Thursday, March 08, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, 3/8/2008 Edition

O.k., so Johnny Quest and I own this Taurus, which our friend Peter the Public Defender "sold" to us several years back. (The scare quotes are because he only let us give him $750 for a car that was worth at least $2k, and we had to haggle him up to that amount.) About a year ago, this guy ran through a stoplight and creamed the driver's side door. Insurance gave us some cash for it, and, since we'd gotten years of yeoman-like service out of the mighty (and virtually free) Taurus, we started thinking about donating the insurance $$ to, e.g., Katrina relief--which made a certain amount of sense, since Peter the PD, aforementioned, is from New Orleans. Then the transmission went out on our other car. Then the guy who owned the car that hit us claimed that the guy who was driving the car that hit us was driving without permission (a patent lie). Blah, blah, blah. So Geico could never get our deductable back from the guy who hit us, and our charitable dispositions started to be replaced by crankiness.

Now we have another car, and I wanted to give the mighty Taurus to NPR and be done with it, but JQ insisted we give it to the poor. So she drives it over to Durham to try to give it to the people-who-give-cars-to-poor-people, and they wouldn't take it. Then on the way back she gets two tickets b/c--since we're not driving the car--we'd let the tags and inspection lapse.

So then I come down to Chapel Hill to find the title and finally get this car business taken care of. JQ moves the Taurus out of one of the parking spots, leaving it in a generic, anybody-can-park-here spot in her condominium complex. End Taurus part of the story temporarily.

So yesterday morning I go out to pick up some orange juice in the morning (driving the other car), and when I come back, my neighbors are parked in my spot, b/c they're loading up for a trip. No sweat, says me, load away, I'll park on the other side of the road for a few minutes (note: not in an actual parking spot, completely out of the way. There're plenty of such places's not exactly urban.). I come back a little later, and the car's been towed. $160 to get it back. There may have been some yelling at the towing guy, but he was nice, so I apologized.

Then this morning we went out to finally get the Taurus into the hands of the people-who-give-cars-to-drug-addicts (apparently they are less picky than the people-who-give-cars-to-poor-people), and it's been towed. 'Nuther $160 to get it back. Apparently you can't park in one of the generic spots overnight. Now, if it weren't worth way more than $160, I'd have just gone and stolen the tags back and been done with it. Ah, well.

So $320 completely down the drain for no good reason in two days. Then there's the $$ for the tickets. Perhaps not much money by the absurdly out-of-whack standards of the contemporary American middle class, but a substantial chunk of change by our standards.

A lesser man would get downright cranky about this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Reads like a typical Chicago parking nightmare.

Only here the parking tickets will run you at least $50 and towing is a cool $100--not counting "storage."

Stories like these always remind me of my uncle. He paid stolen cash for a brand new conversion van with VCR and TV in 1986. To this day his traffic record is smeared by a WARNING of all things. A man who has truly done wrong pays nothing into the system. A pair seeking to help others blows 300+ into the maw of Uncle Sam.

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just stoppin' by to back you up on your claim to moral fortitude. You rock, that is some tough, random crap that you have had to deal with.

And that is amongst the worst kind.

Keep your head up, chin out, and keep trying to do the right thing (although it often proves to be costly).

2:37 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Thanks for the moral support, guys.

It's no biggie in the cosmic scheme of things, of course. Just somewhat frustrating/angrifying/amusing.

8:39 AM  

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