I took our car for emissions testing yesterday. The good news? It passed. The bad news? COMPUTERS RULE THE EARTH and also the VEIP program and mere mortals are powerless to protest.
Here’s why. Our car was last due for emissions testing in August 2006. However, we requested an extension because we were moving out of state. When the next notice arrived, I sent it back, stating that, while we had not yet transferred our vehicle registration to our new state of residence, we were in fact living there and thus it would be impossible for us to appear in Maryland for the test. After going a couple of rounds on this, the notices stopped arriving. Six months later, we moved back to Maryland, but I never heard from the emissions testing program again.
UNTIL NOW. Today’s test showed that the car passed, but the computer applied the two-year window retroactively, from August 2006 (the original test date) through August 2008. In other words, even though my car passed today, September 12, 2008, it was immediately overdue for testing again.
I spoke to a very nice man in the office at the test center. He granted me an extension, but explained that because I was now overdue, I would have to get retested soon, because OF THE DATES IN THE COMPUTER.
“Well, since I passed TODAY, can’t you just change the dates in the computer to show I’m good for another two years from today?”
“No ma’am, I can’t override the computer.”
“I get what you’re saying,” I tried again. “But, don’t you agree that it’s silly for them to apply my two years retroactively?”
“Yes, I do,” he patiently replied. “But I can’t change the dates. If I do that, I’ll be looking for a new job tomorrow.” He continued, “They want to collect your next fee, is why.”
I tried another approach. “Well then, how about I just write a check for another $14 and we call it good? Will that work?”
“No ma’am.” He laughed nervously.
“Can I just drive around and retest it right now, since there is no line and I’m already here?”
“No ma’am. That won’t work because the COMPUTER won’t yet be updated with your information.”
I suppose it could be worse. They could hit me with some huge late fee or something. I may have to pursue this one with whoever’s in charge of the program, because it seems, well, backwards to me to apply my passing test retroactively and require a new test immediately. If it’s about the money, I’ll pay ‘em. I just don’t want to take the time to queue up for another test.
Speaking of queue? I idled my car for 15 minutes while waiting for the test, as did all the other cars waiting in line, and am I the only one who finds that highly ironic, that we would spew harmful gasses into the air while waiting for our cars to be tested to ensure that they are not spewing more than their fair share of crap into the environment?
“Let’s Clear The Air” INDEED.