Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cops, Cars, ...Touchdown!

So David was pulled over by the cops a couple of weeks ago. Here in Italy they can pull you over even if you didn’t do anything wrong…just to check everything and see if they can FIND something wrong. I guess that’s not too different than in the US. So, he got pulled over and they got a cool hat trick of things wrong.

1. We never stuck the stickers in the “libretto” (the title) which would verify that, in fact we are the owners. Let me explain. See this: (imagine a photo here of a green piece of over sized paper folded in eighths with typing all over it – I forgot to take a photo of it and it’s now in the car, and it’s cold and dark outside and the car is parked a long way away) That’s the libretto. That goes everywhere with the car. It IS the car. Every time the car changes hands, a new sticker is added. Every time the car moves (with its the owners) to a new town, another sticker. (David and I quadrupled the stickers for our little Fiat – well, we would have had we actually stuck them in the libretto.) And if you don’t have the libretto, you can’t drive the car – so we learned.

2. The “revisione” expired, ummm, a while ago. The revisione is kind of like an emissions test that must be redone every two years but (as I found out today) MUCH more extensive. We knew that we needed to get this taken care of…I mean, it’s hard not to realize it when, ever time you get in the car there is a big sticker in the corner of the windshield that says 2003 . The Italian car involves a lot of stickers.

3. “patente?” Yeah, strike three (I know, I’m mixing sports metaphors – who cares). David handed the nice policeman an international driver’s license and a US license. “And your Italian license?” Apparently, contrary to what we had heard, if the libretto of the car you are driving is in your name you must have an Italian license. It’s an obscure law, that none of the other cops who have pulled David over in the past four years were aware of, but this cop earned his three-pointer.

The result? After an hour and a half by the side of the road they fined him for violation numbers 2 and 3, took his US license for violation number 3 and took the LIBRETTO for violation number 2. They decided to overlook violation number 1 – what did it matter anyway what stickers were in the libretto if they TAKE it?! The nice cops followed David to a cash machine where he paid the fines (if you don’t pay cash they impound the car…they don’t take VISA), they gave him his instructions and sent him on his way.

So there we were, David without a driver’s license, can’t drive. I can drive because the car is not in my name but without the libretto, no one can drive our car. Enter friends extraordinaire, Mercedes and Flavio who lent us their car “for as long as you need it”.

A long introduction to my experience today. Today was the appointment for the car to be revisioned. Thinking it might lead the inspector person to think we really take care of our automobile and it therefore should pass, I vacuumed the car. I believe that was the first time that has happened, well, maybe since the last revisione. Gosh am I glad I did that.

I should have realized this was no normal check when I got to the place this morning and every other car in line was totally polished and shiny and no one had, for example something like this: dangling from the back. The first question, when the guys saw the car, “Did you GO to a mechanic before this appointment?!” It was a bit rhetorical, the question, as it was obvious that I hadn’t. That would have been a good idea. I wish I had thought of it. Anyway, these two guys checked out every detail possible on the car, every function the car has, got a try, everything! This was all before they even checked the emissions (I was emitting a little myself at this point).

After about an hour they gave me the libretto back in which they had stuck all the appropriate stickers (a small miracle that we still had them!) and had written all the things that the mechanic needs to fix within the next month (that he would have fixed had I gone to him BEFORE the appointment). The list includes: 1) The readjustment of these

so they actually point the washing fluid at the windshield when they squirt, 2) tightening of a rather loosely installed battery, 3) something about a break light that I didn’t understand - it seemed to work just fine to me, 4) the slowing down of our right blinker which is a bit too enthusiastic when called upon to single an upcoming turn (I always kind of found it endearing but the guys with my libretto didn’t), and, 5)of course, that dangling thing.

Bottom line…I got the libretto back and can drive our beautiful car again. GOOOOOAAAAAAL!


  1. Olive - your life is simply to exciting for me! Appearently tou came out of the inspection ok? With all this adventure it is no wonder you find knitting comforting. I am off to work now - we are writing term papers on genetic diseases. Really going quite well. Hold the fort until David returns - take care.

  2. olive---the story was long, interesting to read i.e sports metaphors, and had a happy ending; something like hitting a bases loaded home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and a count of 3-2. another thing to worry about. let's see--water supply, heating pellets, hot water, getting electricuted,and the fricken car with something dangling out of the rear end. hang in there.

  3. bigsis4:57 PM

    hey Lynn-- Love your blog. Can't believe what you are capable of doing. You really impress me. I would have just gotten a new car.