Brad Bailey

Violation Sticker

You know some of this already. The problem with my discs, my back, my nerves, and what it and the drugs have done. What they do.

A couple of days in, I needed to go somewhere. Wanted to, really. I got down to my car from my apartment and - 

An orange sticker. YOUR VEHICLE IS IN VIOLATION.

For the first time in my adult life, I had gotten my car registration renewed early. (As opposed to the day of, or after.) But I hadn't put the new sticker on my back plate. Therefore, the sticker.

I tried to peel it off, scraping my nails against the edge, only succeeding in shreds of orange and white paper rolling, crumbling, falling to the asphalt. I'm - It's not coming off. These are the nuisance stickers, not the cool ones Walmart has on their books, you can peel those right off. (OK, being from Walmart, they are not cool. But they would have been much cooler than this.)

Sh--. They vandalized my car. I'm feeling pretty self-righteous right now. Angry. Upset. Not quite getting slapped by JK Simmons in Whiplash upset, but I'm getting there.

Back upstairs to get my boxcutter and pocket knife out of my tool bag. Down the stairs again.

First I try the boxcutter, pushing the button to extend the blade, but I can't figure out how to get the blade level with the glass; only a point will slash lines through the sticker. I'm going for a little more finesse, and hopefully getting a lot more of it at a time. My hands are shaking now. (The muscle relaxers they've got me on do that, I think.) I retract the blade, fumbling it to my other hand while I try and get the knife. Same deal, but a tiny bit better. Not what I want, and I give up, opening the car door, tossing both blades on the passenger seat. 

I look up and can see the apartment complex office. I will march over there, say "What the hell's the deal? You need to get someone to get that thing off my car right now." But first, I'm going to put the year sticker on my plate, like I should have a week ago when I got it in the mail.

I get to the office. "How can I help you?" a stunning redhead I've never seen before asks me. She's at her desk in the boss office, not out in the main lobby where I did all my paperwork to get in the place.

Naturally, I can barely form complete sentences, mumbling something about label, can someone help me get it off my car? Something about my hands shaking from my injury. 

My communication skills got me... nothing. Maybe you can try acetate, or nail polish remover. Yeah, because the weird guy who lives by himself with his guitars and his shaking hands will of course have nail polish.

I have not mastered the whole "grown person living on his own and having food in his cupboard" thing. Certainly not the "having extra random crap that I didn't even know you could use for that, nor could I anticipate a use for it" thing. Maybe if I had watched that bit in Gran Torino where Clint tells the neighbor kid all about accumulating the glorious wall of tools and fix-it stuff over the course of a lifetime before this. Like the day of.

(I realize that the fact that I own a tool belt might seem to contradict this, but trust me. I only have the bare minimum of stuff that my old boss told me I had to have six months after it was required.)

So that sticker, what's left of it, is still on the window. A month later. Looks like I broke down on the freeway or something. Always makes me think someone is right there. Even though I know it's there.

Tonight I saw someone. I didn't want her to see the torn up sticker on my car. There's this whole "you don't take proper care of stuff" subplot. It had rained, and I hoped it would make it easier to remove the sticker. It did, a little bit. Not enough to actually do the job of course. So I just parked a couple of cars away. 

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