Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bureaucracy

Hello, and welcome, all you hordes of Mountain Xpress readers and please god, tell me you’re not friends of my mom. She’s excited about my picture being in the paper – hell, we all are. Right? Right? And now, the gratuitous use of the word fuck: fuck! We do a lot of that here at Hangover Headquarters. Also, we say Jesus H. Almighty Christ sometimes, which is a good old Irish Catholic curse much beloved of my father and if it bugs you, go away.

Anyway, forget the introduction. Today we will be discussing, among other things, the horror that is the Innsbruck Mall. Whoa. The Innsbruck Mall is a zombie mall, a lurching, shuddering undead thing plonked down on a particularly unsavory part of Tunnel Road. Why am I thinking about the Innsbruck Mall on this bright Wednesday? Well, it has come to my attention that a) my car inspection sticker has expired which means that b) my car registration has likewise expired and c) my driver’s license has somehow faded so it’s illegible.

I knew about the inspection sticker but it was brought rather more forcibly to my attention at a roadblock over the Labor Day weekend. The very nice cop smiled at me – it helped that C and M and the dogs were all in the car, so we looked all nice family-ish, ah, how appearances can deceive! – and told me I needed to get that done right away, since it expired, um, a while back. Like a month. Okay, July – but that’s almost August and August is only barely over so I sort of thought maybe it didn’t really count.

So it’s been about two weeks and I’ve seriously sort of been trying to get all this sorted out, without much luck. I tried to renew my registration on line but unfortunately, it turns out I still owe Buncombe County money from my vehicle tax. Naturally, you can’t pay this at the same place where you go to renew your registration – that would be too easy. You must go down to the courthouse to pay your taxes and go through the metal detector and up to the third floor and then pay the whopping lump sum of SEVEN DOLLARS to the nice lady behind the counter and THEN you go on over to the Innsbruck Mall.

Well, first you go to the creepy little Ingles behind the Innsbruck Mall, because the tag people don’t take credit cards and thus you must buy lettuce or something and get cash back. The creepy little Ingles, which is entirely staffed, as far as I can tell, by senior citizens and slowish seniors at that, is still there, by the way, in case you, like me, were vaguely wondering. It’s still horrible too. It hasn’t changed since, I would guess, about 1974. Neither, for that matter, has the Innsbruck Mall – the stores have all gone, to be replaced by thriving businesses like the tag office, the genealogical society, the Carolina Hair Academy and a few desultory realty/lawyer offices that reek of despair. The whole place reeks of despair, actually, starting with the tangible smell on the escalators and, well, escalating by the time you get into the drooping, miserable, broken down main plaza, with it’s sad linoleum floor and forlorn kiosk advertising some children’s hospital that isn’t even in Asheville. And then the line for registration renewals was out the door and I waited around for a while, but the futility of it all got to me and when the Muzak – god, why Muzak? – started playing, I kid you not, a horrifying Muzakified version of John Hiatt’s Ethylene, well, I had to leave. Or slit my wrists, one or the other.

So I have to try to do all this again tomorrow as well as get a new driver’s license. Why do I need a new driver’s license? I need one because the state of North Carolina, in it’s infinite wisdom, is using some kind of bargain basement laminating on their licenses that rubs all the info off and you can no longer see my birthday, height or weight. This is just fine with me, as I feel that that information is none of anybody’s business and, let’s face it, I don’t get carded anymore.

Well, until yesterday, that is. Yesterday, I went over to the Orange Peel to get two tickets to the Meat Puppets (which I am DAMN excited about wahoo!!! Who’s going? Let’s all go! It’s gonna be awesome! Woot! For those about to rock . . &etc. Yeah.) and the girl at the counter told me that they probably wouldn’t take my license and thus probably would not let me in the door. At first I scoffed at her and said, look, my daughter is now over 21, okay, so get a grip, but now I have become infinitely paranoid and, while it would be kind of fun (at my advanced age; we cougars have to get our lameass fun wherever we can, okay?) to be not allowed into the Orange Peel because my ID looks fake, well, it wouldn’t be as much fun as the Meat Puppets. So wish me luck as I venture yet again into the NC DMV. The Patton Avenue ones, this time.

4 comments:

Gordon Smith said...

Instruction Manual for Patton Ave. DMV:

Have all necessary forms of I.D. In a pinch, you can bring your college diploma plus something else, but this is embarrassing.

Bring a book. You may be there for 15 minutes or three hours. It is impossible to know. You may the only person in line when you arrive, and you still will not know how long the wait will be.

Don't take it personally when the angry woman behind the counter makes fun of you for some small infraction of secret DMV etiquette. She will punish you for taking it personally.

Don't try to look good for your picture. The person taking your picture will somehow sabotage any effort you make to appear attractive.

The place is a hate garden. The longer you're in there, the more you can feel it grow in your heart.

Good luck.

Edgy Mama said...

I just learned today that you can call and make an appointment to have your license renewed with the DMV. Then, you don't have to wait in line!

I'll be at the Tunnel Road one in the morning replacing my stolen one.

HMS said...

We moved here 4 years ago & the creepy old Ingles was the first grocery store we visited. I get chills just thinking about it.
I still haven't relinquished my current license for a NC drivers
license & since it doesn't expire until 2010 maybe I'll wait....

mygothlaundry said...

Man, I think if that Ingles had been my first supermarket in Asheville, I would have turned around and moved. Anywhere, really. Anything to escape the terror of the cashiers at that Ingles.