To: Bash
From: Owen
Re: Tangled Up in Blues

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After tomorrow my car is officially like Airwolf. No, smarty, Ernest Borgnine is not coming over to ride shotgun. I mean it will be a vehicle whose existence is not acknowledged by the government.

That's thanks to the California DMV. In mid-August, after I moved here, I started the process of registering the car here. Because it's financed, the credit union back in San Jose has to get the title, send it to Salem, Ore., and then they get an Oregon title and I get my plates. The bank did its job. The California DMV somehow managed to lose the title they'd printed up. And thanks to some law whose purpose escapes me, California won't let you request a title more than once in a 30-day period.

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Now, my California registration expired at the end of August. Oregon lets you get two 21-day temporary permits within a 365-day span. So my 42nd dayis tomorrow and then the vehicle will be officially unlawful to operate. I was told the DMV had honored the request for a replacement title on Sept. 28 but it'll still take three weeks from then to print it and probably another two for it to go through the mail twice and reach Oregon.

I'll look on this as a positive, and a way to test out if I really am dependent on the use of a car. Springfield and Eugene have an excellent bike trail system and I take advantage of it regularly. In fact, I have not gassed up my car since Aug. 22. The car is a great convenience, and frankly, the social stigma of not having one is part of why I'm not considering selling it. But it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had no car.

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So tomorrow will involve a large laundry run, and a big trip to the grocery to load up on all of the big things I can't stuff into a backpack. And then the car goes dark until I get my plates. Which means I'll be riding a bike to the mall for Brütal Legend tomorrow and Borderlands the week after. Believe it or not I can do this on bike trails, which actually has me fired up.

But yeah, California. I'm not at all surprised. I don't think any state employee there gives a crap anymore. Not that I blame them.

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