I got paid today. As usual on payday, the first thing I did this morning was log onto my bank account to pay some bills. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had more money left over than I thought I would. Then I went through my stack of paper bills to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. My heart jumped when I found a plate renewal notice for my Mazda. Apparently the plates had expired two weeks ago, at the end of September.
I remember receiving the notice back in early August. At the time, my wife had a bonus coming up, and I remember thinking, “Well, I guess part of that bonus will have to go to the tags.” I remember sticking the renewal notice on the shelf, and I don’t remember thinking it about it since. But, it was morning, my brain was still fuzzy, and I couldn’t be 100% sure if I’d renewed it or not. I decided to go outside and look at the plate, but I wasn’t dressed yet. So I made a mental note to check the plate before I got in the car to drive it to work.
It didn’t occur to me that there were at least three ways to check it from the computer I using at the time. I always keep the receipts from electronic renewals in a folder on my hard drive. I also have a spreadsheet I use as a checkbook, that would have had the listing for the tags. If all that fails, I could always log onto my bank account and look for the transaction there. But no, my brain decided that the only way to know would be to look at the tags.
Except I didn’t. I didn’t even think about it again until I was already driving, halfway to work. So I told myself, “When you get to work, check the tags before you go inside.” Of course, I could have waited until the next stop light, and grabbed the registration out of the glove compartment. But my brain was still stuck on the idea that my only option was to look at the plate.
Aaaand once again, I forgot to look at the plate when I got to work. I remembered as soon as I sat down at my desk. I decided I would check the plate at lunch, and if it was expired, I would get my emissions tested on my lunch hour. I even told my supervisor I might be a few minutes late getting back from lunch.
Lunch came around. If you think I remembered to look at my plate before driving off, you haven’t been paying attention to this story. I was halfway to the emissions place when I thought, “Wait a minute, I seriously can’t go there without checking first.” I have a very close, personal relationship with Murphy’s Law, and it would be just my luck to pay for an emissions test and then find out I hadn’t needed to.
So I looked for a parking lot to stop in. I’m oddly picky about that; you know, it can’t be a busy lot, it has to be on the right-hand side, it can’t be a business where the employees can see you through the window because I don’t want them to see me park without buying anything, and did I mention I’m neurotic? I finally stopped at a bowling alley and got out of the car. September 2020. I couldn’t believe it; I honestly have no memory of getting the tags renewed.
Just to be sure, I checked the glove compartment for the registration. Yep, it even told me when I renewed it, back on August 18th. To be fair, I do sort of remember renewing it. It’s just that I renewed both cars within four months of each other, so the memories are kind of overlapping. When you’re younger, four months is a long time, but I’ve hit the age where two similar events in that time span just sort of merge into one memory.
So the good news is that I have an extra $100 grocery money to get me through the next two weeks. The bad news is, well, that they let people like me drive.