Someday This Will Seem Funny
I share a car with my friends Julie and Andrea. It works out great. Mostly.
Julie has been working one day a week in Staten Island, which, turns out is insanely annoying to reach from Brooklyn using public transportation. And I don't use the car in question hardly at all during the week, and then only occasionally on weekends. So, we arranged that she'd use the car during the week. The upside for me is some help on the insurance and maintenance costs as well as some help with moving the car for street cleaning. The upside for her is not having to take three trains to get to the staten island ferry and then board a bus and so on and so on.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I park the car. Julie calls and I tell her where I'd put the car. It's tuesday am, and the street cleaning is on thursday am. But, no worries, Julie needs the car on Thursday, so she'll pick it up on her way home on Wednesday night.
Well, on Thursday Julie phones and she's standing on the street right at the spot where I'd told her the car would be - 4th Ave. and 10th Street -- and it's 1:30 in the afternoon and there is no sign of the car. She sees the street cleaning sign -- which I'd failed to mention since she'd told me she was picking it up on Wednesday -- and assumes the logical explanation: the car has been towed.
I begin searching for the car. It's not in the online index for towed cars. The people at the navy yard tow lot growl at me when I call to ask questions. Following the instructions on the city of New York website, I call my local police precinct. When, after 6 hours, there is no sign of the car, the police instruct me to file a missing car report. I'm totally bummed and stressed out and as I'm leaving my subway station on the way home this horrible, horrible realization slowly descends over me: I didn't leave the car at 4th and 10th. I left it at 3rd. I'd forgotten where I'd parked the car.
Good news, right? Well, almost. I call Julie, and then Andrea, to beg forgiveness and I learn that Julie has had to borrow another friend's car to get to Staten Island. Except, here's the rub, she gets to that car and finds it has a dead battery. So, she flags down a kind motorist for a jump, and drives off to Staten Island where she knows that after a full day of work she will return to the car and find it has no charge in the battery and she'll need to get another jump. I feel awful.
And then, here's the kicker: I get home and the doorbell rings. It's the police. They want to see me about the stolen car?
(God, when I told this story, right after it happened, my friend said 'it'll be something funny to write about in your blog.' But I gotta say, it's still not funny.)
A karmic post-script: exactly one week later,Julie calls and this time the car really has been towed. Somehow, though, I'm totally prepared and the news doesn't even make me wince.
I amble off to the Tow Yard, full of smiles and giggles. I even take pleasure in surprising the ornery tow yard staff with my friendliness and affability. I see how grateful they are when not merely do I forgo yelling or complaining, but I actually *thank* them profusely. I commiserate with one woman about how rundown the infrastructure of their office is and how unjust that is considering what a major player they must be in the economic engine of the city. The guard even compliments my outfit after I ply him with smiles and kind words. My sunny outlook is only brightened by encountering their sullen faces. It's like a challenge. I'm so up for it.