I went and got my vehicle inspected today. While this may not seem that interesting let me tell you the process involved in the state of Washington. Back home you would simply drive up to a state inspection station. They'd open the door and plug a computer into the car and put a doo-dad on the tail pipe. The attendant would have you start up the car and let it run for a couple minutes. Upon passing the emissions test the employee would give you a sheet to take to the local DMV office or authorized office and turn in. You would then get your vehicle license tabs.
Texas is apparently different. I took my car to a local shop that advertised it does vehicle inspection. I pull up and let the snaggle toothed mechanic take control of my car. He put it in reverse and drove back through the parking lot. He then pulled forward and hit the brakes.
"What the hell," I thought?
I figured there must be a reason for that action, but let it go and went into the waiting room which was a sea of Us Weekly and People type rags about celebrities and who they're dating. They did have a television with news which was a plus.
The mechanic came to me with bad news. He said my windshield wipers needed to be replaced and my horn didn't work.
"Ok," I said. "I'll get them fixed then. So what now?"
"Sir," he said with a jack-o-lantern smile. "Your vehicle doesn't pass inspection."
"Really," I asked with surprise? "Is my muffler old?"
"You're new here aren't you?"
"Yeah." I thought the Washington plates would've made it obvious.
"Sir you need to get your windshield wipers and horn fixed in order for it to pass inspection."
"Oh," I said. "This is more than just an emissions test."
I gave the mechanic the go-ahead to fix what was needed, but couldn't help but think that the political party that dominated Texas is constantly espousing less government, but yet this kind of bureaucracy exists. It's not a big deal as I was going to fix these things anyways and am somewhat happy they care about cars being safe on the roads, but this seemed just a tad extreme.
I go and get myself some water and come back into the waiting room. A family entered and changed the channel to children's programming. I picked up some celebrity gossip rag, but then I started to hate myself for simply reading it.
The child didn't want to sit in her chair and plopped down on my foot. She continued watching some show with animated dinosaurs breaking out into song whenever she felt it necessary. I turned to her mother who was sound asleep. The mom then started to snore loudly.
The kid was a cute one, but didn't seem interested in me at all. Not once did the tyke look at me or even acknowledge my presence. I guess she thought my shoe was really comfortable.
Finally the woman was shook awake by a mechanic who had news for her. The large lady pulled her daughter off my foot and scolded her for being a pest. I wasn't annoyed with the kid and let that be known to the matriarch who just smiled. Her lack of glow made it obvious she hated her choices in life.
A young lady walked in with her boyfriend, both dressed to the nine. In a sharp dress she stood in the waiting room and smiled brightly with her significant other looking bored. The mechanic quickly came in and told her he wasn't even going to bother with the inspection as the tires are too bald. She huffed out of there with her man in tow.
My horn and wipers were finally replaced and now it's official. The streets of Texas are much safer now that I can honk.
"All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men." - Sam Houston