16 October 2009
"Good Morning. I should like to have my licenc(s)e back, please."
"Did you lose it?"
"Sort of. I mean, I know where it went. I just don't have it."
Australian driving privileges are linked to a point-based demerit system whereby various offences are assigned arbitrary penalties based on their heinousness. Holiday weekends automatically double the heinousness of any given infraction - as if God and Queen are especially put out when you get a little enthusiastic with the accelerator pedal on their respective birthdays. However, some transgressions are serious enough to warrant instant, and I mean INSTANT suspension of said privileges. For example, exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 45 km per hour in a rented BMW Z4...
Six months and sixteen hundred and seventy-four dollars later, I entered the tidy offices of the RTA (DMV) to request reinstatement of my privileges only to discover that, in addition to the penalties I had already suffered, my speeding violation also netted me six demerit points. However, since my transgression occurred on Easter Monday (that's an official calendar day), I had automatically reached the critical threshold resulting in an additional 3 month suspension.
"Can't I get credit for time served? Isn't it unconstitutional to penalize me twice for the same violation?"
"Sorry, our constitution does not include provisions for the rights of individuals. However, you may apply for a good behaviour bond. That will be twenty-two dollars, please."
So I made an oath before God and Queen, not to receive any demerit points for the next 12 months. If I blow it, my penalty is doubled and I will lose my licens(c)e for an additional 6 months.
Have I ever mentioned how much gambling is woven into the fabric of Australian society?
Consider it mentioned.
04 October 2009
The sun shines in my sister's smile, and now she has taken it back to California with her along with Eddie and Mom, leaving me shadowless under low dark clouds full of mist. She also left me with her cold, so three days of dreary wet weather over this long Labour Day Weekend are not entirely unwelcome. The gloom suits my current disposition and affords me the luxury of sleeping late without waking to piercing yellow rays at 5:30 am. Still - I am getting a little stir-crazy and expect the Cat in the Hat to show up any moment, even though it already looks as if Thing 1 and Thing 2 have ravaged the apartment.
"But wait?" the observant reader might ask, "Didn't your mother visit you just last month?"
Yes. Isn't she awesome?
The original plan had been for Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, and Brother-in-law to arrive en masse for ten days of familial vacation chaos, but inconveniences of employment resulted in a scheduling conflict, and Mom decided to come twice...(er, I don't think I care for that sentence). At any rate, I reckon 7 people in a 2 bedroom apartment would have been as taxing on our collective patience as on our plumbing.I had grand plans of merging the photostreams of the dual visitations into some sort of grandiose presentation that would fully capture the magnitude of emotion and entertainment experienced during those busy few weeks, but this cold has side-swiped my attention span and sapped my creativity, and I need to save my strength for the next round of visitors in two weeks time! Stay tuned.
However, I did manage to upload some snapshots for those of you who are interested in seeing my family make goofy faces at random locations throughout the Sydney Surrounds.