Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A very taxing morning

If anyone ever doubts the wonder of the Internet, let them spend a morning in a Car-Tax office.
Due to our other car being off the road for a while, I had to manually make payment with all the relevant forms at a local Tax office. Normally, used to clicking a few buttons to achieve this result, I am astounded at the time and bureaucracy involved.

The Car tax office is in a large Provincial town and is situated about 50miles from Dublin.

As my car, Lottie, is a bit asthmatic at the moment, (her clutch is slipping), I was terrified to find that the office was at the top of a hill. Lottie isn't doing hills well at the moment. I inched her up the hill and then wasted a few euro on a non-functioning car park ticket machine.
As there were signs everywhere warning us motorists of the risk of being clamped, I hand-wrote a note in pink crayon (thats all I had) saying :
'Do not clamp my asthmatic car or I will have to hire a hit-man to come after you) or words to that effect.
When I got to the tax office, it resembled the waiting room for Hell. The staff were the usual mix of people who answered a job ad :

'Do you loathe dealing with people face to face?
Do you get great pleasure from telling people their form-filling skills are inadequate?
Don't even send your C.V., just turn up on Monday'.

In fairness to the staff, it is a fairly unrewarding job, full of customers who do not want to be there handing over more tax to our current Government.

I took my ticket and realised I was 19th in the queue and took a hard seat with the rest of the sinners.
The local farmers were in and as they smelt like they slept with their cattle, I moved seats only to be surrounded by the boy-racers.

There was a clutch of boy-racers wearing surfing gear and flip-flops.
'Do they not realise they are at least 60 miles from the nearest ocean? It's
raining outside and they are speaking in a weird country hillbilly accent with a dash of surfing Californian dude added on,
God, if they were my sons, I would send them to Paris or London and tell them not to come home until they learnt how to dress properly and why are they wearing flip-flops?
No wonder they have so many accidents for crying out loud',
I thought to myself, although I think at some point I may have said some of it out loud as they were giving me weird looks as they chatted on their mobiles :

'Yeah, I'll have tuna and coleslaw for lunch, dude' to their callers, probably their Mammy. Not cool at all, dude.

Just as I thought I was going to die from the stench of farm animals and / or be lynched by boy-racers, my number came up.
Just as my number came up, the counter staff pulled their blinds down. What do they do in there? Are they having blood transfusions because they are all so pale? or are they doing that Madonna circle of prayer thing to keep themselves motivated?.

Finally, a blind opened and I was served by a lovely member of staff and parted with vast amounts of cash to drive on pot-holed roads again.

Oh, joy !! Next time I am going online.


aLmYbNeNr said...

What a dreary morning! But I love how you infused your post with humor. :)

The Bus Rider said...

Woo Hoo!! One day left to being back on the road...Thank you for enduring the above on my behalf.

Old Kitty said...

But you and Lottie did it!! Yay!!! :-) At least that's it for another year! (I think it's a year?). I hope Lottie recovers so you'd be able to go online next time and avoid near lynching by boy racers and suffocation by farmers' bouquet.

take care

Theresa Milstein said...

Poor you and asthmatic Lottie. No ticket, I assume?

I hate flip flops. Don't understand the love Americans have for them. They're ugly, have no support, and make me slide around. Not for me, dude!

It's a good thing you don't teach high school! Or you'd need one with a dress code.

Our DMV used to be terrible, but not they're computerized and super-efficient. The ticket office is another story. Normally I get a parking permit by mail, but one year I didn't and.... I'll never make that mistake again!

I hope you're relaxing now.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Hahahaha!! Oh my word. okay, 1. I love that you named your car. Brilliant. 2. I think I saw a similar job ad for a BMV employee (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) here in Indiana. and 3. I <3 you. I am now a follower because I follow the funny. And you, my dear, are hilarious.

"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." Anais Nin said...

Very true Brigid - "Do you loathe dealing with people face to face" !!
I know the kind you mean! Had forgotten what it was like, its been years now (fingers crossed!)
Another one for the job ad -Are you fully briefed in tutting and/or sighing?
Sounds like a hell of a morning!

Brigid said...

@alymb: thanks for visiting and your lovely comment.

@old kitty, thanks, myself and Lottie are fine now, if not a bit smelly.

@the bus rider, you are not welcome.

@theresa: No, it was just motor tax if you take your car of the road for a while, you need to produce all sort of documents.
Glad I have met a fellow flip-flop hater.

@Carolina, thanks for the lovely comments, maybe the two tax offices could do some kind of holiday exchange.

@ Niamh, lovely quote at the start of your comment, yes, they had a degree in tutting.

Talli Roland said...

Yay to you and Lottie! I know - I loathe places like this. Our local post office is DIRE! I always try to smile but they give me the evil eye!

Glad you made it out in one piece!

Musings of a Mother said...

Oh dear God don't Irish government bodies just infuriate you. I still can't get over the fact that Gardai write everything down on a notebook maybe they're jotting down pieces of creative wisdom that pop into their head but methinks not...At least Lottie is sorted for another year. I love how you'd send the boy racers to Paris - that may be the solution the country needs; a bit of culture would do no harm at all x

KarenG said...

Hooray for the internet! It gives us more time to spend on the internet!

Brigid said...

@Talli, thank God I am not the only one, I am home in one piece, sort of.

@Musings, I know, especially when we pay car tax for potholed roads, I hit one just outside the office - infuriating, I like the idea of the cops writing poetry, very mellow.

Brigid said...

@Well said, Karen, maybe I am just afraid of the world outside my screen.

Niamh said...

ps Have you ever thought of writing a short story from Lotties point of view? I feel as if I know her and I'd say she has some stories to tell! Esp as an older lady who is still motoring! All the best!

Ann said...

I spent time in the local tax office here, getting all of Maisie's paperwork in order. Those really are hard seats! Glad both yourself and Lottie made it home safe and sound. Give poor Lottie a drop of oil and pour yourself a glass of wine. You both deserve it after such an ordeal!

Brigid said...

Niamh, good idea especially as I seem to be the only one where I live who has a Lottie.

Ann, poor you, hope Maisie is sorted and on the road now. Thanks for lovely comments.

Olive said...

Hi Brigid, I admire your courage in going to your local tax office. I know for certain that I couldn't hack it, which is why I carry out all such business online and away from queues and what not! At least Lottie is taxed for another year though:)

Eileen said...

It could be worse , you could be on one of the Darts when its the only hot day of the year, and no one opens a window ! Or one of the new Darts that have new weird windows where the trees come towards you, and you get motion sickness at 8 in the morning (only going a sad 15 miles per hr, hello the TGV it ain't) !!!!!

Brigid said...

Olive, but never again, I can tell you.

Eileen, I feel your pain, I havent experienced the weird windowed darts yet.