It’s Always Something…

Who was it who said, “It’s always something”? I think it was the late, great Gilda Radner. Wasn’t that the name of her book about her life? Yeah. Well, to quote a very wise woman,



Actually, I’m just sitting down to do my work. Yes, it’s Saturday, but I work on Saturdays and Sundays every weekend, so no problem there. But I should be succinct in my telling of this most recent tale of woe. And if Paul happens to come home whilst I am in the middle of the telling, I’ll have to break away and give him the piece of my mind that I’ve set aside for when he gets home for lunch.

It’s really all my fault, I guess. I have a problem with standing or even sitting on hard seats for any length of time, so going to get my car inspected is painful for me. They always make you either stand around or sit on those hard plastic seats in the gas-station waiting room, if you can call it that. They usually have a TV up in the corner, so I assume it’s a waiting room. Anyway, I asked Paul if he would mind taking my car to get it’s annual inspection (Emissions & Safety) sticker this month (it’s due every August for me). He agreed. That was easy. I should have known it was TOO easy!

So on Thursday, just two days ago, he got home around 4:30 and took my car out to be inspected. I don’t know where he takes the cars for this annual event, somewhere on Canal Street here in Salem, I think. But wherever it is, the people do NOT know your name, and you are not a friend. So they get you for any little infraction possible.

While he was gone, I imagined all the worst. But in my heart-of-hearts, I knew my car would pass. It always does. Only once in my life has my car ever failed inspection, but that was my mother’s car back in 1965, so I’ve had a pretty good record since then.

In fact, Paul had had a pretty good record, too. He had never failed inspection, and his trucks have been some of the worst heaps you have ever seen on the road (it’s a fisherman-thing, having a junky truck – it’s cool). Anyway, when he had his inspected recently, he failed because his license plate was so old and dirty, it could not be read at 60 feet away. THIS IS A SAFETY VIOLATION in the great state of Massachusetts. He had to schlep over to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and get brand new (2 actually for front and back) license plates.

So, you know where this is going, don’t you?

I got my license plate in the year 1976. Yes, it’s been with me for 34 years now. I love that plate. It was easy to remember for whenever I had to fill in a form requiring it. Well, it was dirty, after all those years. And for that reason, my car FAILED THE SAFETY INSPECTION this month!

He came home with a dejected (or should I say “rejected”) look on his face. He said that he was sorry to inform me but my car had failed. I thought he was joking!

He wasn’t.

So I asked him what I had to do, and if it involved going to the Registry, would he do that for me? He hemmed and hawed and finally consented. Oh good.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the safety inspection items is lights. They check your lights, all of them, honk your horn, run your windscreen washers, etc. etc.

That said, Saturday morning dawns. Paul is running around preparing to get to the Farmers’ Market by 8:45 and this week he is selling that fresh fish, too, so he has to do more running around than usual. He finally got it all in hand and left here around 8:35. Whew. Now I can go over to the office and pick up my work for Monday (which I will do over the weekend) and all will be well with the world.

Except that my car is dead in the driveway.

Oh yes, you may have guessed it. The lights were NEVER TURNED OFF! By either Paul or the mechanic who inspected it, but either way, there should have been an alarm bell going off when he got out of the car with the lights still on!


I don’t get men!

Anyway, there I sat with my key in the ignition, trying several times to get a rise out of my old “Podd” which is her name. Nothing but silence.

I considered waiting til noon for Paul to come home for lunch but he would be short on time because he has to be down at the harbor by 2 to sell lobsters there for the afternoon. So I decided to be adult about this, and I called AAA. They would be here within an hour. Wait for a phone call from them. They called and said 30 minutes.

They came promptly (thanks to Bill’s Auto Clinic here in Salem – they always give good prompt service every time we’ve needed them!) and “Ed” went about recharging my battery. It was a very complicated operation – not just sticking cable clips on the car and jumping it, like a bystander might do – but he had a computer and everything in his little black bag. He even printed out a reading of all the car’s vitals when he was done.

Oh, by the way, Ed noticed, while he was standing next to the windscreen, that I had a REJECTION sticker on it, and he noticed it had a big “S” on it (for SAFETY). He said that I cannot drive with that, I needed to get it taken care of right away! If I did drive with it, I could and probably would be pulled over by the cops.


I told him it was JUST FOR A DIRTY LICENSE PLATE, FOR GAWD’S SAKE! but he shook his head saying that it doesn’t matter.

I HAD to get to my office to get my work. I also had to leave the car running for about 30-60 minutes to recharge the battery. I couldn’t decide if I should chance it or not.

Oh what the hell.

I went. Thru Salem traffic on a Saturday, which is wall-to-wall traffic, and passing a few cops along the way, holding my breath the whole time.

Needless to say, I made it back in one piece. I even left my car running at the office while I ran (walked fast for me, which is more of a hobble) in and got my work and back out again. I did lock it up whilst it was parked and running, AND I put my “CLUB” on the steering wheel, which is my version of an anti-theft device.

It was still there humming along when I came out.


So now I need to decide. Do I give that piece of my mind to Paul when he gets home, which should be in about 10 minutes, or do I ease into this story gently, softly, kindly, knowing that I still want him to go to the Registry for me to get my new license plate? On Monday! Pronto! Or else I cannot drive that hunk of metal until he does!

Do I overlook the “leaving the lights on and wearing down my battery” thing? Forgive and forget sort of thing?


He’s a good guy. He means no harm. He’s run ragged doing his thing every day, and I must just be a nuisance to him lately with all my “favors” I keep asking him to do.

I wonder how much Fresh Fish he sold today?



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4 Responses to It’s Always Something…

  1. Rhubarb says:

    gawd, I hate those kinds of dilemmas. you know, whichever way you play it, you’re just playing a role. what you want to do is scream and break things, but that just ends up being another mess to clean up. smiling sweetly and asking for another favor is a lie. ::sigh:: I sympathize.


  2. sue says:

    Wonder when my car is up for “inspection” again. I just recently went through the driver’s license ordeal, which consists of waiting in line forever, having your picture taken, and forking over some cash money.

    Lesson learned: get to DMV near closing time. They will be so anxious to get home they’ll skip through all sorts of ittle things.


  3. says:

    so sorry your day went to hell in a handbasket…bummer.
    I bet he feels bad over this..he is caring most of the time
    I very much understand you being upset too.


  4. Karen says:

    Give the guy a pass this time. He didn’t mean to cause you all that trouble. I do understand your annoyance though.


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