Hector Cornel

Whoever hears us talking about Rocky, Rambo, Gerry, Scary Karel, Oscar, Leo Limoncello, Mr. Purple, Klimberley, Leopold, Stijn, Bennie, Fat Bennie, Harrie, Stoffel and Calvin, might think that we are already running a successful Bed & Breakfast. Unfortunately that’s not the case yet. On the contrary. Giving (almost everything) a name is a habit that has gotten a little out of hand. A tradition that started more than ten years ago with the purchase of Hector Cornel, my black Kia Picanto, which in turn was named after a cactus in Botswana.

However, how he got his name and why he has one in the first place doesn’t matter in this story. It doesn’t matter either that Stef, the friendly employee who arranges all our insurances, now also calls our father’s Ford Transit “Bennie” when he asks which car I’m calling for exactly. What does matter is that Hector Cornel has been the topic of conversation. A bickering that started when we couldn’t quite agree who the rightful owner of the car actually is. Me (Michelle), who purchased the car in 2011, or my sister Noëlle (whose name I had it administratively transferred to because I officially left for Switzerland and she stayed behind in the Netherlands)? The fact that this discussion recently suddenly took a completely different turn, with neither of us being convinced of our rightful ownership anymore, has everything to do with the Spanish bureaucracy and the moment it became mandatory to have the car officially exported. Suddenly it was no longer my car, but her car. And vice versa.

After an easy introduction to the Spanish bureaucracy (by applying for a NIE number for my brother-in-law, applying for an electronic certificate and automating our payments at the local tax office), this was something that was not going to be arranged without a hassle. In fact, if things would go the same way as at SUMA (where the property tax and water bill of our shared house were put in Noëlle’s name and the waste tax in mine), I fear that our discussion will indeed be settled through a compromise without the intervention of a knowledgeable gestor. Where Noëlle will become the rightful owner of the two front wheels and the left rear wheel and I will have to make do with the right rear wheel.

And so we decided to enlist the help of a Dutchman who has been living in Spain for forty-five years. That the whole process (except for a small hitch) ultimately ran quite smoothly is kind of ironic. Especially when I tell you what that small hiccup actually was. Namely the new registration certificate, a neat pass in my sister’s name, not being accepted. While the old paper registration certificate, with a large black cross through the data, was. Although I was glad I had hold onto it, I started to wonder. Did the DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic) know what I (not so) secretly knew all along? That, although Noëlle is the administrative owner and now also the one responsible for both the car insurance as the road tax, I really am the rightful owner? After all, Noëlle has never met Hector, the Botswana cactus after which the car was named. I fear that now that Hector has officially become Spanish, we will continue bickering about it for a while. Until the moment that our(?) brand new resident has to be driven to the garage for some major maintenance. Then it’s her car. And definitely not mine.