Tuesday, December 2, 2008

10 Dimensional Hypermaze of Doom

So I got my wallet stolen 2 weeks ago.

From my office.

It appeared to be missing at 4:35 pm on a Friday - before I was due for a weekend that included a date, an out-of-town funeral and general unable-to-take-care-of-business Sunday-ness.
Of course the phone number to report a lost or stolen card is on the back of the card so I ran through the snow to the bank across the street - that closed at 4:30.
I banged on the window like some lame modern rendition of "The Graduate" until the teller came to the door and told me that the number I needed was ON THE BACK OF THE CARD.

*Blank stare*

She had her own card on her and gave me the number with a concerned looking manager watching from the lobby.

Card cancelled - requested a new one.

Done and done.

Weekend happens, followed by shortened holiday week and deadlines and Thanksgiving.

I got to the BMV on Black Friday - a good week after losing my wallet.
No line and smug that I was going to be able to accomplish this before meeting friends, I stepped up with my passport, birth certificate and social security card.


"We're sorry, but there's a hold on your license in Arizona."

"Wait... What?"

"You don't need to fill that out - here's the number, you need to clear this up before you can replace you license. NEXT!"

So I called the number and learned that there was an allegedly unpaid speeding ticket outstanding.

Now, I lived in Arizona TEN YEARS AGO.
Ten years is three years longer than you are required to keep records and last year at Christmas, I systematically shredded everything left from my life in the desert.

So they gave me my "complaint number" and the phone number for Mesa's courts - closed, by the way, on Black Friday.

There was both an automated phone and online service, but they didn't give me the date, and you need the date to get information - so I called back... again. (September 27, 1998, if you're interested).

I called the courts yesterday evening and sat on hold listening to the worst possible holiday muzak interspersed with static - and I began to wonder if this was some preliminary psychological torture meant to cause anxiety and lower resistance levels.

So I hung up and made a call...

To my mother - I directed her to files in my old room with what was left of my shredder-happy holidays.

This turned up an envelope with slightly illegible chicken scratch suggesting I sent a money order on October 11, 1998 for $97 to the City of Mesa (TA-DA!) - but chicken scratch is not evidence... so she also gave me the name of my insurance agent when I was out there.

She got a call.

She was going to contact their home office and go through micro-film archives - because, in Arizona, if you don't pay your ticket, you get your license suspended and they flag your insurance.

I sent an email to a cop friend about what to do.
I called a lawyer friend about next steps.

My ducks in a goddamned row.

So today I called Mesa - turns out I it went to a judge in 2006 and they dismissed it.
I owe nothing and they will be sending me an "abstract" that I need to take to the Ohio BMV.

So I called the Ohio BMV to see what's what.
Questions like - Is my license suspended? Will I have to retake the driving test? How much money will this cost me? all needed to be answered.

The woman I spoke with told me (in brusque BMV manner) that Arizona has not cleared me from the PDPS (Problem Driver Pointer System - heh) and that she had no idea what an "abstract" is and how it was going to help me.


I'm so happy I don't owe any money, I'm really glad my license is not suspended, and I'm beyond thrilled this came up now instead of later but I can't figure out exactly what it is I'm supposed to be clearing up. Nothing needs to be paid - or signed - so I'm still not entirely sure what the problem is.

Listen, I've lived at the same address for the past 9 years - and the address on my license 10 years ago was my parents' - which hasn't changed in over 30 years. AND my last name is so freaking weird and singular that one half-hearted Google search finds me in less time than it takes to sneeze.

Was anyone going to tell me about this mess?


So tomorrow I'll call Mesa AGAIN and listen to the torture music for 20 minutes and then ask them to please, please, please remove me from the PDPS and let me get on with my little life far far away from the soulless expanses of Mesa, Arizona.


Alexa said...

oh my gosh. that just sounds TERRIBLE!

hope it all get sorted out

sarah said...

I took the day off from dealing with it - tomorrow, I think...

But GAH!

Just GAH!