You want to hear about three stressful things that happened to me? I got my car towed. See, that's three for the price of one right there.
I have zone parking and I don't drive very often, so when I do need my car it's not uncommon for me to forget where I've parked it. It's a "Dude, where's my car?" routine and I don't even 420.
So this Sunday morning started out typically enough, I thought I'd better find my car and get some errands done. The car wasn't where I thought I remembered parking it, but that didn't mean anything - it was probably just a block or two away.
A block or two later, I started feeling a mild unease about the whole thing, which soon turned into a growing sensation of dread. Three blocks, four blocks, and no sign of a white Subaru Outback with license plates ***-***. Soon I was going up to every white Subie like a little lost kid running around going "Are you my Mommy?"
Perhaps my car had been stolen? The thought of some greasy-fingered stranger driving away in my Subaru inspired the kind of thoughts that cause men to reach for their shotguns. But since I don't own a shotgun, I had to contemplate another, scarcely less palatable scenario: that my car had been towed.
Finally I bit the bullet and called the Portland Police Bureau's towed vehicle hotline, and my worst fears were confirmed: I had unwittingly run afoul of one of those "temporary no parking zones" that make city life such a joy. The police referred me to Retriever Towing; I had a mental image of a golden-haired dog raising a leg against my white Subaru.
I found the towing company's lot in the outlands of Quimby and 15th, right under the 405; it's the kind of sketchy, surreal parallel universe that you might see in an episode of 'Portlandia'. The office was in a prefab building on the corner of the lot. I went in and presented my registration to the young woman at the desk; she was very pleasant and polite, and I was careful not to take my frustration out on her - she probably has to deal with irate people all day long.
Having duly paid my debt to society (and burdened three credit cards until they cried out in pain) I proceded to reclaim my long-lost car. And there it was, exactly as I'd left it.
Well, almost exactly, because I was pretty sure I hadn't left it with a smashed window, clumsily covered over with a piece of garbage bag. Choking back my tears of anguish, I appealed to the young lady at the desk, who pursed her lips sympathetically and pulled up a file on her computer. There was a picture of my Subaru, busted window and all, taken (she asserted) before the towing company had kidnapped my vehicle. So, there was the proof: The window was already broken, Retriever Towing was exonerated. And who was I to argue.
So, I put the key in the ignition and headed eagerly out the gate and home ... in my imagination. In reality, I was still sitting in the tow lot because the car wouldn't start. And so, one last time, I placed my humble appeal before the Retriever Tow Lady, who held my fate in her hands from her exalted seat in the prefab office building on the corner of the tow lot.
A mechanic was summoned and appeared within a few millenia, or possibly a few minutes, I'm not really sure. He eyed my Subaru and observed helpfully, "I'm surprised it's still here - that one was supposed to go to the impound lot across town this morning."
Having used up my final measure of grace on Retriever Tow Lady, I had no patience left for this fellow, so I just glared at him wordlessly and popped the hood for the jump-start.
All's well that ends well. My car is now securely and lawfully parked (lawfully, at least, until the city pulls another no-parking surprise) in Zone K, just a block from my house. The broken window is still broken, but at least I can sleep secure in the knowledge that nobody is going to drive away with my Subaru.
Because the engine still won't start.