baby, I can drive my car

Getting the formerly-proud DeKalb tags on Gus, my car, updated to Fulton yesterday turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be.

Note #1: The driver’s license renewal center at Memorial and Central, which was apparently legendary for its overcrowding, has moved (as of today) to South DeKalb Mall.
Note #2: Contrary to what the Department of Motor Vehicles says, you do not need to update your driver’s license to update your tags, at least not in Fulton County on a weekday afternoon.
Note #3: If you’re going to the facility that borders MLK, Peachtree and Pryor, you should not park all the way up on West Peachtree unless you really want to see downtown.

So I saw downtown.

It may have been because yesterday was the first day of fall classes for Georgia State, but downtown looked pretty good. The quality and nature of the shops changes markedly as you head south from Peachtree Center towards Five Points, culminating in about eight bail-bonds places sitting at Peachtree just north of Memorial, across from the City Detention Center. Which made me wonder: how do bail-bonds shops compete with each other? Why would someone choose Mary’s Bail Bond Services (slogan: “We Put Your Feet Back on the Street!”) over Free at Last Bail Bond Services?

I’ve been lucky, in my tally of relatives who have had run-ins with the law during my lifetime (none).

Peachtree south of Edgewood starts looking a lot like New Orleans’s Canal Street, only not as wide and with better trash pickup. I’m not sure how much supply reflects demand here: there aren’t many restaurants (though Underground might account for that) and very few corner groceries, but lots of clothing stores and a few places offering same-day service on gold teeth. I have no idea how hard it is to open a store downtown, or what the zoning regulations are, but I am curious. One thing I didn’t see was a lot of boarded-up or unoccupied space; maybe I wasn’t noticing.

Towards Georgia State, unremarkably, it gets more diverse: more office buildings, more places to eat. I don’t know what the GSU area looked like pre-Olympics and pre-HOPE but I bet many of those places are relatively new. Oh, and the brown sugar vanilla flavor at Jake’s Ice Cream rocks pretty hard on a hot summer afternoon.

But the Fulton County building was surprisingly spacious, air-conditioned, and friendly. I was in and out with new tags in 15 minutes, and that included a trip to the ATM. It also included a woman who looked at the form she’d just printed out for me, said, “Your birthday was on a weekend?”, and promptly crossed out the 25% markup. (My birthday was Sunday.) Anyone trying to make a case for a correlation between the niceness of the building and the niceness of the employees might do well there; but maybe my experience was an anomaly.

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