake. To this phenomenon and the participants, I have but a single question... "What the hell is wrong with you people?"

General Rants

1) If you are truly confused by the drive-thru menu at any fast food establishment, and can't order your burger and two happy meals in less than 7 may be too dumb to breathe the air I might otherwise destroy with a cigarette.

2) I'm a fan of maximizing your consumption of "the good stuff" at the Golden Corral. I absolutely understand the theory of not filling up on bread, or salad, or other items of less expense so you can cram as much meat, desert, and more expensive items so you get the most for your $9. That being said...Really? Dude, you have gravy on the side of your head by your friggin' ear. Really?? Hmmm, you have pizza on your plate,,,topped w/ a slab of roast beef,,,partially concealed by two pieces of chicken,,,complemented by a dousing of white gravy,,,w/ a mountain of ice cream w/ chocolate sauce on the side,,,all on the same friggin' plate. Did you think they were going to run out of anything, or were you just too lazy to use multiple plates, or were you afraid carrying two plates might make you look like a pig? News Flash...If you have gravy and chocolate sauce on the same plate, it's time to consider stepping away from the trough...Really.

3) If you really can't manage to turn your phone off while dining in a nice restaurant, can you at least take the earpiece out of your ear? It's not a status symbol anymore. On a similar note, if you absolutely must take a call in said restaurant, or on a crowded bus, or other crowded public area, please let me know ahead of time. I'd like to meet you there to punch you in the neck as a bit of relief to the people around you.

3a) If you're using your phone as mentioned above in an elevator...YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE RECEPTION YOU FRIGGIN' MOUTHBREATHER!!! SHOUTING WON'T HELP!!!! Please exit the building, drive up into the hills and allow yourself to be dragged away by the first mountain lion available. Sometimes even Darwinism needs a kickstart, and there's no reason an asshat like yourself can't do his/her part.

The New Family

For those of you entering into new living arrangements with members of the opposite sex, this is for you. There are also a few points dealing with the instances of moving into a home with pre-existing children.

Day 1:

Me: "Honey, I'm gonna grab a shower. Where's the soap?"

Her: "In the shower." (pointing) "Right there."

Me: "Ummm, this isn't soap. It appears to be a bottle of rejuvenating body wash w/ moisture beads and ancient sea widgets to exfoliate, cleanse and propagate the degeneration of testosterone within the species."

Her: (rolling her eyes) "It's soap."

Me: "Does that mean we don't have any soap?"

Her: (reaching into the closet and producing a bar of Irish Spring - Yay) "Here you go, sweety. I wouldn't want you to feel emasculated by the soap."

Me: "It's not soap. Where are the wash cloths?"

Her: "There's a couple in the shower."

Me: "There's a couple of things on strings that look kind of like a cross between a flower and a tumbleweed."

Her: "There you go."

Me: "So, we have no wash cloths?"

Lesson learned? Men have men stuff, women have women stuff. Never the two shall meet


In an effort to maintain fair reporting and the integrity of this blog, I do hereby offer the following:

Many years ago, a roomie extolled the virtues of babywipes for that extra little oomph of freshness, particularly after dropping a particularly gnarly deuce. The other day I chose to partake in this refreshing practice, as the deposit I had just made would, if made in a combat zone, been classified a war crime.

Only after removing the wipe and drawing it perilously close to the soiled area (the tainted taint, if you will) did I glance again at the box.

Authors note: Though they look similar, baby wipes are NOT interchangeable with Clorox Sani-wipes. Unless you're looking for a scented bleach enema, read the label. Here endeth the lesson.

Question of the day:

Bigger loser/stalker/manipulator/douchebag...Peyton Wellesly or Lanier Thames?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fear and Loathing at the DMV

Upon my recent return to the land of my birth, I found myself venturing into that 7th circle of hell that all suburbanites must deal with...the DMV.

Having lived in the City for a decade, and therefore having no need of the use of an automobile, I had let my license lapse several years earlier. Now living in suburbia, I girded up my loins and trudged into the new and improved Division of Driver Services (known as the DDS). Evidently, they were seeking to avoid the negative connotations of the previous name - the dreaded DMV, and changed it.

Upon arrival, I was surprised to find an open, well lit expanse with 21 windows for service, most of which were manned. This was a far cry from the tiny, dimly lit DMV I had previously dealt with in my previous suburban life. Might they have actually improved things?

I entered shortly after 4 p.m. and presented myself to the Gatekeeper (the old gal at the reception desk) and explained what I was there for. She promptly issued me a numbered ticket and paperwork to fill out. I took a seat and began filling out said paperwork. Before I could complete the line marked "address" my number had been called. I was a tad dumbfounded.

Approaching the assigned window with great trepidation, I spoke with a friendly older gent. After explaining my situation, he directed me to finish filling out the form and wait for my number to be called for the written test (since my license had expired, I would need to take both the written and road tests). As I was walking back to my previous seat, my number was called at a different window. Wha?????

