Thursday, September 24, 2009

Officially required to own a cowboy hat

That’s right, bitches: I’m a Texas resident.

I’d like to thank the Internet, my San Antonio map, the slew of government offices I had to visit over the past few months and Gloria, the nicest government employee I’ve ever met at the Bexar County Tax Office. I couldn’t have done it without you, boo!

Here, you have to EARN the right to become a Texan. They don’t make it easy. And it’s EXPENSIVE. I have a feeling this is their way of weeding out the bad apples. Sort of a survival of the fittest for new residents. Don’t have a permenant residence? Have a clunker for a car? Can’t come up with the money? WE DON’T WANT YOU IN OUR STATE.

My first insight into this was when I took Jerry (My Jetta) in for a recall.

Maintenance guy: “Your car hasn’t had an inspection yet.”

Me: “Huh? Like an emissions test? Does it need one? It’s, like a year old.”

Apparently in Texas “All Texas registered vehicles are required to receive an annual inspection. All inspections include a comprehensive safety inspection; however, some vehicles are required to have an emissions test in addition to the safety inspection.”

Cost: $15

Then, you have to register your car in Texas…and you have to do this BEFORE you get your license. I don’t know why. Someone higher up just deemed it so. And to do this, you have to go to the county tax office in your county. I live in the biggest damn county in San Antonio and there’s only one office – downtown. The Husband and I ventured here on Tuesday during torrential downpour rain. Guess what? No line! Yay! Ball in our court!

But I have a lease, which makes registering my car harder than the LSAT. A tube of whiteout later, we came up with the correct info on the correct forms

Cost to register car and buy plates: $195!

And they expire every year! “But next time it will just be $70,” Gloria assured me. JUST!? Oh, and you have to pay by check or cash. Who uses checks anymore?

Now, onto my license. This time, I was PREPARED. I had every piece of information sensitive document I had in tow. Birth Certificate, marriage license, social security card, all in a manila envelope. I was an identity thief’s wet dream.

The people at the Texas Dept. of Public Safety do NOT take identity theft jokes lightly, by the way.

After an hour in line I took the vision test (with my glasses for the First. Time. Ever. Sad.) and I was booked – I’m not kidding. I was finger printed and everything. To make it easier when I am arrested for smuggling illegal immigrants I guess? (I say this because I loved the play-on-words posted “Texas Hold ‘em” meaning they’ll take (hold?) your license if you smuggle drugs or people over the border. Something tells me that’s not all they’d do, but whatever.)

I smiled pretty for the camera (though she took the picture as soon as I STOPPED smiling, of course) I was handed a slip of paper. Oh yea, I won’t get my actual license for two weeks. Not a big deal for me because I have a fancy military ID but the woman next to me pitched a FIT. “How will I buy my smokes with this piece of crap?!”

Cost for license: $24

Total cost of becoming a Texan: $234 + mental anguish.

I’m off to shop a new hat!

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