CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Who Drives w/o Insurance or License?

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By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Why I’m involved in so many oddball situations boggles the mind (at least mine). In the wildest fiction you couldn’t possibly dream up, some of my past quaint (dumb) experiences include: Getting leg cramps at 30,000 feet; leaving a cartful of groceries in parking lot (twice); listening to a (white) cop extolling the virtues of his Japanese girlfriend while he writes a speeding ticket (a week after completing traffic school for the same violation); six torturous visits to the DMV just to get a license renewal! The list is endless and all have been duly noted in CR2S lamentations, sans embarrassment. So let’s add two more to the inventory.

Like your average normal Jappo person (the best kind), I was preparing for an active holiday weekend. Christmas being for family, Oshogatsu expands the vistas to include friends, especially those who still prepare new year goodies that Mama used to slave over in days gone by. So yeah, I had a tentative travel agenda laid out to make the most of this once-a-year gastronomical offering.

I do so little driving these days my battery has gone dead twice. [The odometer shows less than 39,000 miles and the car is 12 years old!] A trip to Orange County, long overdue, wasn’t deemed feasible this time around, so I wound up concentrating on the Eastside/Monterey Park area for howdy-dowdy visits, excitedly anticipating opportunities to respond to coveted “Take some food home, Wimpy-san” moments.

The phone rings Friday the 28th as I’m putting the finishing touches on my visitation agenda. It’s my friendly insurance agency [name starts with an “A” like in Allstate, but is spelled Aihara.]“We’ve been notified your automobile insurance has been cancelled,” the stern voice intones.

After some non-profane ranting, which included more exclamation points than question marks, it dawned on me she was merely the messenger and should not the target of my displeasure. The culprit was a major insurance company headquartered in Pasadena. [To save embarrassment, I will not name the malefactor but it rhymes with Tokio Marine.] My main complaint was why no notification of premium due, not to mention no follow-up reminder before cancellation. I certainly didn’t fall into the category of a troublesome client. I always paid my bills on time and for the life of me, couldn’t recall the last claim ever made.

For the sake of argument, let’s be real. We begin to overlook things at a certain stage in life; like now for me. So I checked my less than meticulous financial records and found that a home policy (by the same carrier) was in good stead; but no evidence of having received an invoice or billing reminder of payment overdue on car coverage.

That’s when it dawned on me the auto policy probably still had my old North Hicks address; even though I’ve now been a KRH resident for 17 months. [I’m told the post office, which is a zillion dollars in the red, stops forwarding mail after a year.] I readily admit Tokio-whatever-its-name was not on my change of address notification list, but if they have my current address on the home policy, why not on my vehicular coverage? Fair question? Additionally, why call my agent? Why not me? (Example: I’ve received a half-dozen reminders from Time Magazine of subscription lapse date.)

So now the wheels begin to churn in mine cranium. That little ole gremlin, who has found a home on my left shoulder, tells me I’ve probably forgotten something else kind of important: the expiration date on my driver’s license, the one that hung me out to dry just a short 20 months ago.

Opening my wallet as if it contained a bomb, I look at my less-than-two-year-old license, and yup, it had expired on my birthday, Nov. 25, three days after the lapse date of my auto coverage. Now ain’t that a daily double to be ashamed of?

On New Year’s Day, wearing socks and clean-shaven, I’m torn between nudging caution to the wind or surrendering to the better part of valor: Do I jump in the car and challenge? Or shrug drooping shoulders and accept how dumb it would be to drive without insurance or a valid driver’s license?

So there you go, folks, an opening CR2S salvo. And a happy 2013 to you, too.

“O” Report: No visitations since New Year’s Eve. But the live lady lingers.

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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