Monday, July 18, 2011

"You are wrong, and I don't know what you're talking about" (Part II)

Several days later, the Ante was upped to $180 with a third citation in less than two weeks time. I printed the receipt from my online renewal and taped it to my windshield with a plea to stop issuing tickets. I moved my car frequently so that it was not even on the same street as the parking officers on their daily routes. I submitted a formal protest to SFMTA and assured them that my registration would update in March. "I have an appointment," I pleaded. "They're going to give me me new tags because the old ones just never came." I was skipping lunch for this :/

"Mmm hmmm, so they never came...4 months ago? Whadya been doin' since 4 months ago, hmmm?"

"Trying to get them!"

She scoffed. "I don't think the DMV would do that to you."
She was clearly less than convinced and taking the other side, but at some point over the next 15 minutes I somehow persuaded her to take my petition with promises of and victim stories. "March 22, ok then. I'll make a note. Make sure you submit the evidence as soon as you get it."

"Of course, of course. Thank you!"

I had at this point submitted my formal protest to MTA, made an appointment to pick up registration tabs in person, and my photocopied registration receipt seemed to be an effective (however desperate) deterrent to the parking maids. My open-ended "It's Complicated" with the DMV would surely be resolved and we would work out whatever loose ends were left. But to my chagrin, they were determined to have the last say.

"Hello. We're calling to inform you that your appointment with the California Department of Motor Vehicles has been rescheduled due to a recent opening at an earlier time."

"Er, what? Wait, I'm sorry, when do you-"

"Your new appointment is for March 15, 2011 at 12:30PM."

"Hold on, I'm not even going to-"

"Thank you for your time...."

"No no, wait a minute! I won't be in Cal-"

"... and please make a note of your appointment for your records..."

"You'e a machine, aren't you?" The voice carried on, ignorant of my futile inquiries. I was scheduled to be in Washington, D.C.  and New York City for that entire week as part of my fellowship and to visit grad schools while my program paid for airfare to the East Coast. Once again I tried to manage my appointment online, and once again I failed. An hour after calling the DMV, a (real) woman's voice answered on the other end of the line.

I did not hesitate, I had to  make my point clear. I explained the issue with the new appointment, but still she would give me no ground. "It says here that you stated a preference for an earlier date, and that you would like to be notified if an earlier date were to become available midday."

"I... what?"

"It says right here, I'm looking at it right now."

"You kept track of that and not my registration tabs?!"

"I don't know what you're talking about sir, it just says you wanted to file a complaint in person and that you wanted an earlier time. I don't see what the problem is, it should be a short appointment and it's far enough out that you could reschedule other things, isn't it?"

"No, you keep doing these things to me! It has to change! Two tickets from the same the same guy at MTA, and one on Valentine's Day? Seriously? How hard is it to send me a piece of plastic?" I carried on, trying to remain as calm as I could while I spoke.

"Well it's the only time we can do," she said matter-of-factly. And if it's so important for you to actually talk with us, then you'd come in. Right? We're important to you, right?


"I see, sir. Well how about this, I'm gonna schedule you for another appointment right now, is that alright?"

סּ___סּ "Yes. That's just fine. That's what I want."

"OK sir, I'll schedule for the earliest appointment we have. Here it is."

"Thank you."

"You're new appointment - are you writing this down? ("Yes.") You're new appointment is April 12th at 11:20AM."


"Have a nice day sir." Click.

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