February 2009

18 Feb 2009 [link to here]
the direct approach

I've been enjoying coffee's energizing effects, but today I learned that it's counterproductive to pour it directly onto the computer.

24 Feb 2009 [link to here]
loose ends

A funny thing happened at the DMV fourteen years ago. I'd recently paid off my car loan, and in a comedy of paperwork, the DMV swallowed up my only copy of the proof without recording it. California thought the bank owned my car, and I couldn't prove otherwise.

Considering how infrequently the bank asked to borrow the car for the weekend, this didn't seem like a big deal. It might be a problem when I tried to sell or otherwise dispose of the car, but in the meantime, getting it straightened out wasn't particularly urgent.

It sat quietly at the bottom of my to-do list for a dozen more years, in the company of other important chores like "learn French" and "prepare for earthquake", until a friend pointed out that the bank might not even exist anymore. Or maybe they'd had a fire. Or perhaps they discard old files once it's been so long that no reasonable person could possibly need them. If none of these things had happened yet, it might be a good idea to sort things out before it became impossible. All good points, I thought, resolving to deal with it soon. In fact, the bank did exist. I jotted down their phone number.

One morning just two years later, in a burst of industriousness and prepared for an arduous struggle, I called the bank. I quickly reached a real person and told her what I needed, without regaling her with the fascinating tale of how I came to be in such a pickle. Without any fuss at all, she told me what I needed and set off to mail it to me.

I thought this smooth service was a little unfair, given the length of my run-up. After putting it off for so long, it would have been polite to make it more difficult, to help me feel my delay was warranted. But no, I soon received a single notarized sheet of paper that essentially said "he paid us, we're good". I immediately made a photocopy.

With the bank out of the way, I no longer had any reason to rush things. The task had taken on symbolic significance on my to-do list, a shining example of procrastination I might enjoy vanquishing, but this only resulted in a vague desire to take care of it one of these days, once again without any sense of urgency.

I might have let it sit another fourteen years if the DMV hadn't asked me to drop by. They had a funny notion I might have aged visibly since my last photo, ten years prior. This was the motivation I'd been waiting for. If I dealt with it now, I might be able to avoid returning to the DMV until 2019, or until I upgrade my license to include flying cars, whichever comes first.

So I brought everything in, and without any fanfare at all, it was done. The clerk even made me a copy of the bank's document, just in case.