Some tasks are long, frustrating and ultimately pointless. Today was consumed with one of those tasks.
Friday, December 2nd, 2016
My bureaucratic nightmare started early when I woke up with the plan of visiting my Father, who is currently in the hospital after surgery.
I took a short walk down Orchard Drive which is near where I was raised, in Park Forest, Illinois. On a side note, it’s pleasing to know that my old neighborhood is still orderly, neat, clean and serene.
I took my parents’ car to the grocery store after painstakingly compiling a list of necessities with my mother. She needed help and some prodding to properly recall all of the items that she needed to take care of and feed herself at home. I wandered along the aisles of the Ultra grocery store off of Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights. She asked for various sundries and perishables and I did all I could to fulfill each and every item on her list. To add to the banality of my duties for my parents, I also deposited a check that my dad had written, for some reason. The bank was situated inside of the grocery store and featured a long line of shoppers and bank patrons.
In order to not have to rely on Uber during the trip to see my Father, I sought to get a license sticker for my parents’ car, which had expired about a month and a half before. I knew instinctively that this task would not be very simple, so I made sure to arrive at the department of motor vehicles only a half an hour after they opened.
I carried a registration renewal card as well as some paperwork associated with the car exhaust emissions. Mercifully, there was a short line at the DMV. I walked up to the attendant and inquired about getting my car license renewal sticker. She immediately asked whether I had completed and passed an emissions test. Of course, I didn’t know, but with a few keystrokes on her computer, she determined that I had not passed the emissions test. I wouldn’t have expected less, at this point.
I then asked the lady where the nearest emissions test station was. She handed me a piece of paper and circled and address in Markham Illinois. I figured that before seeing my father, and since it was still early in the day, I would drive to Markham and take the test.
It was a 20 to 30-minute drive to the station, and I pulled through the facility and the test was performed on the car. Naturally, the car didn’t pass the emissions test. I then had to inquire about the nearest garage where I could get the proper work completed on the car. The attendant noted a garage that was nearby and directed me there.
Now, one at the garage, I was told that it would take a half an hour to an hour to perform the proper test on the car. And then, after that could the mechanic assess what work needed to be done, which would be additional time.
At this point, on this very great day, I was stuck and resigned myself to bear the weight, in the hopes that I could resolve this issue, and get the license sticker renewal for my parents’ car. I ate at a unique hamburger stand near the garage. It was a very, shall I say, “working class” establishment. I did enjoy the fried mushrooms that I ordered with my very simple but generous and tasty cheeseburger.
After eating, I killed time in the waiting room of the garage. Happily, there was a television on the premises, and I ended up watching about two hours of TV. At this point, it was 2 PM and I knew that the DMV was closing at 5 PM. Only after all of the work and assessments were done, and I had paid for the engine repairs on my parents debit card, did the mechanic mention that I would have to drive the car for a number of miles before it would be able to pass the emissions test. I was quite livid because I had not been notified of this before.
I resignedly drove home and picked up my mother. We drove back to the garage to make sure that the mechanic signed a document that he had to sign in order for us to pass the emissions test. The test results came back only have positive for passing the test. We were advised to drive even more and then return to the emissions testing facility. In order to drive more, and see my dad in the hospital, we drove further north to the hospital on 95th St., and I saw my father for a total of 20 minutes. He was very appreciative of seeing me, and not demanding of my time. That said, I would’ve rather spent more time with him then doing this frustrating errand.
We exhaustively drove back to the emissions facility and were told that the test was still not passed and to drive the car for seven days. Since I would be soon leaving and was the only one in the household who could drive, the entire day proved to be a fiasco. We defeatedly ate at a Chinese restaurant in Homewood, I dropped my Mother at home and ended the evening at the movies: a horror film called Incarnate at the Marcus theater in Chicago Heights.