A funny thing happened on the way to the impound lot

Strictly speaking, that’s not true. But I’m blessed with the ability to derive amusement (usually) at my blunders and subsequent [mis]adventures, so we’re calling this funny. I mean, I almost laughed about it. Anyway, here’s what happened and what I’ve learned.

Let’s start with the rules:

  1. Never, ever make judgement calls at the end of a long, stressful day when you’re tired and hungry. EVER.
  2. This applies doubly when you have to start parking your car in a new spot because of construction and you’re not entirely sure which spot you’re supposed to use now.
  3. Be aware that things that seem self-evident to your management company—such as where spot 6 is located—may not be particularly evident to you. Especially when there are two spots labeled 6.

I didn’t know the rules. My building manager called and told me I had to park in a new spot starting today because of construction that would be starting on the back patios in my building. “Spot 6,” she said, “Just a up the alley. Closer to the end of the buildings.” In a classic Shanna blunder, I assumed by her casual tone that it would be obvious which spot was 6. So last night, at the end of a long day that involved a lot of noise from the construction crew that made Spur irritatingly anxious, a lot of stress involving packing up approximately 200ish books (not joking) and dressing my shelves in preparation for putting my condo on the market, and not nearly enough food, I thought to myself, you know, I ought to just move my car tonight and not have to worry about it tomorrow. I was concerned that they would show up ready to work at 8, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be up early enough to move my car by then.

So I went out into the alley where I park and I scoped the place out. I looked at the spots on the east side—where my group of condos is—and didn’t see numbers really, so I wasn’t sure where the spot was. I went “up” the alley from my usual spot and didn’t see an obvious spot 6 waiting for me. In fact, all of the spots on my side were filled with cars. So I looked around. On the west side of the alley was a clearly marked, empty spot 6. I had always assumed the west-side spots were owned by the buildings on the west. But my weary, food-deprived brain thought, Oh well. Guess that’s mine.

I want to believe that at another time I wouldn’t have made the same decision. If I had, say, eaten a hamburger [or anything] for dinner, or if I had not spent my day irritated at my pansy of a dog and in full-blown, type-A, perfectionist mode, perhaps I would have been able to access those places where Logic and Reason were napping. Alas.

So when I finally quit working on packing and arranging for the day and settled into a few issues of Captain America and The Avengers, it didn’t totally shock me to hear the tow truck in the alley. I watched the Corolla drag away for a second, shrugged my shoulders, and went back to the comic books. I didn’t have enough energy to get upset. Really, I thought that living in Boston for two years and only being towed once is actually a pretty good record.It’s all part of the Boston experience, I told myself. Once I knew where it had been taken, thanks to an automated email from the City of Boston, I made A Plan for getting it back. A Plan that involved lunch because, clearly, I can’t be trusted on an empty stomach.

I woke up in a good enough mood and felt genuinely amused at my mistake. First stop was Chipotle, and as soon as I sat down to eat, dirt got into both of my contacts. I sat there eating with tears streaming down my face and sniffling. Alone. And thought I must have looked like one pathetic loser, crying into my chicken burrito. I almost laughed out loud.

My consolation for the hour-long ride on the T to get to the car lot in Southie was starting a new book, the latest in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles, so it was just my luck to cram onto an inexplicably packed D-line—we’re talking Sox game-day packed—where instead of sitting and reading, I did my best not to topple headlong onto the little old man sitting in front of me. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful, although I did learn a couple of things:

  1. The Red Line kind of feels like a luxury liner when you’re used to the Green Line.
  2. Southie (at least where I was) is not particularly pedestrian-friendly, unlike everywhere else I’ve been in Boston. And the surrounding towns. Come on Southie. Sidewalks, please? Crosswalks? Walk signals? These are not luxuries in this city!
  3. It’s important to know if the towing service is a cash-only business before you get there. So you don’t have to walk down the street and put you life at the mercy of Southie’s pedestrian dystopia to then pay a foreign ATM fee.
  4. Don’t call and cuss at the woman at the towing company. Just don’t do it. [I learned this through observation while I was paying, not by personal experience].

And then I drove home. It took about a third of the time it took to get there on the T. I didn’t even get lost, which is always an accomplishment when driving somewhere I’m not familiar with in Boston. I found what I assume is the right parking place. For the record, it is “down” the alley from where I usually park, both in direction (south) and altitude (the alley slopes up). But after I had been parked there for about fifteen minutes I got nervous. It would kind of give me a nervous breakdown to get towed two days in a row. I called my building manager to make sure I had the right spot, but she didn’t answer. My solution: park on the street in front of my building until I’m sure.

I’m half-way expecting to get a parking ticket [my parking permit should be good for another year, right? Right?!], but that’s a lot cheaper and easier than getting towed. The good news is that this has been a timely reminder of some of the things I am NOT going to miss about Boston.

By the way, as of right now, no construction dumpster has appeared to occupy my vacant parking spot (that’s why I had to move). Of course.


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