Thursday, August 21, 2008

A stormy relationship

For two days my son has been stranded in Florida with a woman named Fay. He says she's a wimp, but she's strong enough to prevent him from coming home, which he needs to do pretty soon so he can pack up his things and drive to his college in Texas before next Tuesday.

He and Fay have had a stormy relationship. It all started when my son flew to Florida on Monday to buy a car. Why not buy a car at home? Because here on the edge of Appalachia, the variety of used cars available is rather limited--unless you're interested in a pickup truck. Besides, his uncle in Florida is a mechanic who loves to fix up cars, so we've worked out a pretty smooth working relationship with him over the years: we tell him what we're looking for, he finds the car and fixes it up, and he doesn't charge us for his labor. We've bought our past four cars that way and so far it's worked out well.

So the boy emptied out his savings and trotted off to Florida on Monday, and by Monday night he had found the car and was prepared to write a check to the owner. The owner wanted cash, but the banks were already closed, so that delayed the purchase until Tuesday. Then he had the car but needed a temporary tag, but along came Fay.

As tropical storms go, Fay has lacked the destructive power of some of her kin. All she does is sit right over the edge of the state and drop rain by the bucketload, but this is enough to cause all government offices to close down, including the DMV. How can my son acquire a temporary tag when the DMV is closed? He can't. He can't even go to the beach in this weather. All he can do is sit inside, watch the rain fall, and hope for a break in the weather.

He did some research and discovered that he can legally drive the car without a temporary tag for 30 days as long as he has the title with him, but a 19-year-old driving a red car without a license plate on the interstate for two days is likely to be pulled over pretty frequently, so he'd rather not. Meanwhile, he lingers and watches Fay, who is doing her best to keep him in Florida. At least he ought to get a good story out of it. When he finally gets back to college, he can boast to his buddies about spending a wild weekend at the beach with a stormy woman who wouldn't let him go.

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