It makes absolutely no sense to me why license plate screws installed in vehicles aren’t made from hardened steel. Sure, it’s probably a low grade steel that has been treated to some point, but the idea that you would put a soft fastener in corrosive conditions like exposed to road elements, knowing that auto shops would most like use an air gun to bolt those things into place. After two and a half years of snow, salt, and miles one of the two bolts holding my back license plate froze pretty hard onto the thread, and since time and poor quality happened – watching my screwdriver work on that bolt was like watching someone work chewing gum through their teeth. It only took a couple tries to strip the head. Of course, since it is a Japanese car, the hex was metric, something my cheap Walgreens socket set doesn’t cover. So the next best thing was to just drill out the bolt. At least that way I can take the old plate off. This was only a problem with one bolt of the four because, well, the front plate set-up was a jerryrig I did when Alaska required a front (after Kansas does not). And the other back bolt was replaced the Boston. Of course, I didn’t have a spare bolt, and as I was trying to replace the plates shortly before meeting some work friends that had to wait until the next day. So after driving with the plate hanging half off, I found the hardware I needed …
… and in some random parking lot, a chapter was closed.
By finally bolting my new California license plates to my car, I no longer carry anything that suggests I am anything but here now. In the eyes of the State of California, I am now a full fledged resident – and no longer have any ties to Massachusetts, Boston, or the life prior to this.
Of course, Boston and Mass probably thought that way the day I stopped paying taxes to them, but not the point. Since I closed on the condo in February, I had no bills to pay there and no property taxes owed.
Of course, like everything in this process it took some time getting from Point A to Point B. I couldn’t get a drivers license until I had an address (that wasn’t a hotel). I couldn’t apply for a vehicle registration until I had applied for a license. I couldn’t do either until I scheduled an appointment or chose to spend 10 hours sitting at a California DMV. Then again, it took me three trips from finding out I grabbed the wrong stuff to learning the Mass Smog test didn’t fly for California.
If you ever gone through a move like this, typically you don’t get everything done in one big swoosh. I tried, the first trip to the DMV happened as the closing was happening on my condo. More commonly, it’s a process. Even someone like me who’s become an expert at moving knows that it is a step after step after step. There’s no “THE MOMENT” moment. I mean, even after I cleared everything for my license, it took two weeks for it to arrive in the mail. After I closed on the house, it took a few days for all the paperwork to wrap up. And as the story started, even though I had plates in hand, it took work to actually attach it permanently to my car.
T.S. Elliot once wrote: “This is the way the world ends – Not with a bang but a whimper.” So like I kind of blogged about last week, how it seems you don’t realize when a new chapter begins until it is well started — sometimes that last page of the chapter ends without much of anything.
That being said, my Boston chapter is now over. While I can get a little squirrley on how it ended & can say the new chapter is pretty much in full swing, I am more satisfied that it is over. Even if it ended more with a whimper than a bang.