It must be because I was waiting in line at the DMV, where I have ONLY THIS PAST THURSDAY accomplished the task of transferring my car over to New York registration. Now, bear in mind that my actual New York driver’s license has still not come in the mail and so I am still unable to buy or lease a new car (which is kind of a moot point now that all the hype has died down about the Prius and that guy was exposed as being a fraud), but STILL. It’s annoying not being able to do something you want to do, right? Aren’t we all about freedoms here in the U.S. of A? Like, freedom to be able to choose not to drive a “might careen out of control at any moment” car, for instance? Here is what I have been doing in pursuit of this freedom:
I have only ever been a licensed driver of the State of California, and so I have found it interesting to observe the following differences:
the eye test they give in New York is a lot easier (like, maybe the highway
signs are bigger?) or my eyesight has improved, because for the first time in
15 years, I no longer have a “corrective lenses” requirement on my
license. Which is awesome, except I can
still REALLY not see when I drive at night, so I think I’m going to keep
wearing my glasses.
Apparently the New York DMV is very strict when
it comes to your actual first name, and so they’ve insisted that since my
passport seems to say “Lori Marie” as my first name, this will now be my legal
name for New York State driver’s license purposes.
3. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the DMV in upstate New York is a little bit more user friendly than the one in Los Angeles. I know, this really isn’t a compliment to either agency, but at least the New York people didn’t yell right in my face like the people in Los Angeles.
Remember, all I want is the ability to get a new car, should my Prius go all “runaway” on me. So, now I’ve been to Connecticut to get a new social security card, waited the mandatory 14 business days for that to arrive, taken that precious document over to the DMV, waited in line for longer than I would care to admit here, re-taken the eye test, filled out enough paperwork to choke a horse, AND ALLOWED THE NEW YORK DMV TO CALL ME LORI MARIE. This whole thing is approaching a level of absurdity that rivals the great “Multiple Broken Kitchen Appliances Debacle” of 2006, especially if you add in the fact that the only way for me to get to all these places is IN MY PRIUS, WITH MY CALIFORNIA DRIVER’S LICENSE AND REGISTRATION, which I’m not really supposed to have anymore. Sigh.
Oh, and I haven’t forgotten to finish the “Narrative of Driving Cross Country,” although isn’t ironic now that every entry in that trip journal should now be finished with “and thank God we didn’t careen out of control that day!” I actually only had two days to go to be done telling the whole “coast to coast” story, which I will do now.
So—Indianapolis. After we were snowed in for a day or so, we left my bestest friend’s house and drove a good 500 miles or so, and happened to arrive in Pennsylvania on the very day that they called the National Guard because they got a record amount of snowfall, and this is where the story gets scary, because just as it started to get dark and visibility got really bad, we realized that all of the lights in all of the little towns we were passing through were out, BECAUSE THERE WAS NO POWER because of the big storm.
Then it started snowing again, and it was seven degrees, and the snow and sleet started freezing the windshield, and remember there are no lights on anywhere so every time we try to get off and maybe wait until the storm passes, noplace is open because the power is out, and we can’t really stop for that long anyway because we have the dog in the car, and it’s getting later and later, and now it’s getting scary for real. Scary to the point where Stephan is clenching the steering wheel, and I am trying not to scream and we are both praying that we don’t run off the road because we have more to contribute to life, and we are turning on the heater full blast with the hope that if we heat up the car, the windshield will also heat up and will release some of the ice that is growing at an ever-alarming speed.
Did I mention how glad I am that Stephan had joined me at this point? Can you imagine how I would still not be over this if I’d had to do it by myself? Yiiiiikes.
So, finally, FINALLY we get to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which (no lie) had only opened up again about 30 minutes before we arrived because the National Guard had been there all day and they’d been trying to clear up 27 inches of snow and they were bringing people gas for their cars because they were running out from sitting in the car at the Turnpike all day, trying not to freeze to death. Yep, we got there, and just as we were pulling off at the exit, we lost control of the car and THE PRIUS SPUN OUT ON THE OFFRAMP, coming to rest finally at a perpendicular angle to oncoming traffic. Again, THANK GOD THERE WAS NO ONE COMING, because after we finished having heart attacks and screaming, we (ok, Stephan) managed to maneuver the car out of the snow, whereupon we carefully drove over to a hotel and checked in.
Did they take dogs?
Um, what do you think?
No, they didn’t take animals of any kind, but at that point we didn’t care anymore and neither did they because the power in the lobby kept going out and the woman behind the desk was wearing a big coat and a hat that also covered her face, so we got a room and Stephan threw a sleeping bag over the dog and carried him in there, which I thought was a little bit funny. Then we went and got McDonald’s for dinner (don’t hate, we almost died in the storm) and tried to calm ourselves down. The next day only took a few hours of driving until we were in New York, which I guess makes this the BIG FINISH OF THE CROSS COUNTRY DRIVING STORY.
And also, thank God that Prius did not careen out of control during that last (extremely scary) two hours, right? I have to actually give Toyota some credit for making a car that can get us coast to coast in one piece, even if I totally want to sell it now and get something safer.
After we got here, of course, there were two more huge snowstorms and it took forever to find a house, but you’ll be thrilled to know that we now have everything set up and are going between an apartment in the city and a house in the country (although I must admit I spend more time at the house because I am so swamped with work), and even though the weather was bad and the circumstances took a long time to work themselves out, it still feels great to be out of Los Angeles and back on the east coast.
I’ll be sure to let you know when my actual New York driver’s license arrives. Oh, and please refer to me as “Lori Marie” from now on.