So, It Turns Out I’m the Incompetent Person at the Secretary of State’s

People, I have to tell you a story, in part because the kind folks in line at the Secretary of State’s office promised me that it would be funny to anyone I told. So, here it is.

I go to get my tags. I stand in line. I let a nice gentleman use my pen. I avoid all small talk. I go up to the window, I turn over the items needed to get new tags. I come out. I go to the first silver car in our row, which, when I went in, was my car. I put my tags on the plate. I go to get in it only to realize that it’s not my car.

I try to take the tags off. One comes off fine. The other breaks into pieces.

I have to go back into the Secretary of State’s office. Everyone in line turns to look. They all recognize me, because I have literally just walked out of there three minutes before. I shrug and say, “I put my tags on the wrong car.”

The guy in front of me starts to snicker.

His girlfriend says, “It is pretty funny.”

“I feel like a dumbass,” I say.

“Oh, don’t worry, sweetie,” the woman in front of her says. “It’s not like anyone saw you.”

“My brother did,” I say.

The guy with the neck tattoo laughs out loud now. “And he didn’t stop you? That’s cold.”

I go back up to the window, explain what happened and the woman hooked me right back up with a new set of tags after I wrote out an affidavit explaining my dumbassery.

Again, I say, “I feel like a dumbass.”

“Oh no,” she said, “that happens all the time.”

“I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse about the state of things in Nashville.”

When I get back out to the car, the Butcher apologizes for not quite realizing what I was doing until it was too late. Then he says that when the old couple whose car it was got out there, the old guy was laughing, “We weren’t even here to get tags.”

Edited to Add: Someone, who shall remain nameless (cough*tinypasture*cough) just emailed me to remind me that here in Tennessee we get our tags from the county clerk, not the secretary of state. I’m glad there’s no citizenship test to renew your tags or my ass would be kicked out.

Outsourcing at Metro Public Schools

In the proposed budget, they’re going to “outsource” custodial work. There are two important passages in Garrison’s story that get to the heart of the matter:

Though the custodial positions would technically be eliminated, Register has stressed that currently employed custodians would have first dibs on the jobs provided by a contracted outfit.


“It’s not right that they’re taking our jobs and sourcing them out,” said Lucille Moore, head custodian at Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School. “It’s not fair that we’ll have to work for $7 to $8 an hour for an outside company.”

So, just to be clear, “outsourcing” means union-busting and cutting custodians’ pay (and probably benefits). (I know, in Tennessee, we’re all supposed to cheer for union-busting but their union jobs pay better than $8 an hour.) Register is promising that the same people who work at Metro Schools will continue to work there, just that they’ll work now for this private company who can save the city $5 million. And Register says that there will be even more people working at these jobs. And the city will save $5 million?

The same people working the same jobs, with even more co-workers, for that much less money?

I guess it’s easier to say “we outsourced these jobs” than it is to say “We’re reducing all custodial staff pay to $16,000 a year [assuming Moore is right about what they can expect to be paid].”

I love how we’ve seen over and over how it’s the people at the bottom rung of society’s ladder who are just supposed to move from neck deep in shit to nose-deep so that the folks standing above them don’t have to get their shoes dirty.

Edited to add: See Ross.