Yesterday I went to see the County Treasurer about registering my 1987 Honda Spree scooter so I can lawfully ride it around town. (This being a legality unnecessary in the state of Georgia, due to the fact that an ‘87 Honda Spree is a most laughable and fairly powerless automobile, if it can even be called one.) This is the sole reason I got an Iowa driver’s license, by the way – so I cd make this process a little easier by being a “resident” of Iowa. And so:
It turns out that since I didn’t get a title when I bought the scooter from Random Joe in Georgia - for $500 - three years ago (from an older guy who bought it twentysomething years ago so he and his wife cd get out of their retirement Winnebago every now and then and tool around the state park campground, who told me when I asked, “Title? Naw, son. You don’t need one of those. Not in the great state of Georgia at least,” and I was like, “Awesome. The less paperwork, the better.”), I now cannot register it & get a tag UNLESS:
I fill out form 1090828AA-G in triplicate and submit it to the Des Moines office, along with a Bill of Sale (which I also lack), whereupon receipt and review of said materials, the state will get back to me with 6 to twelve weeks with either a request for more materials, or to set up an interview with an inspector, who will of course need to see the vehicle in question and rate it for safety and the minimum state requirements, as explicated on pages 3 thru 4 of form 918907097ZZ-A (attached).
If the inspector gives the Spree the thumbs up, I will then be given the opportunity to procure a bond with the state of Iowa (at the price of approx 1.5 times the blue book value of the Spree, which the State will hold in good faith for up to three interest-free years, at which time the bond will be liquidated and the money returned – which is sort of like a savings plan, except that I already have a savings account and it ran itself dry a long time ago. In other words, unless the blue book values my scooter at about the same price as a bag of Bugles and a snowcone, there’s no extra cash for a state-issued bond in my piggy bank.)
IF I rob a convenience store and buy the bond, though, I can then apply for a tag and register my “vehicle,” which, let me just say this again, amounts to little more than a tiny red wagon with a small gas engine attached on the side. THAT is what’s up in Iowa…and it’s wack.
My dad agrees that this is ridiculous and said, “Yeah, ever since nine-eleven, all the various the states and counties and provinces want to be able to track every little thing that changes hands,” which makes sense. But, then, that’s also why red tape is red tape. When a mazelike, money-guzzling bureaucracy transforms simple tasks into something epically difficult and arduous, you know you’re at the peak of civilization. And that’s exactly why my Honda Spree is now in the basement of this apartment building, collecting dust, sandwiched between a washing machine and two ancient ten–speed bikes, forgotten, not unlike the Ark of the Covenant in that last scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Yes, I said it. My scooter is the Ark of the Covenant. But you know what I’m saying: The Taliban would have to be pretty damn hard up for equipment if they were using old Spree parts to make their next bomb.
Of course, I cd always drive the scooter without a tag, but that would make me an easy mark for Johnny Law. So basically I’m effed. To stick with the Raiders metaphor, my scooter is the Ark and I am that Nazi dude who gets his face melted off. Or something like that.