Sunday, April 16, 2006

Temping, Sideswipes, and Crooked Tow Truck Drivers Part #5

Read Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. Thank you. Please continue at your leisure.

I woke the next day with my hip throbbing. It was Saturday, so I did not have to go to work, and instead spent the day laying on the couch trying to figure out four things.

1. Where was I going to get a new car. I had almost no money, so buying a car really was not an option (at least that is what I thought at the time). I began planning out how to convince my mom to buy a new car so that I could have her old one. I was fairly certain that my car was totaled.

2. What to do with my insurance company. I had never been in accident before, at least that the cops knew about, so I figured I would have to call them up and give them my version of the events. Since I knew that it was not my fault, I was also unsure how to go about getting money for P.O.S. car and the hospital bill.

3. Where the hell my P.O.S. actually was. The last I saw it, it was sitting next to a cornfield, twenty feet from the road, completely undriveable. I assumed that the city would have it towed, I just did not know where.

4. How much my hip would hurt tomorrow.

I figured the best place to start was with my parents. I knew my mom had been thinking about getting a new car, and I used this to influence her to buy one. Don't feel bad for her, she ended up with an Infiniti, while I got her seven year old Mercury Grand Marquis. It actually did not happen quite that fast. She car-shopped for a week, and I ended up driving my Grandma's Buick for a week. She really did not need it that badly, especially since, much to the chagrin of myself and older sisters, she had given it to my little sister last Christmas. My little sister could live without her car for week, after all it was given to her, while my senior year I had to buy my own car, for $3,000. A car which was now destroyed and in an undisclosed location. That thing gave me five years. I still miss it.

So having secured wheels for the next week, I moved onto the Insurance company. I called them up told them what happened, and they informed me that they would be taking care of my ambulance and hospital bills. There are some benefits of staying on your parent's insurance, and this was certainly one of them. I breathed a sigh of relief, ecstatic that I would not be responsible for the $2,000 in hospital bills. I then asked them about getting my money and they said they would investigate. I told them to take care of this for me, because I did not know what I needed to do to get paid. I am not trying to sound like a greedy opportunistic fuck, but cash supply was dangerously low, and a few extra bucks would help me out. I figured I could really use an extra $500.

Having put the insurance company machine to work, I went about calling the Police Department to let me know where my car was. They informed, and a couple days later, I went over there to clean out my car. I have to say, this was a pleasant experience. After taking some pictures for my insurance company, I cleaned it out, even took off the license plates. I tried hard not to cry, and petted my car a couple times. The final step of the gutting process was to rip out the CD player that I had gotten for my High School graduation (god bless that CD player, got me through countless long road trips). The only problem was, I had no clue how to take it out. I am not a car guy, so I looked at it, with a flat-head screw driver in my hand trying to figure out where to stake it first.

Luckily, a couple of bored tow-truck drivers came by and asked if I needed help. I said that I certainly did. The first one attacked my car's dash as though it was his cheating ex-wife. He broke shit, flipped out, and finangled the radio dock until it came out, unharmed. He had less of an idea of what to do than I did, but he had the confidence to attack. So the two tow guys got me my radio. I felt bad because I had no cash on me, and I figured they had only done that for a tip. Oh well, they would fuck me soon enough.

Ahhh, yes, before I forget, I should talk about my hip. It was quite painful for a few days, then subsided. However, I was left with a giant black bruise. The lighting is not great in this picture, but you can get the idea.

It was about the size of my hand. This happened near the end of October, and when I saw a friend of mine at Thanksgiving, it had turn a sickly shade of yellow. He told me it made him want to vomit. That pleased me.

So about a week and a half later, I finally went to bail out my car. I did not realize that the tab had been running. I figured I would head over there, pay the money, and call a tow truck. When I got there, they told me it would cost $860 for them to release my car. That's right. Eight-Hundred Sixty mother-fucking dollars. Apparently, the tab was $80 a day, plus $125 for the tow. Absolutely ridiculously. Then they told me that they only accepted cash. Shit, that would pretty much wipe out my savings. So I went to the bank to get the cash, and of course, it was a fucking bank holiday. I had to take a day off of work the next day, (because my working hours conflicted with the hours of the tow place), and I tried to withdraw $860 dollars. Well, apparently you need a check to do this with the bank, so I had to head back home and back to the bank. So frustrating.

With Eight One-Hundred bills resting comfortably in my pocket I headed back to the tow place. I entered the office, and was ready to tender payment, when the owner said, "Aww, shit, you don't have that fucking much, just pay for the tow and I will dispose of the car." Hmmm...had I been a wiser man I would have asked how much he was going to get for my cars parts, but I didn't, paid the $125, left with 7 One-Hundred dollar bills in my pocket, thanked my lucky starts, and wept over the loss of my oldest friend.

So they were not exactly crooked, but it seemed like it at the time, gouging me for all that money, but whatever. Everything turned out nearly fine in the end.

My assailant's insurance company ended up paying me $2,000 for my car. I had paid $3,000 cash for this car five years ago. It had 230,000 miles on it. And I got $2,000. I was ecstatic. It finally looked things were turning around for me.

They weren't. I pretty much hated everyone I worked with at my temp job, so during lunch breaks I would sit in my car and chain smoke while listening to sports talk radio. One random day, I decided to go out an buy lunch. Usually, the thought of working this job made me want to vomit, so I never ate lunch, but things were different that day, and I really wanted a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger. I headed out, and then the car broke. Stopped, shut off, and the steering wheel locked. I was able to guide the car into a parking spot at some carpet store. I had no clue what the problem was. I opened the hood, saw nothing that made sense, and decided to walk back to work. I had not cell phone with me, and even if I did, I did not know the number of the place I worked at. I walked back in, 45 minutes (it was a long walk), and went back to work. I did not tell anyone I missed a bit of work, and no one seemed to notice, so I carried on.

Since I hated everyone, after work I had to walk back to my car, which took an hour or so. Once there, I called a tow truck. God bless AAA, as I got the 40 miles back to my parents house free. And, for the second time in a month, I was car-less.

Thanks to the $2,000 from the insurance company, I was able to buy a nice used car (one-year old) and things carried on. Shortly thereafter, I went back to work at the place I worked before taking on the summer job for $4 an hour more.

So that is the end. I suppose now is a good time to reflect on what I learned.

1. Getting hit by a car sucks.

That's about it. However, this whole experience was pretty much the low point in my life. There was some other shit going on at that time that I have not included, but I was more depressed at that time in my life than any other. There was so much uncertainty and so much not knowing where I was going, what I was doing, or who I was. While I had decided to go to Law School in April, before this mess occurred, this mess solidified it. Not that I was going to Law School, but I was going to excel. I can deal with the unhappiness, I figure that that is a small price to pay for certainty and money.

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