Although I live 7 blocks from work, I had to drive today because I needed to take a bunch of stuff in. Namely, two cases of pop for an event that I couldn’t carry very easily. So I parked my car on the street, just like everyone else.
Around 11:45, I went out to plug the meter, and my car wasn’t there. Nowhere in sight. I stood on the curb, staring at where the Minima should be, waiting for it to appear, asking myself if I maybe possibly hopefully forgot where I parked, with my arms out like someone had just offended me without reason.
After a few minutes of this, I went back upstairs. I went to Ashley’s desk with a confused look on my face and said, through incredulous laughter, “My car’s gone.” She freaked out, then laughed, then (like the level-headed event planner she is) tried to solve the problem. “Was it towed?” she said, “Did you have any parking tickets?”
Not only did I have parking tickets, I had so many parking tickets I didn’t even know how many I actually had.
Now, let me explain. I used to live in a house where the only parking options were on-street metered parking or garage parking. The garage spot was $125/month and the metered parking was $1.25/hour. The problem with the meter was that you could only pay for 3 hours at a time and parking tickets were $24. Plus the meters were running 8 am – 7 pm Monday through Saturday. At the time, though, I figured that getting caught every once in a while and paying $24 was probably still cheaper than $125/month. Plus, the on-street parking was way less sketchy, believe it or not.
So I racked up a few parking tickets. And then I found out the most amazing thing. Since I have Montana plates, they couldn’t send me threatening “reminder” letters in the mail. Essentially, after they gave me the ticket, they couldn’t find me again. So after a while, I stopped paying my tickets. Nothing happened. Every once in a while, I’d worry about getting pulled over and potentially arrested when the cop ran my plates, but I actually did get pulled over once and nothing happened. So I sort of… stopped worrying.
So I told Ashley that I might have a few tickets. She said that I should call the city to make sure my car was towed and not stolen.
(Let me just say at this point that I am eternally grateful for Ashley’s help when I couldn’t figure out what the hell happened or what I was supposed to do about it. I am also forever in her debt because she didn’t judge me when I said, “Yeah, I mean, I have a few…”)
Getting a hold of someone at the parking commission proved to be difficult, and finding someone who knew what was going on near impossible. But after 3 phone calls to 4 different people and a quick little chat with a guy from the towing company, I located my car. I was also told that I had 7 outstanding parking tickets which, including all fees and interest, totaled $304. Plus I needed to pay the towing guy $124 for the tow (like he did me a favor) and $20/night (like he was parking it for me).
At this point, I was still sort of laughing. I mean, I did this to myself. I deserve all of those charges. And although I didn’t exactly have $500 to spare (or even $10 to spare, for that matter), it was sort of like a delayed parking charge from last year. I was totally fine until they told me that they could only release my car to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Oh you did NOT bring Tom into this.
Now, not only does my dad not live in Portland, but I happen to know that he’s currently in Vegas for a golf tournament with his drinking…er…golfing buddies. The woman at the court house tells me that the only way they can release the car to anyone but him is if they receive a faxed, signed, notarized letter authorizing it. If he were at home, this wouldn’t be a problem.
I call him anyway. He’s on the 11th green. I tell him they towed my car ’cause I had an outstanding parking ticket. He says, skeptically, “Just one?” After I explain a little more…honestly, he tells me he’ll get it to me, hopefully tonight.
After many hours of anguish and a trip to the court house, I find out that if he doesn’t fax it in by 4 pm (which is about an hour away), I’ll have to wait til Monday. Needless to say, that wasn’t really possible. So I am now without a car until Monday, at the earliest. And although I totally deserve all the fees, I feel terrible that my mistake became my dad’s responsibility. I’m never going to be a grown-up.
Maybe I’ll just leave my car there forever. It wasn’t worth much anyway. Although I do want my bowling bag and my Credence tapes back…