Dog's Dinner

"You're not loved because you're lovable, you're lovable 'cause you're loved."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Signifier Strikes Again

Dadburn signifier done it again! A Dog's Dinner correspondent in the Bay Area unearthed the following tale of woe at

"So I was new to California

Along with a blonde hair cut & convertible, I decide to get some personalized plates.

I could not believe my luck, when I found out that my initials "NV" (ph. "envy") are available. Not that I think anyone would be envious of me in my Miata, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

You are probably thinking that custom plates are like bug lights to The Man. Not as far as I can tell. I got pulled over just as infrequently considering how I drive, but my accent and impeccable record kept me in the good books.

So then, I start to get random parking tickets from Los Angeles. Where my car has never been. For every type of car. Except a Mazda. Which is what I drive. No problem, right? Just call them up, deal with a healthy level of skepticism when I tell them the ticket isn't mine... no really. I would ask them what make & color the ticket is for. I would ask them what make & color my car is. Even a highly skeptical city clerk can't argue with that.

Then the notices of unpaid violations slowly start to come in from all over California. Because when the license plate is Not Visible, the charming traffic wardens enter "NV" as the license plate. So I figure they will soon fix the training issue and stop bugging me with tickets.

Then the city of Oakland has some computer upgrade. The first day I get five tickets. The next day... three. And they kept on sending them. For every type of car imaginable including BMW's and Porsches, every car imaginable, except for a white two door Mazda.

Now I know what you are thinking, BMW's don�t park in Oakland. I was surprised too. But more than that, I was tired of sitting on hold for twenty minutes, waiting to talk to a skeptical city employee. So I returned the custom plates to the DMV, and someone at Oakland told me that all fifty tickets would be put under administrative review.

Problem solved? Not even. First, the DMV refused to issue me my registration, until I got a piece of paper saying I was not guilty. Then I received a notice that the Franchise Tax Board wanted to garnish my wages. Not with cilantro either. Now I have a notice stating that any tax refund I get will be going to the City of Oakland.

So now i am feeling a little irate.

And a little wiser. I tried calling my local police department, to see if there is a bench warrant out for my arrest. The friendly officer told me that I would have to come to the office... in person. And I swear, she said this with what sounded like a straight face.

As a last resort, I decided to post here. You never know. Someone might want a collection of over fifty parking violations from seven different counties for all different makes and models. $3000, and they are all yours. Call it abstract art or something.

The only thing that makes me feel a little better, is that the lovely folks at Oakland tell me someone driving a BMW now has the license plates "NV". Give him a wave if you see him. Tell him you work for the City of Oakland in the traffic violations department. See if he goes green. You know, from envy.



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