Chapter Closes With a Whimper


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.


2 thoughts on “Chapter Closes With a Whimper

  1. Rusty

    Have to say it, with your frequent relocations it might be best to use that sticky stuff called “Velco” to attach your license plate. Now one would really know, just stick the stripped out bolts through the holes and bubble gum threads on back side. Glad I could help, good to hear all is well!

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