karen’s $159.97 lesson

Posted: February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today I unexpectedly and unwittingly participated in a nice little fund raiser for the City of Davenport.  I discovered my participation when I walked out the front door of my building, headed for my car, on the way to buy groceries.

Not only was my car not in the place I had left it, but also this:  there were no cars whatsoever parked on my street.  I might have cussed. 

Fortunately, I live a block from the police station.  I walked over and the nice officer came to let me in the locked building when I pushed the intercom button.  “My car is gone,” I told him, “and I don’t know what happened.”

That’s when I learned that the City of Davenport towed 66 cars last night.  SIXTY SIX. 

Apparently this was related to the recent snowfall.  Here’s the thing:  I had purposely, carefully, and dutifully parked my car in the ramp on the night of the storm, because I KNOW you can’t park on the street anywhere within about 3 miles of my apartment during a snow emergency.  It just didn’t cross my mind that we were still amidst that snow emergency.  I thought enough time had elapsed.  After all, the snow was kind of pushed around into awkward piles.  And it’s not like the parking spots on my street are EVER nicely cleared during snowy weather – I’m used to mucking through yuck after a snowfall.  So when I got home from work last night, I just parked in one of the usual spots, behind a lump of awkwardly pushed snow, and never looked that direction again. 

The nice officer filled out a form to get my car released.  I was working hard not to be irritable with him or yell at him about the stress of my situation.  I knew, after all, that it wasn’t HIM who towed my car.  And…imagine being him.  Breaking the bad news to 66 people – SIXTY SIX PEOPLE – that their car had been towed.  Imagine how many people  yelled at him.  Imagine how many, “How am I supposed to deal with this?” stories he heard. 

I WAS pretty stressed though.  How to go get my car, without my car to drive out to the towing place (which happens to be way out on the edge of the city)?  I texted a friend, but didn’t get an instant reply. The officer, who was none too happy himself about how the City had handled this, noticed and offered to see if he could find an officer to drive me.  I noticed that he even took great pains to try and find a FEMALE officer. 

But then my friend answered back – she was on her way to rescue me.  HALLELUJAH!

Next question for the nice officer:  how much was this going to cost me?  And I already figured it was a “cash only” deal – always seems to be, where there are police involved.  He didn’t know how much, but offered to call the tow yard and find out.  He started digging for the number for that – Fred’s towing.  So, from 20-year-long memory, I recited the Fred’s radio jingle:  “Car dead?  Call Fred!  391-9666.”  (I’m assuming most any of you readers who are from this area and in the right age bracket all just said it aloud while reading it – that commercial should win a prize for memorability!) 

He called and looked sorrowful as he broke the news to me.  $159 and change.  Yikes.  He noted that I might have gotten a parking ticket before the car was towed.  That would sure be an extra nice touch, I thought. 

Holy smokes.

Sure made me glad I have all these “set asides” in the bank.  Today, my car repair fund paid for my towing.  It means delaying purchase of the new tires I need…but…not so long ago, this bill would have meant I’d need to go crying to someone for a loan, or beg my bank to spot me, or choose to not pay some bills and just hope I could catch them up later.   Really nice, knowing I had the funds in place. 

My friend and her husband came quickly to rescue me, and he knew right where the tow yard is.  There was an ATM across the street, where I could get at my money. 

The ladies in the towing office were nice.  I thought again:  how many angry people are they dealing with today?  How much misdirected rage must they be getting? I gave them my $160 in cash, and got back:  3 cents. 

I must surely be able to find some great funny thing or meaningful thing out of those 3 cents, eh?  I did get a good chuckle with my friends.

Nice note:  the ladies in the office told me to turn the slip into my insurance.  They will probably pay for at least part of my towing.  HALLELUJAH. 

There sure enough was a $35 parking ticket under my wiper, when they brought my car around.  Reading the towing slip, I THINK the ticket was paid with that.  I’ll need to call the police station and ask, to be sure.  I don’t feel like having that conversation today.  It can wait, eh? 

I don’t have a huge lesson from today’s experience.  I notice that the police officer was so nice, so calm, so helpful, so caring.  I notice that my friends were so quick to be helpful.  I notice that the people at the towing yard were so friendly, and so helpful with that bit about my insurance.  I notice that I had the funds to pay it, and it wasn’t the giant emergency it once would have been in my life.  I notice that neither my insurance nor my driver’s license are expired – that has often in my life not been the case.  I notice that the most important thing to me in the midst of the yuck was I kept thinking about needing to be nice to the people who were stuck being the bearers of bad news about a situation they did not create – I think that’s a sign of a decent level of maturity, eh?  I notice that my day is still filled with wonderful people and plans, and really, all is well. 

This is what will rescue me from spending the next week bitching to everyone who will listen about the City of Davenport fund raiser that happened last night, and my unwilling participation in it.  Was it a shady deal?  Maybe.  Am I gonna let it steal my joy?

Oh no.  NO SIR.  Not at all.  My car being towed is a “first world problem.”  I’m not starving, not naked, not in prison, not abused, not in need.  No need to give up another minute of peace over it then, right?

If you catch me out there carrying on about this episode later this week, tell me to knock it off.  Seriously. 

Have a blessed weekend, y’all.  And watch out for snow zones. 



  1. laurie says:

    Yiiikkkess! I am sorry you had this happen, but love the spin – ‘an unwilling participant in the
    Davenport fund raiser’. Stellar description. Hoping a bunch of blessings fall on you and have some green tinge about them…

  2. Cindy Maynard says:

    So how long do these snow emergencies last? Days? This way when my son parks in a snow emergency zone, I can find the patience and the grace to not get aggravated. Sometimes the makers of these rules go a bit overboard.

    • karen says:

      I’m not sure there is a time set on them, Cindy. I found that I can “follow” the city of Davenport Facebook page and it tells me when we are in a snow emergency! Hope that helps!!

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