South Park Self


I badly need a new car. My gallant little Mermaid, who has conveyed me thither and yon for the last five or six years, is finally giving up the ghost. She has sprung a leak on her head gasket, which means she trundles around the show in the midst of a thick fog of exhaust fumes and steam, consuming vast quantities of oil and water, and she's not worth the cost of the major overhaul which would fix things. I can't blame her: she's a '93 vintage, and has done well.

I can afford a new car, or at least a newish second-hand car of more recent vintage. That's not the problem. The problem is that I don't currently have a valid driver's licence, since I was driving off my Zimbabwean one, which was in the wallet which was stolen. I am not going to acquire a newer, more expensive car when driving invalidly, on account of how that mucks with the insurance liability thingies. I need to either procure a new Zim licence, or go through the whole rigmarole of taking my learner's and licence here.

In order to work out if I actually can procure a replacement, I need to extract sense from either the Zim consulate or the Central Vehicle Registry in Harare. Since any email addresses I have found for them bounce, and the phone numbers simply ring ad nauseam, I do not think that sense will be forthcoming any time soon, if in fact it ever existed in above-quantum quantities in either of those organisations.

In order to work out if I can actually re-take my licence when I already have one, I need to extract sense from the traffic department in Cape Town. Currently I am embroiled in a circular pattern of viciously self-referential phone numbers, during which I am passed from person to person like an infinitely-wrapped parcel.

In either to escape from the above holding pattern, I need considerably more energy than I currently possess, given as how I am still chronically fatigued and have just gone through a massive year-end marks-processing embroilment. Right now I manage one and a half phone calls and then burst into tears.

Sometime in the next few weeks the whole thing is going to be taken explosively out of my hands when the Mermaid's engine seizes solid and erupts from the bonnet like an inexpert solid-fuel rocket. At this point we're royally screwed, since the Evil Landlord's car has actually blown a head gasket and is completely defunct, and he's in the middle of a major release and doesn't have time to replace it, leaving me and the Mermaid as the sole transport for the household. (A rather amusing reversal of the usual state of affairs, and one causing me a certain amount of innocent, karma-balancing pleasure).

Send more energy pls. I need to hammer it into the shoes on my horse.
  • Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Re: Longshanks
Yes, one can legally drive around on a scooter/bike with just a learner's. One could theoretically take the learner's test every 18 months and never do the actual driver's test :P.
Re: Longshanks
Ooh, edgy Viggo pictures definitely up the quality of my day no end. Thank you! I have no problems at all with grungy anti-heroes...
Re: Longshanks
And, as to the scooter/moped solution: a maidenly "eek" suffices. Apart from the obvious fragility and vulnerability of a scooter driver on SA roads, I would have to learn how to drive one and then take the test, whereas with a car I simply have to learn how to pass the test. I am darkly suspecting that one picks up an awful lot of bad habits in 25 years of driving, but I even more darkly suspect I'd fall off a scooter a lot before becoming competent.
Re: Longshanks
I learned to drive a scooter over the course of three days, in Turkey (crazy traffic on the wrong side of the road), with Y riding pillion. It was a steep learning curve, but if you can drive and ride a bike then the scooter is a teeny step further.
I work in Greenpoint, fairly near Das Landlord. I am happy to transport him to and from his salt mine :P.
Re: Town
Thank you, nice lady, but he's actually sorted for work, one of his co-workers lives in Harfield Village and comes right past our house on her work trips. She also keeps his weird and lengthy salt-mine hours, which is probably just as well. EL becomes irritable when unable to work to usual ridiculous amount.
I'm working 6am - 2pm shifts next week, and am thus available in the afternoons to transport you to the Traffic Dept in Green Point or Pinelands to book/write learner's exams, harangue officials, etc. (Assuming that you are still working half-days, mornings only.)

Likewise for dealing with the EL's car. I can tow it to the garage for him if you don't mind operating the steering wheel, or we commandeer Stv to assist.

Scooters do tempt with their cuteness and economy. But after considering the standard of driving in Cape Town, making use of 2-wheeled transport seems suicidal.

How do you commute to and from work? Jammie shuttle?
Ah! Thank you, kind sir, for your estimable offer of assistance, but you misunderstand. The lack of licence/insurance invalidity/clouds of smoke are not, in fact, preventing me from driving the Mermaid. No, indeed! I stave off potential slings and arrows of the outrageous-fortune variety by trying not to take her very far, topping up her oil and water religiously, driving very carefully indeed, and carrying the temporary permitted-to-drive slip they gave me when I first got my licence, and a police-signed affidavit swearing blind that my licence was stolen and I'm trying to replace it, officer, really I am. With any luck my current tendency to burst into tears if the cosmic wossnames so much as look at me sideways may assist in allowing me to wriggle out of a certain amount of Large Bovine Traffic Cop nastiness. Maybe.

The EL's car is actually already at a garage, I think the Amazing Ray arranged a tow-truck. The EL is apparently perfectly content to operate without it until he gets around to arranging a replacement.

But again, thank you! The way that you witterers leap in with offers of help in situations of my vague fatigue-induced wibbliness is extremely heart-warming.
Oh, yes, that one had totally occurred to me. I won't do that, promise! Fatigued, yes, but not quite to the point of suicidal stupidity :>.
I had to retake my drivers when I got permanent residency, despite the fact that I had been driving here for 5 years as a temporary resident. Very stressful...white knuckled it around the city in morning traffic only to be told "oh, you past before we pulled off...checked your right blind spot, nobody here does that"...okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, then...note to self: approach pulling out cars with caution!