San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

The Panama-Pacific International Exposition was a world’s fair held in San Francisco, California in 1915.  Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake.  The Palace of Fine Arts was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture.  He designed a classical Roman ruin, both mutilated and overgrown.  It was one of only three buildings from the exposition not to be demolished afterwards.

Constructed from temporary materials, almost all the fair’s various buildings and attractions were pulled down in late 1915.  Intended to fall into pieces at the close of the fair, the Palace of Fine Arts, remained in place, slowly falling into disrepair.  The Palace, including the colonnade with its signature weeping women and rotunda dome, was completely reconstructed in the 1960s and is currently occupied by the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum.

I got a ticket on Monday.  It was Presidents Day, a banking holiday, and I was driving to work through Clayton, the banking district in town.  So traffic was light.  I was just about to get onto the highway when I saw through my rearview mirror those flashing lights.  I did a quick recount of my most recent driving and could think of no hint of an infraction and pulled over to let him pass, but he pulled over too.  Still puzzled, I stopped.  He asked for licence and proof of insurance.  I handed him my licence, which I had already gotten out and started pawing through the glove compartment looking for the insurance certificate.  On the third and final try, I found the current one.

He informed me that I was driving with expired plates.  The good news was that it was not considered to be a moving violation, so no points.  The bad news was sixty-eight dollars.  The plates had expired in December and it completely slip both of our minds.  And no Dear, I didn’t tell the nice police officer that this was my wife’s car, there was no mercy in his eyes, but I’ve just told everyone else.

I met Anne for lunch and we exchanged cars.  She took the car in for its state inspection, which was (considering the car’s age) mercifully low.  Anyway, after another one-hundred and thirty-three dollars she was ready to visit the Department of Revenue.  Missouri’s vehicle licencing process is as byzantine as the name of agency that runs it is direct and to the point.  For the Department of Revenue, it is all about the money.  After another fifty-seven dollar tithe to Caesar, we had new plates.

I didn’t mention to the police officer that I was a repeat offender.  Last May, my car came up for licence renewal, but I had NYC on my mind then and forgot all about it.  Anne took the car and drove it up to Michigan, the Cabin and then on to Quebec and back again.  She crossed three states and two providences and then crossed them back again, for over three-thousand miles of driving.  I didn’t realize that we had a problem, until while Anne was back up in Michigan for Betty.  I took care of it, but Anne noticed the new plates immediately, when I picked her up at the airport.

2 thoughts on “San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

  1. I thought that expired plate story sounded familiar. One of the things that our god-forsaken state of Michigan actually does right is on-line license plate renewal. I’ve been doing it this way, painlessly, since the late 1990s and have never had expired plates. Of course, we *don’t* have to have our vee-hickles inspected. I can see how that might invite some procrastination.

  2. When we had just bought our used minivan, I got pulled over for expired plates. Not only that, I did not have my license with me (left it at work). I was concerned that the paperwork for the van had not been fully transfered to our name as well.
    I got let off with a warning, although the officer suggested I let another driver (with a license) do the driving, because it was quite possible we would get pulled over again.

    We get a notification from the state when it is about 2 months away. We can do much on-line, but do have to get a emission check every few years.

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