4.17.2006

The Tow Truck

Yesterday we saw the Tow Truck. Shiny and sleek and powerful, it is truly a thing of beauty. There was a time when this tow truck struck fear into our hearts, but now we merely admire it with reverent awe.

We have parking stickers now.

You see, there a number of guest parking spaces here. Which is a good thing. It’s nice to have friends over, and it’s nice to have a place for them to put their car. This was a huge problem at our first apartment, so I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted.

But of course, guest parking spaces don’t do much good at all if residents park there. If you have more cars than fit in your driveway, you’ll just have to shell out and buy another parking space. If they catch you mooching off the guest spaces, they’ll tow you off straight away.

Fair enough. And it is for this reason that they require all residents to place bright red stickers in prominent view on all their vehicles. So that they know which cars to tow away, if ever they catch them in the guest lot.

With all the important things in my life, I must say that getting parking stickers was rather low priority for me. I just didn’t feel terribly motivated to get a sticker for the sole purpose of enabling them to tow me away should I violate rules that I have no intention of violating.

But then we got a notice that we needed to get parking stickers for our cars. And then we got a second notice. And then we got the monthly general newsletter from the management, announcing their new policy on unmarked vehicles. If you’re in a driveway without a permit, you will receive a 24 hour warning, and then be towed away.

I dragged all the wuggies over to the office, let them photocopy the registration papers, and put the big red sticker on the Doopah-Mobile.

Problem is, I couldn’t put a big red sticker Andy’s car. I couldn’t even get a sticker to put on Andy’s car. See, Andy’s car was in Rancho Cucamunga. Or Redlands. Or Whittier. Or Santa Clarita. I never can quite keep track. Point is, Andy’s car hardly ever stays in the same place for very long, but it’s always in the same place as the registration papers for Andy’s car. And that place where Andy’s car and the registration papers to Andy’s car are? Well, during normal business hours, it’s certainly not here.

That’s when we really started noticing the gorgeous red tow truck. It drove right by us many times each day, at all hours of the day and night. We trembled each time he passed, but amazingly, we never got that 24 hour warning.

Finally, it happened. That amazing confluence where Andy, Andy’s car, the registration papers to Andy’s car, and the manager were all in the same place at the same time. Andy then decorated the Green Turtle with a grotesquely large parking sticker, and we breathed a sigh of relief.

With nothing to fear, we were now free to fully appreciate the magnificent beauty of the Tow Truck. It became a source of joy in our lives, like sunsets and roses and freeway overpasses.

And then, a few weeks later, we took a pleasant evening stroll around the neighborhood, and once again saw the Tow Truck.

Parked in front of a neighbor’s driveway.

Yesterday afternoon, as we were sitting outside enjoying the pleasant sunshine, that tow truck, the neighbor’s tow truck, drove by us once again. As usual, we paused to admire. Nathan sort of half-cocked one eye-brow and gave a low, slow drawl, full to the brim with casual admiration.

“Wooow. Truuuuck.”

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