Car Tax Disc Drama

‘So, can I drive the car or not??’ Hysterically awaiting my husband’s reply to my text, I was stewing. And cursing. Myself – as no one else was to blame.

It was the 3rd October. Reading a post by one of my fellow bloggers, Ellen Hawley, reminded me of the whole hysteria around the new rules in the UK. From now on (to be more precise, from 1st October) renewing your car tax can only be done online. Useful to know, I thought. So, leisurely, I commented on her post to say that, hey, I should actually check the expiry date on mine.

Which I did.

Oh. My. God. Mine had actually EXPIRED already. Two days ago!!! OMG. Shit.

For my readers who are not closely familiar with the realities of life in the UK, not renewing your car tax is a serious offence. You get a fine, sure enough, but you also get points on your driving license. And, this being a country chained with all sort of cameras, you never know who may have photographed your car. This means that, Big Brother watching, I could receive a letter to say my crime had been caught and I am liable to pay the damage caused to the system, to the whole society, to the world peace!

Typically for my luck, this happened while my husband (who takes care of anything to do with my car) was abroad. Him not willing to pay roaming charges to take my calls, and being on a motorbike anyway (e.g. not taking phone calls while on the road for safety reasons), my only hope is to text him. And wait for an answer. Which, surprisingly, arrives within a few minutes.

‘I’ve bought it. There is no car tax disc.’

Huh? Is that all? What is that even supposed to mean? If you’ve bought it, there should be a tax disc – which obviously hasn’t arrived yet, but that’s ok, as long as somewhere in the virtual reality Big Brother has made a note of our payment.

Completely baffled and helpless, I needed to know. Desperate text for clarification. No reply. An hour later, I sent another text. Can I fucking drive my car or not?

Eventually I picked up the phone, my blood boiling.

– Don’t you follow the news?? There’s no such thing as a tax disc anymore! Yes, you can bloody drive the car! Where have you been in the past few months – on the moon?!

This is what the Ice Bucket Challenge must feel like. With the added complication of feeling incredibly stupid.

No, I don’t actually follow the news. Not closely. What I heavily rely on is Facebook. If it’s not on Facebook, it can’t be that important. Sometime ago I read a very interesting and informative article about this, Ellen Hawley’s post. Days later, two of my Facebook friends complained about the DVLA website crashing due to the heavy traffic of users. I also vaguely overheard something on the radio. So, I thought I knew enoughย about the change.

But could I have missed one ‘tiny’ fact: that the idea of the actual paper disc has been abolished? Obviously I have.

This time my story ends with a happy end – unbelievably for me. It did make me think though. Is Facebook the ultimate way to inform yourself of everything that goes on in the world around you… The answer is imminent.

Next time I need to know something important, I shall make sure I refer to a ‘serious’ source of information. Promise. Just to make sure I do end up with a happy end again!

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