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Posts Tagged ‘Car Tax

A Day in the life of an Irish Cowboy living in Texas, with Grandson !!

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State of Texas

Image by SMU Central University Libraries via Flickr

Woken early by crying Grandson. Lovely morning here in Texas, if you could drown out the sound of Toes. Toes is the name I gave him shortly after he was Christened as he had a fascination with his Toes. To get up and see to said child or turn over and hope that Mammy or Daddy will actually identify the cry of their beloved. OK, I turned over and went back to sleep. Yes I did but it became more impossible to ignore the cries. You know that cry which pleads with you, to your better senses. OK, eventually Mammy woke up and did the necessary.

Later on I decided I needed some therapy. While others go to the Spa and have massages and such like, Baldwin heads to the local Barbers Shop where a Korean Lady and her Texan Assistant always meet you with the same loving welcome…. “What You Want??” Eh, I could have said a Haircut but that would have been too obvious. Eh, usually get it cut, eh, with a Scissors (?). “What Number?” Em, now I knew what awaited me. My son years ago went from a Number 6 to a Nil Blade. Was the same fate awaiting me I wondered. OK said I, a Number 4. She replied “and ?” Well, was she asking me something else, but what?? Another Number !! OK, I replied Number 2. To be honest I hadn’t a clue what I’d just said or indeed ordered. Her Texan Assistant broke the ice somewhat by saying “Oh, I love your accent” . Great sorted. Nearly an hour later after having the sides nearly shaved but some hair, not much though, still visible on top, I went to stand up. “Don’t move.” I froze. Then the Texan took the hoover to me and literally hoovered my head, face and collar. I was then treated to a head massage, of sorts followed by a compulsive trimming of my Eyebrows. They both then looked me up and down and smiled. After more time showing me their masterpiece by the use of several mirrors I was released from the chair. To be fair to them both, I’ve never been pampered so much in my life. $10 was the Bill which I gladly paid plus a well deserved Tip before heading out to my son who said, Fair Play to you Dad. Some Haircut, with an evil grin on his face. My son had been looking after his nephew for the past hour or so and both seemed in good form. Thank God for small mercies.

As it was now nearing the unearthly hour of 10AM, I decided today was the day to get all those jobs done that took time. Well, we did have all day and Toes loves nothing better than a spin in the car. So I decided to get the Car Taxed and Inspected. The stickers on the Windscreen would soon alert the local SAPD that I was driving illegally. Well come June 1st that is. So off to collect my Caretaker’s Wife who is better than a Sat Nav. I might mention that without her I would literally drive around totally lost. In Texas if you take the wrong road you could end up in Mexico in no time at all. So my son, Toes and me drove over to collect said Sat Nav who calls me her ‘Twin Brother from Another Mudder’ as we were born exactly 1 hour apart back in 1958. I claim she’s the older twin but she doesn’t agree.

I drive past the Office where you pay the car tax with a smug look on my face as queues are not for me.The Queue is way past the door and spilling out onto the Street outside. My Sat Nav Twin directs me to a parking spot outside an unmarked Building. I had been here several times over the past few years and it always was a pleasure to do business. On entering through the side door I noticed there was a girl seated at both desks. One had a customer seated in front of her while the other lady was free. I usually say Hi and get a warm response and the usual ‘Oh I love your accent’. On this occasion however the lady who was free pointed me to the Take a Number Board. I took Number 14 and went where directed to take a seat and wait for said number 14 to be called. As I sat down the lady who was free gave me a frightening look. She let me sit for all of 10 seconds and then shouted “Next”. I looked around to see if there was someone in front of me, like the Invisible Man. Then I heard the words “You, are you deaf” ring out. Not a good start I thought but sure I’ll only be 2 or 3 minutes, just like last year, I thought. I then walked gingerly towards her as she pointed to where I should sit. My Sat Nav sat beside me while my son stood a safe distance away. Toes I placed on my lap. I then produced my Insurance and my Driving Licence as I’d done on numerous occasions before. She looks at them and then holds up my Driving Licence and says “What the hell is this?” My Driving Licence I said. I explained politely that I was Irish and lived in Dublin but that I had a home over here for vacations etc. She was unimpressed. I don’t think she believed one word of what I said. Remember now that I am in front of her desk in Boots, Jeans, Shirt and Cowboy Hat. She obviously had formed the opinion that I was a fraudster. She then asked whether there were any other Baldwins present. My son stepped forward. She asked him if he had a real driving licence. He produced his UK Driving Licence and she immediately said that was a real licence as she gives me yet another dirty look. At this stage I can feel cold sweat dripping from my brow. I then went to produce my Four Courts I.D. which would verify that I was a Solicitor. I then quickly thought again as there was a rather large sign on the door saying ”No Solicitors”. Not a good idea I thought. And of course I had left my Passport which contained an American Visa, well, back at the Ranch. At this point Toes decided to get involved and spoke. As his main word is Assse he uttered same with such passion that well, it didn’t really help my cause.

Suddenly she reached for the phone. At this point I thought, The Game is Up. She’s phoning the Police who will incarcerate me in the Local Lock-up. Poor Toes would see his Grandad being led away in handcuffs! I thought a quick call to my colleague Jim Adler, an attorney I trained with in Boston in the late 80’s would be necessary. He now calls himself “The Texas Hammer”. Yeah, he’ll sort this ‘Lady’ out. Or, what about the Governor, Rick Perry.  Sure he follows me on Twitter. He’ll definitely come to my rescue, won’t he ? But, to my relief I actually heard the person on the other end of the phone say ‘Yeah, no problem. Give Tom his Tax Sticker’. To say I was relieved would be an understatement. She then said she was prepared to Sell me the Car Tax but only on my son’s real Driving Licence. The Dublin Corporation Pink Driving Licence was thrown back at me and I was told under no circumstances to produce such a forgery again. That she would let me away with it this time. That it didn’t even look like a Driving Licence and was badly done anyway. I then paid her the grand sum of $54.30 and she gave me my Registration Renewal Receipt and Sticker. I left the office with my papers in order but a broken man, grasping Toes in my arms. But sure said my Sat Nav Twin, “she’s obviously not from Texas”.

Next port of call was a trip to this nice Mexican who ran an Inspection facility. I nervously walked in expecting the Police to be waiting for me. No, he was there ,a kind oldish guy. He took my Car Keys and 5 minutes later I was handed my sticker to say the car had passed and he even offered to put the 2 new stickers I had on the windscreen for me. I then paid him his fee, $14.20. The only strange thing was that he asked me what 8 was in German, for no apparent reason. I assured him I was Irish although I looked a local. Acht, I believe is 8 in German I said as I Thanked him and we went on our way.

A drive to Krispy Kremes was next as we needed some comfort food. Toes is 15 months old and not adverse to the odd bite of a Donut. The light was on as we approached so we knew we’d get some free donuts. On entering the building a young Mexican lad was walking towards the door eating a donut when Toes literally accosted him trying to prise the donut from his hand. Thank God the lad and his Mother saw the funny side of things. We bought a box of a dozen to bring home but Toes insisted on eating one whole one, on his own, even before leaving the shop. While driving home I got a whiff from the back seat and so though it only right to speed home and gives Toes back to his adorable mother.

At this stage I am contemplating an immediate Court challenge against Dublin City Council and having them explain before a High Court Judge why they had issued me, some 10 years ago, with such an obviously fraudulent document purporting to be a Driving Licence.

 

LegalEagleStar Friday, 3rd. June, 2011

San Antonio, Texas.

Written by LegalEagleStar

June 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

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