Last time I was with my family we had this conversation where I was talking about how anxious I am. Being late and not being prepared are things that make me anxious. I manage my anxiety by planning, writing notes, keeping on top of things and being prepared.
I’m not suggesting that this is the best way to be. I’m just saying this is how I am and this is how I deal with it.
During the family conversation I mentioned that I always make sure I have gas and before I close my car doors or trunk I always check my keys.
My sister cracked up and said: I never do that.
The other critical thing to know about me when reading this story is that I do not have a spontaneous bone in my body. Someone could come running over and say: The ghost of Elvis is jamming with the Pope, let’s go. And I’d be like: Will it be crowded? Is there parking? Do we need tickets? How long will it last? Should we eat dinner first? Maybe it’s better to stay home.
The Passion Play in Oberammergau is a BFD. They only do it every 10 years and it’s outside and like, 5 hours long. You can only be in the production if you’ve lived in the area forever and the men all look, um, rustic, so they can look natural. The play has been going since 1624. Read the history. I don’t want to watch anything that takes 5 hours if it doesn’t involve hobbits or jedis, plus it wasn’t going on while we were there, but we did wander by a rehearsal and this donkey would not go into the theater. The bearded man with his carrot and gentle voice couldn’t coax him. Even the dog couldn’t help. They tried another door but the donkey was having none of it.
This is all a set-up for the story where I tell you that last night I was writing a check for my car tags when I realized that they already expired. I’m one of those people who can roll through a stop sign in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night and still manage to get busted for it. Life is much easier for me if I just follow the rules.
The notice came while we were on vacation and when I got home I realized I needed Bob’s Drivers License number so I set it aside for when he returned. And then it got set aside again. So when I finally got around to dealing with it, it was already late.
I live in Washington. I work in Oregon. Automobile licensing is open from 9-5. The only way I can take care of it in one day is in-person. So I left work early. The express bus has a stop near the licensing office. I could jump off, get my tags, jump back on and get to the park-n-ride and be done with it. Easy.
This ski jump is in view of our hosts’ home. The Olympics were in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936. I was able to take part in a senior ladies ski jumping class one afternoon. Just kidding.
Except I didn’t notice the part about how I needed my smog test until the lady in the licensing office pointed it out to me. After I’d already waiting in line for a half hour. The old notices used to say at the top in huge highlighted bold letters: You need an emission test this year. Now they don’t use color to save money. They just put it in normal type in a bulleted list right between: you need new tags and you need to write a check.
At this point it’s 4:15. I still need to walk back to the bus stop and wait for the bus to the park-n-ride. I’m guessing that emissions testing closes at 5pm. It seemed impossible but I decided to try anyway. A bus I don’t normally take but says “transit center” arrived a few minutes after I got to the stop. I jumped on. The whole time my heart was racing like I was about to rob a bank.
When I was looking up the licensing office locations the night before, there was a whole list of affiliate offices including some that didn’t close until 6pm but I didn’t print it out or pay attention because I was going to use the one by the bus stop. In my head I tried to remember where I’d seen one.
This was our second day and we were waiting in the Munich train station. I ran off probably to buy candy and when I returned I noticed the sign above Bob’s head.
Meanwhile, unbelievably, I was back at my car by 4:35. The emission station wasn’t too far away, but it was rush hour. I tried to take a short cut which failed but I was quickly routed onto the right path and I arrived at emissions testing at 4:47pm. Two cars ahead of me.
I passed the emissions test at 4:57pm. Woo! I had no idea going so close to closing was good strategy.
I finally remembered where I’d seen a licensing office: next to the liquor store I use by Safeway. Double-woo! I zoomed over there and by 5:20pm I was walking out with my tags.
Actually one tag because to save money we only have to do the rear plate now.
Whew. I can relax again.