Posted by: tlnemethy | November 27, 2012

Impound Compound

We got our car towed sometime over the weekend, not really sure when, but we found it was missing on a Tuesday evening while we were trying to Walmart. Notice I use Walmart as an action term here. Like to shop or buy groceries or even just drive away. That can all be combined into the single Yooper/Midwestern phrase of saying that “we are going Walmart.”  Well, instead of our car being parked in our space there was just an old oil stain and we stood there dumbfounded for a while, spinning in circles like our car might just have magically driven a few spaces down and was laughing at us. Seriously. When you expect a car to be there and it’s not it is an eery feeling.

Well, we give a call to our roommate, who coincidentally had driven it last and turns out it was parked in the wrong space. We check that space too, and nothing. Towed.

Now, because the owner of the car isn’t in West Palm with us it was a hassle of the highest degree to even get the clear to go pick it up. So many forms and papers to have filled out and faxed, phone calls made, etc. I’m not sure why, but once we get the go-ahead to pick it up, we decide to head over at 9pm. Mostly everything is closed, but hell, we want our car and we want it now.

The bathroom pervert, AKA Greta, had Googled the address for the impound lot and she was going to walk. I said no. Walking to unfamiliar neighborhoods at night is not something you should do. Take a cab, I say. This is the one good thought of the night.

First off, the cab takes an hour to get to our condo after having been, “on the way.” Second, no GPS and the driver has no idea where we are going even though its only two miles away. Fine, luckily we had Greta’s phone with GPS; we handed it to him and he drove us a completely different route to the towing place. The impound lot looks deserted and we had to drive through the sketchiest residential neighborhood to get there. Weird, I think, but fine. At this point I’m getting a horrible feeling about the whole evening.

  1. I can hear fuel sloshing in the cab at every turn we take. Like gasoline under the thin rotted flooring upon which our feet rest.
  2. The driver is tooling around at a maximum of 15 miles an hour while doing the low rider slouch with his seat pushed all the way in the back and his fingertips barely on the wheel.
  3. The cabbie cannot accept a card so he asks to write down her credit card number. On a Post-it. I pay cash.
  4. The cabbie thinks we are European. We say no. Then he asks where in Michigan Greta’s from. She replies with the U. P. but all he hears is the UK. “See, you can’t fool me. I know sister Europeans when I see them.” We don’t even bother with explaining so now he just thinks we were horribly dumb foreigners. Shit happens.

Greta’s on the phone with the woman who works at the towing place and she says she’ll be out in a minute. I don’t like the vibe. “Ask her what the exact address is for the towing company. We can’t be at the right place.” There were junkyard dogs poking their noses through the chain-link by us. All I could think about was Greta trying to pet them and getting mauled instead: she has a compulsion to touch dogs.

The lady says we are at the wrong address. Thank you for not letting us pay quickly and just wave you away Mr. Cabbie. Greta tried a few times, but I kept my right ass cheek firmly planted on the seat. No chance I was getting stuck in a bad neighborhood. We get back in the cab and he takes us to an address maybe half a mile from our condo in the opposite direction we started in. Even more desolate looking, this place at least has people milling about.

There’s barbed wire everywhere, like the heavy-duty razor kind. No junk yard dogs though. But even the workers are all concerned about our safety. One sees my Michigan Tech sweatshirt and takes me under his wing. I do love those raised Michigander. Apparently he hates Palm Beach, not because its hot, but because it “just sucks.” Eloquent.

The lady we talked to on the phone comes to meet us through the wire and tells us to go around front to sign the paperwork. Although I’m apprehensive to leave the relative safety of my new-found friend and the security lights we go to the dark side of the building. She said she would unlock it for us, but apparently we looked too sketchy to let in. We ended up doing business from the outside of the chain link fence, handing a clipboard and credit card through the narrow vertical gap of the fence where it hinges. She lectured us on parking safety and “not trusting anyone who tells you that you can park somewhere because they all lie.” Also, she mentioned never to walk in this neighborhood again.

As we were signing our last slip, a low rider drove by at an extremely slow pace while looking at us. I was regretting even leaving the condo at this point. I can tell you that we will never misplace the car again.


  1. Sounds like a Steven King novel.

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