two years ago, there were three cars housed at my duplex and three of us received tickets for expired tabs on the same day one week, then again on the same day the next week. i had been on my way to buy tabs when i began thinking about a pair of tall brown boots from izzy magie, a local independent shoe store on superior street. i left the wells fargo ATM and drove straight to the store -- conscientious if only because it was closer than the DMV -- bought the boots, then wrote a lengthy post about how much i loved them, and how i was going to lick them to sleep that night.
upon issuing my third consecutive expired-tabs ticket a few days and a new pair of boots later, the policeman ran my plates and realized that if they towed my car and used the sum total of my unpaid parking tickets as ransom, the streets of duluth could be repaved in heated golden nuggets, with a little extra money for a magic chocolate fountain in canal park.
lesson learned. i sentenced myself to those damn boots for two straight years, shaving my legs around them.
last year i started thinking about my tabs a month ahead of the expiration date. i continued to think about them five, six, eight days after the expiration date. they became my most romantic fantasy: me at the dmv, waiting in line. waiting some more. waiting some more. taking a number. writing a $103 check. shaking the stickers at the clerk and screeching "you call these stickers! i had cooler stickers on my trapper keeper when i was 10 and they were, like, 99 cents! and puffy!"
on december 11, 2006, around 12:15 a.m. i was pulled over for having a burnt out tail light. then the cop noticed the expired tabs. [i also couldn't find my proof of insurance. oh, and, my address on my liscense still listed a home in rochester where i hadn't lived for 5ish years; where my parents hadn't lived for more than two years.]
"but i have until the 10th!" i whined.
"it's the early hours of the 11th," he explained.
"but the 10th was a sunday! the dmv isn't open on sundays!" i bargained.
this time i was let off with a hearty lecture.
i promised i would get tabs the next day.
remember when cops used to carry football cards? i had the complete collection. they don't do that anymore. i think i asked.
last year, my front tab fell off the day i got it. a wet plate won't hold glue.
this year i got my new tabs about five days after they expired. a sort of yoda conundrum: late, yet early. i didn't put them on my plates until the 10th. i had all sorts of excuses about it being too cold, the streets too gooey for the stickers to stay attached; can't find my mittens. but i think it was an underlying passive aggressive, anti authority gesture.
and then when i saw what i had done, i knew this was true.
this photo is blurry because i took it at the ghetto spur tonight. the car in front of me was revving and using the speakers of his car to send morse code through the earth to china. his message: yes, there are at least a dozen deli express sandwiches in the cooler. meanwhile, i had images of him flailing backward, pinning me to the roof of my car. my legs from then on hanging limp and lifeless, which is currently my hair's job. so, i was rushed.
i wish i could say i put this tab on upside down because i thought it would be clever to deke out the man; make them think i was cool on tabs until 2080. but that didn't even cross my mind.