03 October 2005

Nerves a-twitter

There's something about tasks you must complete before you'll allow yourself to indulge in others that can just tweak your brain and ramp up your nerves.

To get my low mileage auto insurance discount, I was informed a couple of weeks ago that I would have to wait until I got my car inspected in October so they could verify the odometer reading through the DMV registry. I suppose the waiting for this opportunity has been quietly gnawing at me for some time now. Being the first business day of October, I drove up for the inspection after lunch.

My favorite alt rock station played a song I hadn't heard in a few years that was both enjoyable to sing and something I uncharacteristically knew much of the lyrics to.
And these crimes between us grow deeper
Ah, I thought to myself, that's what drew me to this song originally. I was inspired to audioblog but needed to deal with my car and my thoughts weren't in enough order for it.

The mechanic at the auto shop was just finishing up an inspection and had another ahead of me. He scrawled the make and model of my car on the whiteboard with a black marker. I scanned the office window for the necessary stickers: Visa, Mastercard, AmEX, Discover: I had nothing to worry about.

I waited in my car since there was no waiting room and tried to read. I couldn't concentrate because I felt pumped for blogging but couldn't remember the preceding lyrics verbatim. Now that I'm home with the luxury of Google, I'll indulge the tangent. When I first noticed the lyrics, the song had been out for a year; I'd never paid attention to them until they aptly applied to a breakup I'd recently been through.
...we look at each other
Wondering what the other is thinking
But we never say a thing
And these crimes between us grow deeper
The mechanic waved me into the bay. I slipped my bookmark between the pages I'd been blankly staring at. The inspection went pretty quickly. I'd only managed to finish another page when he scraped off my old sticker. After he put the new one on, he handed me the paperwork and told me the fee.

I pulled out my wallet and started digging out a credit card.

"Cash or check?" he asked.

"Credit card," I replied.

"We only take cash or check."

I looked back at the office and noticed the 9" high red lettered sign on the other side of the door that I'd previously ignored. CASH ONLY, it read.

"Oh," I said, fumbling open the bill holder. I knew I had a twenty and some ones, but I was fairly certain it wouldn't be enough. My cheeks started to burn as I counted them out. The mechanic stepped aside to confer with another staff member. 26. I counted again and felt a small surge of hope when I got 27. Unfortunately, I knew the change in my pockets and in my car wouldn't make up the difference.

"I'm two dollars short," I told the mechanic, holding out the wad of cash. I guess he could hold my paperwork while I got get the rest, I thought to myself.

"Just bring it in before five," he said.

I offered him what I had, but he just shook his head, so I left to get more money. I was on the way to the branch that's close to home when I pulled over. There's got to be one closer than that. I called my parents, but either they weren't home or they were outside. I had an idea about where another branch was so I turned around to check my hunch.

As I drove, I tried to remember my PIN. I'd only used the card once to activate it and wasn't sure what I'd picked. Since I abhor ATM and debit fees, I use my credit card if I don't have enough cash. My luck started to improve when the branch was where I thought it was. The machine accepted my card and let me proceed with my transaction, so I started feeling pretty good. Until I clicked yes to verify the withdrawal amount, and then it told me I had the wrong PIN. That seems pretty fucked up. Fortunately my second guess was correct, so it didn't eat my card.

I drove back to the body shop and paid the guy. I'd briefly thought maybe I was getting some privileged girl slack, but he was so unfazed and uninterested that clearly this must happen all the time. To him, I was just the latest flake who didn't remember she needed cash for the inspection.

It's strange; I don't feel old, but I am conscious of this continuing slip out of the young adult demographic. Accomplished, successful young actresses are more and more frequently younger than I am. It's a little unnerving.

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