We own two motor vehicles. The first is a white Ford Fusion hybrid that Ford says is 100% flat towable. Our other vehicle is a red three-row seating, Toyota Highlander, which has been great for hauling everything, including grandkids. But, now that we are fully retired and out of the grand-kid hauling business, we have found that we no longer need to be a two-car family.
In addition, we discovered after a three-week trip to the northwest, perhaps our Ford Fusion isn’t as flat towable as Ford claims it to be.
Our spunky little hybrid started squealing on the final leg of our trip. With only three hundred and fifty miles back to our home in Memphis, we decided to go ahead and complete the journey, squealing and praying all the way. After arriving in Memphis, we took the car to the dealer to diagnose and fix the problem. Somehow, we had destroyed the transmission.
After six months in the shop, I am happy to say that we have a brand new transmission. But, we have decided to sell both cars and purchase a used Jeep Wrangler.
When we went to look for the titles of our cars, we discovered that we had managed to throw away or misplace one of the titles.
So, to expedite the process of getting a new replacement title, we traveled to the downtown Memphis office of Motor Vehicle Registration. (Also, lovingly known as the DMV) We parked three blocks away in a “Best Park” parking lot. I stood shivering in the cold, staring up at the broken once-lit sign hanging on a pole above the lot. While I waited, I completed a mental checklist of the items we left behind in the vehicle. I wanted to ensure that nothing valuable was left in the car. After waiting for six months to get this car repaired, I did not want to have my car broken into and have it returned to the shop for a smashed-in window.
After giving the car a once-over, I decided there was absolutely nothing in the vehicle that a smash-and-go artist might like to have. Confidently, we started the three-block trek to the DMV. Even before leaving the parking lot, we heard the all too familiar, “Excuse me, sir, I don’t suppose you can help a brother out?” This time we had no cash on hand. Sorry, buddy!
I held my pocketbook tightly as we briskly jaunted to our destination. Trash littered the streets like piles of discarded leaves in the fall, and the tall structures of the county jail and courthouse loomed overhead. Finally, I ask Joe, “Where are we going.” He points to a shorter old run-down building. “There,” he said.
We entered through the back and followed a narrow hallway that led to the DMV office. We had to stand outside the office and wait in line for our turn to enter. I looked up, and I noticed the air duct intake for the ventilation system was choked with dirt.
Once inside the office, I observed that the wall clock said 4:45 but, it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. I wonder if it was set that way intentionally giving the clerk the false sense of security that her workday was almost over in this dark, dank, dirty building.
After waiting for about twenty minutes for our turn, the clerk informed us that we were standing in the wrong line. The office for replacement titles was actually across the hall. The clerk tried to hurry us off with a quick flick of her hand, but I said, “Wait!” “We also need to find out if we can apply to get new plates for our camper early?” “Early?!?” she said. Then she explained that everyone was getting brand new plates this coming year, and THEY DON’T DO EARLY! So, basically, we have to wait on them to send us the renewal form and then wait until they decide to send out the plates.
The trip across the hall to get a new title was a lot more productive. In a short fifteen minutes, we walked out of the office with a replacement title in hand.
One significant success in an otherwise very depressing day.