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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Paying the Stupid Tax

Last Friday started out ambitiously: First a long decadent lunch at Cafe Septieme with Nedra, Diane and Eric... Huevos ranchero and cup after cup of coffee. I had parallel parked into tight spot just up the hill toward 12th Ave. Patting myself on the back as I headed toward the cafe, I should have recognized the danger inherent in my hubris.

My plan was to leave by 3ish and head downtown to the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry. Once there I would take my car across to meet my mother and a former coworker Phil Davis (superhero of history teachers) for dinner at the Cabo Grill in Poulsbo. We'd have a grand old time reminiscing and sharing our wildly unrealistic plans for the future. Then Mom and I would go see Munich at the Poulsbo cineplex before going back to my sisters house for late night conversation and beer drinking. But none of this actually happened.

The conversation at Septieme was too good; my lunch ran long. We left just after four, and I hustled back to my car thinking I could still make it to the grill by 5:30. But my car was gone. And the cars I had so masterfully parallel parked between were gone too, which naturally meant I was mistaken about where I had parked. It must have been another block south. Repressing my panic, I walked another block south, but my car wasn't there either.

Wait, there was my car. There it was attached to the back of a tow truck! It was being towed right before my eyes. The evil truck was going to drive right past me. As it did I looked for my license plate... Yes, there it was. God damn it... There goes my car! I gave chase. For another block I sprinted after the truck, hollering once or twice. I stopped when I realized that there was no way in Hell he was going to stop. It's not in his job description to stop. If he stops, there's a chance he doesn't make money for his company. If he stops, I could turn violent. If he stops... well, I suppose the only positive thing that could happen is that I might bribe him to release my car. I guess I don't much look like the kind of guy who carries a hundred bucks in my pocket. Instead, I just looked like the kind of guy who idiotically chases tow trucks hoping they'll abort the screw job they routinely give.

But there was a brief detail of validation. I managed to run along side the truck and read the phone number of the towing company. Cell phone in hand, I quickly ascertained where my car was headed. The next problem was finding someone who could drive me to 6th and Mercer. Serendipitously, Carole called at just that moment. She was heading off to work and was only a block or two away. She got me to the impound lot before they had finished unhitching my car in their yard. I jumped out in the middle of the intersection and ran over to the shitty little office trailer. The tow truck drive seemed to deliberately take his time, finally finishing his paperwork after I spent another 15 minutes waiting. This allowed the strange little man at the counter to collect my $120. He also politely handed me my $38 parking ticket which would be a separate fee to the city. Ah, the humbling joys of paying the stupid tax.

Still holding onto a silly hope of meeting Phil and my mother, I tried to navigate my way past Pioneer Square to the ferry line entrance. By this time (just after 5pm,) trying to drive across town was a nightmare. Every time I waited at a changing of the lights as only one or two cars were able to pull forward I felt a vein twitching in my forehead. I got to the ferry lines well before six, but was absolutely deflated when I saw the back up. There was no way I was getting over to Poulsbo before 8 o'clock. There was nothing left but to go home and wrap myself in comfort.

I never did see what parking sign I was guilty of violating, but apparently that "no parking from 4 to 6" stuff is taken seriously.

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At 1/07/2006 08:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story gets four out of four bars of soap on my Soapy Rating System. Lavendar! Sandalwood! Mint! Lever 2000!



At 1/08/2006 11:16:00 AM, Blogger walaka said...

Great story - bummer tale.

At 1/09/2006 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Ned said...

Dude, bummer. Sorry for any contribution I may have had to your botched plans (witty commentary, charming presence, antagonistic comments, etc.).

At 1/09/2006 04:19:00 PM, Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

Oh you best believe I hold you and your witty, charming, antogonistic self responsible. Eric and Diane too! This is all y'all's fault.


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