Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Visiting the car doctor

The letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) arrived about a month ago. It was a notice reminding me to re-register my car for this year. That was the normal part. I also had to get a smog test done. That was not so abnormal either - it's been 2 years since the last smog test was done. The strange part was that it said that my car needed a smog test at a special test only station.

My poor car! It's not brand new - but it's not that old that it needs smog testing at some special station. I immediately did a search online and learnt that apparently California has a very strictly enforced eco program. One of the manifestations of this program is smog testing in a test only station which apparently makes sure that the result is unbiased. But all these are technicalities about which you can read to your heart's content here.

Anyways, after this intial burst of activity, I figured that I had a whole month's time to get the testing done and promptly forgot all about it. Till yesterday. Some vague memory of the registration deadline being sometime in the second week of August popped into my head. I checked the registration notice and yup - I needed to get the smog test plus registration before August 12th i.e. this weekend. Immediately, all panic alarms went off.

You should know that I am the kind of person who, whenever possible, gives buffers for all kinds of mishaps when planning for something. Given that, 5 days seemed too less a time. I immediately started doing all sorts of mental calculations. If I took the car to the smog test center on Tuesday and in case it flunked (yeah, I always think of the worst case scenario too), how many days would the mechanic take to repair it? Oh no, oh no, oh no - I would wind up paying a fine if the mechanic trip took more than 3 days to diagnose and fix the problem.

Sigh! Why couldn't I have done this earlier? Fortunately, before I could launch into full-fledged self-berating mode, it struck me that of the envisioned scenario, only step one, viz. taking the car to a Smog Test Center (STC), needed to be actually done immediately.

I have never done a smog test for my car (the seller had done it before I bought the car). So, I went to the DMV web site and found the list of STCs closest to my house. And then found a tip on another website that the car should have been running for at least 15 minutes before taking it to a smog center (don't ask me why that is so). So I moved the timing from Tuesday morning to Tuesday evening instead so that I could take it directly from work and hence not spend extra time driving around (waah, waah - what time management!).

Then, to prepare my car for this visit to the car "doctor", I took the car for a wash on Monday evening (you know, its a psychological thing - by seeing a clean car anyone would be tempted to give it the clean chit :-) - or so I reasoned).

Anyways, I left work early today and took the car to the STC. Once there, I was asked to park the car and wait. I chose a spot where I had a full view of the car (moral support for the car to do well, you see). The car doctor opened the hood and ran some tests.Then inserted some kind of apparatus into the exhaust and ran some tests. Then spun the front wheels and ran some more tests. All kinds of tests.

In between, the smog test doctor actually put on his spectacles to see something better. Then after staring intently at the computer screen, he took them off. For some reason, this reminded me of the doctors in Tamil movies, who always take off their specs when they have bad news! And I was like "Nooooo - don't flunk my car."

Finally, after some 20 minutes of suspense, the mechanic came to me, complete with a chart on a clipboard and a grave expression on his face and said (I am not kidding) "Congratulations! Your car has passed the smog test". I felt as though my car had come successfully through some major surgery or something!! After that I just had to pay for the certificate (that was full posh - they electronically transmitted the results to the DMV) and take my dear car and leave :-)!

That's all there is to the story. Really.

I need to get some award for over-dramatization :-D!

20 comments:

Shilpa said...

Pah...u made such a big deal...I thot that ur car failed the test with all the suspense....!

U shd try ur hand at writing screen-plays for soaps on TV !!

Anonymous said...

Am literally ROFL. you took your car for cleaning, before getting a smog test! I've done this before and not once did it even strike me... And my car was in such a bad shape that all the contents in the back seat were put in the trunk so as to hide them!

Floridora said...

You are good! You had me so caught up in the drama that I staerted worrying about when our car was due for inspection. It finally dawned on me that Florida stopped the inspections several years ago. Well, heck, it is early in the AM and your blog is the first thing I have read this morning.

Archana Bahuguna said...

ROFL with your descriptions. Congratulations for your car coming out squeaky clean :-). I too always get such thoughts while some test is going on any thing or myself. I always think, it will come out wrong. (And this theory works well because first you decrease ur expectations and then you get the +ve surprise :-)

Just like Shilpa says, here's my advice :Try your hand with writing plots for plays. Take my word, you will be more than successful. Join some theater activity alongside your exercise routine. (No pun intended)

T said...

3 words.
kollywood needs u !

T said...

all that was missing was a song sequence where you run around your car in switzerland mountain tops with lots of hugs to the car...

Ramki said...

If i practically think about what you have said it looks like something near to unwanted confusion. The narration of this confusion is really nice and interesting to read.

Prabhu said...

LOL when the Dr(?!!) removed his spectacles and looked at you...

And your narration reminded me of Crazy Mohan's way of saying things.
Good job, hope you would think of professional writing seriously, sometime in ur future...:)

Archana said...

Shilpa - LOL :-) - poya, if my car had flunked the test, I probably wouldn't be blogging about it (would be too sad you see)!

Anon - :-D - I know - such brain-waves occur only to smart people :-P!

Floridora - oh, wow - Florida does not have inspections? I would think Florida would need an eco program as much as Cal - is that not so :-)?

Archana - :-D! Ah, finally someone who shares my point of view :-D!

T - LOL :-D - you left out mother sentiment and the villain who holds my car hostage in the climax scene :-P!

Ramki - thank you :-)!

Prabhu - :-)! Thank you :-D!

Writing soaps shd be a fairly easy job. All I need to do is write one line of action. Then have some 10 females weeping till the last five minutes - and then let the action happen. Hmm - that sounds like easy work :-) - I should think about it!

Prasanna said...

sema build up ma!

Archana Bahuguna said...

And finally when you do write for those soaps, pls pls include our names in the acknowledgements. ;-)

Saranya Kishore said...

:--)) I think if you have your car well serviced and well maintained, like most of us paranoid girls do, ;-) [we wouldnt drive a car with problems would we now?] it would generally pass the smog test.

>>That's all there is to the story. Really.

ROTFL!! :--))

Ginkgo said...

oh oh...so nothing happened..

wud have thought something like....u paid half ur pay check to get the repairs done...

wat a dissapointment..:P

Archana said...

Prasanna - heheheheh!

Archana - of course I will :-D. I will even be getting suggestions for major plot points from you guys ;-)!

Saranya - thats true :-)! There was no need to worry abt a smog test of all things - its just that my imagination works a little bit overtime :-)!

Ginkgo - enna oru nalla ennam - grr!!

spark said...

engeyo poyitte archu! adada, exaggeration at its exciting best.

A said...

Oh no!after reading ur blog,I remembered I got a similar notice from DMV, and I'm far far away, sitting in Boston,reading blogs..my panic attacks start now!!

Archana said...

Spark - :-D - well, er, thank you :-D!

A - :-)! Don't worry - I think the deadline shd be later for you - I seem to recall you saying some date in September!

ROBBIE said...

Hey arch.
Glad to see your car alive and kicking. Whew! great to hear about the smog test, my hearty congratulations to your car for passing with flying colors:P. Its been long and finally robbie is backkkkk...

Archana said...

Robbie - good to see you back :-D!

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