I won't kid myself -- I'm sort of lazy. And I procrastinate. I mean, I tend to do what I have to do. But if it doesn't have to get done, it might not get done. At least not now. And, even if something has to get done, it still might not. And this has gotten me in trouble in the past.
Around 1999, I bought my first car in D.C. A Honda Civic. It had D.C. tags. Shortly thereafter, I moved to Maryland, just over the D.C. border. I'm sure I was required to register my car in Maryland. But I didn't. I mean, who the hell wants to deal with the DMV? So, fast forward five years. It's 2004. I still have the original D.C. tags. There is a sticker on the plates indicating the registration expired in 2002. I'm driving from work at around 10:00 pm on Connecticut Avenue, up near Woodley Park. I get lit up by a Capital Police. I pull over to the side of the road. He sits in his vehicle. Five minutes later, I'm surrounded by no less than 5 patrol cars with lights glaring. What. The. Fuck? Officers eventually come over and explain to me that my registration is several years expired and that I could be arrested and jailed for this offense. Um, really? You have nothing better to do than surround my car with 5 officers and threaten to detain me for an unregistered vehicle? Thank god there is no real crime in D.C. I plead ignorance. The officer inquires whether I did not know that my car was unregistered or whether I did not know I had to register my car in the first place? "I just didn't know." Ultimately, I am not arrested. Instead, I'm handed a rather expensive summons and told to drive directly home and to not drive again until my car is properly registered.
So, I get home and look into this whole registration nonsense. What a pain in the ass. And, given the amount of time my car had been unregistered, the process was also going to involve a large fine. Fuck this. The next day, I drove over to the local Hyundai dealership. I went in and asked the salesman whether they would buy my car as a trade in "assuming it may or may not actually be registered?" "Sure. No problem." An hour later, I rolled away with a new Hyundai Tucson . . . the dealer would take care of the registration and necessary paperwork. And my old Civic was now their issue. Problem solved . . .
Fast forward . . .
After a few years driving around in a Korean SUV, I came to realize that you can't impress the ladies with a Hyundai. Thusly, in 1998, I ditched the Hyundai in favor of a G37:
Side Note: after a few years driving around in a G37, I came to realize the only people who were impressed with the ride were middle age men. Not exactly my target audience... Anyhow . . .
My G was properly registered. Always.
By 2011, after numerous trips to Jersey for Jets games and poker in AC, my G had approximately 60,000 miles on it. And, after getting stuck on the Beltway in a snowstorm, I realized that a rear-wheel drive sports coup might not be the best choice for D.C.'s winters.
Thus, I did the only sensible thing - I went back to the Infiniti dealership, and traded in the old G for a new G37x (all wheel drive). The dealer simply transferred my tags from the old car to the new, and I was off . . .
A month or so later, I received the registration materials in the mail. Along with the documentation was a sticker for the license plate, indicating the registration was valid until 2014. This sticker was to be placed over the old sticker (which came when I registered the old car) which read 2010. OK. Let me get this straight -- you want me to peel off this sticker? You want me to walk around to the back of my car? You want me to place this new sticker on top of the old one? That seems like at least 30 seconds of effort. Fuck. That. Noise. Instead, I stuck the documents in my glove box, where they remained until this morning...
Fast forward to this morning. It's 9:20. I'm stuck in traffic on 22nd Street heading to the office a block away. The MPD SUV behind me suddenly lights me up. Interesting. I pull over into the bike line. The female officer gets out, walks over, identifies herself, and says:
"You know your registration expired in 2010?"
PPP -- "No ma'am; I'm fairly certain the car is registered."
MPD: -- "Can I see your license and registration?"
PPP - "Sure; let me see if I can find it in this mess . . ."
I search the glove box, through the miscellaneous documents I've shoved in there over the past several years. I don't find the actual registration card. However, I do find the 2014 sticker, which I hand over to the officer . . .
MPD: "You know this sticker is suppose to be on your license plate, right?"
MPD: "Hand it over and I'll stick it on for you . . ."
PPP: [In my head -- "for reals?"] "That would be awesome . . ."
The MPD officer actually takes the sticker and puts it on my back tag for me. She calls back, "you're good now."
PPP: "Do you accept tips?"
MPD officer smiles and gets back in her car . . .
If there's a lesson to be learned here, I think it's this: not all cops are dicks. In the alternative, perhaps the lesson is that 30 seconds spent in 2011 would have saved me 5 minutes in 2013. Or, maybe, the real lesson is that sometimes, laziness pays off with a semi-decent story . . .