I scurried to the next window, scribbling furiously. Another kindly old gent spoke with me while I completed my paperwork. After punching information into his terminal, he assigned me to a terminal where I took the written test for the next 20 minutes or so. Once the test was completed, I returned to the window. He told me it was too late to get a road test in, but if I came early the next day, they could have me taken care of in short order.

Total time in DDS approximately 40 minutes. Total time waiting approximately 20 seconds. Could this be?

The next morning, I was third in line at the door when they opened the office. I waited about 15 minutes and was called to take the road test. After completing the test, I waited a little less than 10 minutes to be called to another window, ostensibly to pay my fee and have my picture taken. Once my number was called, however, things took a decidedly DMVish turn.

The lady at this window told me my license had a "hold" on it for unpaid tickets in Atlanta. I was stunned that it was even possible for tickets to stay in the system for over a decade. I'd have to contact the City of Atlanta and straighten things out with them and get a letter of clearance before receiving my license. After that, they would hook me right up, I was assured. Fine.

As it was Saturday, I had to wait til Monday to begin the next leg of my Odyssey. After spending the better part of an hour on hold, the gent helping me told me I didn't exist. After further explaining when these tickets were issued (11 and 12 years earlier), he transferred me to another office. I then spoke with a nice lady that said I did, indeed, have tickets on my license. She told me the tickets had been dismissed years earlier, though. *sigh*

Me: "So, what do I need to do?"
Nice Lady: "Just come down and I'll give you a clearance letter."
Me: "Oh, so no fines?"
NL: "No, just come get the letter."
Me: "Oh, well can you fax it to the DDS, by any chance?"
NL: "No, we don't do that, sorry."
Me: "No problem"

The next day, I went down to the Atlanta Municipal Building w/ a spring in my step. Sure, it was inconvenient to go all the way downtown, but it could be worse...right??? Oh, yes. It could surely be worse...and it would be.

I approached the window, explained the situation to the man working. After being met with a blank stare for several moments, he pushed a form through the slot in the window.
Lazy City Employee: "Fill this out and bring it back to me. You can pick up the letter in four days or so."
Me:"Ummmm, four days?"
LCE: "Yep. We'll call if it's earlier."
Me: "Are you fucking insane? How can it possibly take that long? The lady I spoke with yesterday said it was basically walk in and walk out."
LCE: He shrugged "Don't know what to tell you."
Me: "You can tell me it's not gonna take a week to get this done. That's absurd. I'm gonna need to talk to a supervisor, this is totally unacceptable."
Sighing deeply, he removed his ass from the vinyl of his chair and trudged out of sight for several minutes. Upon returning, I was told I could pick it up after lunch. Recognizing it would do me no good to attempt a neck punch through the security window, I retreated.

After killing several hours with the friend that had driven me downtown, I returned and retrieved the letter. Armed with the document, I hauled my butt back to the DDS to spend some more time with my new cadre of friends.

Upon arrival, I explained everything that was going on to the lady at the reception desk, who assigned me another number. Things didn't move as quickly as the previous two trips. An hour later, my number was called. The guy at this window told me I would now have to pay reinstatement fees for each individual ticket.
Me: "But I didn't even owe fines."
Surprise Guy: "Still have to be paid."
Me: "You guys can't even tell me what the tickets are for. How could they all have resulted in suspensions, simultaneously?"
SG: "Can't say."
Me: "Ummm, if you can't say, how can you charge?"
SG: "It's how it works."

THIS is the DMV I remember. All rules, no logic or interpretation.

I stopped trying to rationalize and handed over my credit card. After running it, the guy looked at me and asked "What about South Carolina?"

"What about South Carolina?" I returned.

"You've got a hold in South Carolina."

"One - I haven't been in South Carolina in 20 years. Two - It's after 5, couldn't someone have told me I had a problem earlier today, or the last time I was here? I could have it squared away, by now."

"Don't know what to tell you."


The next morning, I called the SC DMV and got things squared away. They were looking for a shakedown from literally 20 years earlier that I had no idea was even on my record. Ugh.

The following morning, I was back at the DDS (the artists formerly known as the DMV).

"Please. Please don't hit me with any more surprises" I said to the guy at the window.

"Well Mr. Martin, I have good news and bad news."

I began scanning the immediate vicinity for blunt objects.

"The bad news is you won't have to come back anymore."

Were they banning me from the office, now that they had extracted all the money they had asked for?

"The good news is, you can go to the window and get your picture taken and get your license."

Oh, Happy Fricken' Day!!!!

Total time spent - 6 days
Total time spent on the phone with various agencies - 3 hours
Money spent - Don't ask

Old DMV slogan - "Don't know what to tell you."
New DDS slogan - "Don't know what to tell you...but open your wallet and bend over."