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Welcome back, Steve! Sorry to hear your return was less than relaxing. My vacation ended up with stress, as well — although, in my case, it was because both Jeff and I came back sick. We got back on Wednesday evening, and when we woke up Thursday morning, we both said, “Does it feel like we never even went on vacation?!”

So, here’s my own little tale of woe for you and the massive Wren audience:

As you probably know, one of the sole positive accomplishments made by Arnold Schwarzenegger as California governor has been to pass a bill allowing owners of hybrid vehicles to use carpool lanes.

Three weeks ago or so, the DMV finally made the application available. I downloaded it, sent in all the requested information and my $8 and went on vacation. When I got back, I had a notice from the DMV saying that my request was “suspended” and would be released pending receipt of “needed information.”

What, I wondered, could be needed? I followed all instructions explicitly. One of the required documents was a receipt from FastTrak(r), a cleverly spelled ruse that requires you to pay up front to use the numerous bridges in the Bay Area. I had sent in my receipt, but now the DMV was telling me that the receipt did not show the license plate number and make/model of my car. I re-read the DMV’s website carefully, and, of course, nowhere does it say this information is required.

So, I called FastTrak(r), to ask them to send me the requested receipt. No, I was told, they cannot do that. Rather, they need a copy of my DMV registration to prove I have a hybrid vehicle. I will need to send them THAT information before they can send me ANOTHER form to fill out in order to claim the hybrid-HOV decal that they have kindly “set aside” for me. (They also cashed my check for eight bucks.)

I lost the paper on which I wrote down the FastTrak(r) address, so today I called FastTrak(r) again to get it. And guess what? The woman who answered today told me something entirely different! No, that’s not what I need to send in, she said. Rather, I have to download a different form from the FastTrak(r) website requesting a “new hybrid transpoder” for my car, which will cost another 40 bucks. After receiving this, I can then re-apply for the DMV’s HOV sticker, which has already been “set aside” for my convenience!

I am not sure what to think of all this. All I know is, I begin my commute to the Presidio next Monday, and even though I have been trying to get this sticker for more than a month, it now appears I will not have it in time, and will have to sludge through traffic with everyone else.

Sigh. Welcome to Big Government. I can only imagine what people in New Orleans and Biloxi must be going through.

5 Comments

Esteve Expounded Thusly:

Yeah, this is the age of misinformation. Call again. You will be told a third thing! I guarantee!

Well, I hope it works out smoothly and quicky. (What’s with the transponder anyway? That the hell’s THAT for?)

ARe you feeling better now? Was the trip good?

Monday, September 12th, 2005 • 5:03pm • Permalink

John Expounded Thusly:

The trip was fantastic. Except … making matters WORSE … Jeff called me from the doctor’s office last night. He didn’t have a cold or a sinus infection; it turns out he has (wait for it … you ready? really? wanna know? ok, here it comes …) pneumonia.

Yes, really. And, lo and behold, guess who else has it? No, not Edward and Lucy … me. Dammit.

So, the vacation now seems a distant memory, and the transponder thing will just have to wait. For now, I’m sitting at home stuck on e-mail, making phone calls and just enjoying having “walking pneumonia.” What a pain in the ass. Well, no a shot would be that, I guess this is a pain in the lung.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005 • 3:59pm • Permalink

Xena Expounded Thusly:

While Xena the Warrior Princess has never experienced (and never will, of course) walking pneumonia, She can commiserate with your humbling situation. Debilitating sicknesses are never enjoyable.

Good luck with the HOV sticker! Don’t give up, though, I have 4 Civic Hybrid owning friends who have already recieved and are thoroughly enjoying their newfound freedom. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2005 • 10:07pm • Permalink

Steve (long-winded) Expounded Thusly:

Walking pneumonia? Jesus. That’s like stroller cake, right? Horrifying! Well, I am sad that you are having such life issues right now, and would offer some kind of help, though, really, what could I offer? Only knowledge of the radio toaster. That’s what I can offer. (See above post.)

I saw a picture of the 2006 Civic hybrid. Sigh. I suppose this is what all Civics will look like now, and I am not pleased. Honda’s car designs are failing. BMW and Toyota completed their across-the-marque design sabotage recently (though the Z4 and Forerunner are okay). Honda’s been working on theirs for a while. The American car makers lost all sense of design eons ago. (Though, again, I seem to have a soft spot for the new Mustang. I know, right?)

Not that I’m in the market for a new car, but it would indeed be nice to use the car pool lanes. They suck. See, in L.A., anyway, the car pool lanes are nearly useless. There is the magical convergence where the rest of traffic is stopped and the car pool lane actually moves, but that is rare. If traffic is moving generally well, the car pool lane will either be moving right along with it, or will even be slower because some ancient woman in a diesel Mercedes will be in the lane going just the speed limit. If, on the other hand, traffic is too blocked up, the car pool lane will be just as bad, and there’s no benefit to having it.

Nevertheless, I would like to have the option of using it if I need to!

I have gone on too long. Xena will strike me down with bolts of wrathful energy for my impudence.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 • 12:31pm • Permalink

Xena, the Wrathful Princess Expounded Thusly:

BUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTTTTTTTCRACK!

Friday, September 23rd, 2005 • 11:22am • Permalink

 

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