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Friday, August 10, 2007

Dude, where's my car?

Last night was a very interesting night in the Music City. Holly is getting ready to move to Philadelphia, and we had one last girls-night-out before she left. We went to $2 margarita night at Tequila's, where they gave me and Kay more fajitas for two than we could ever imagine. And I don't even think we ran out of tortillas. And if Margaritas and Senoritas Monday ever moves back to Monday, their pitchers are only 11 bucks. Que bueno! (I need to learn how to do Spanish punctuation on here.)

Holly wanted to go and have one last hurrah at Lonnie's before she headed on to bigger and better things and left Nashville behind. So, we parked the car where we always park it downtown and headed a few blocks to Nashville's favorite karaoke bar, which, by the way, is a claim that all karaoke bars in Nashville make.

After merriment at Lonnie's that involved me singing a Wynonna song completely sober (Yes, it's a milestone), we headed over to Big Bang. Luckily, Keith met up with us for drinks, because the night was about to get ugly.

Here in Nashville, those of us who hang out downtown have been faced with two huge issues lately: The predatory tactics of towing companies and the fact that they are not particularly regulated and aggressive panhandlers. Allegedly someone, somewhere is working on holding tow operators accountable, and there is a new campaign to combat the panhandling.

There is this one particular panhandler who stops us every single time that we go out. Every single time. She is annoying, and she won't take no for an answer. Even when we try to ignore her, she follows us down the street, often several blocks, asking us for money. I'm not a bitch, and I do feel bad for homeless people, but I'm not giving them money. I give my money to the rescue mission, and if they'd like my money they can go get it there.

So, last night as we're walking back to our cars (Keith was parked about a half-block up from us), here comes the panhandler. She always tries to find the new person in the group and asks what time it is as her conversation starter. It seems like an innocent question until she follows you for three blocks and actually stands at your car and keeps talking until you drive off. I told the new person in our group not to talk to her.

About the same time that Kay looks up and realizes my car is no longer in its parking space. Because we always park there and have never gotten a ticket, even when parking there when there was a police officer on the corner, at first I assumed my car had been stolen. I freaked out a little, because regardless this was going to be expensive, and I had $85 in my bank account until Tuesday.

The homeless lady is still blabbing on and begging us for money. I turned to her and told her that I didn't have time or patience to deal with her bullshit this evening and she finally walked away.

I called the city's vehicle impound lot and got directions and off we went. Of course, my car was not actually at the lot, but eventually I found it. I don't think there's a more efficient governmental body than Metro Davidson County. Model of excellence, it is.

My favorite part of this whole process was that the Metro employee told me that the cost of my infraction would be included in my tow bill, and when I got to the independent towing operator he charged me what Metro said that he would.

And then he handed me a ticket.

Luckily I had the sense to ask if it had been paid, because otherwise I would've assumed it had been, since the jackass I had previously talked to told me it was.

It wasn't. And it was only $10, but that's not the point. It's the principle of the whole thing. If it's supposed to be included and then ends up being an additional charge, that's not fair.

So, $90 later I got my car back. (Did you catch the part where I mentioned I had $85 until pay day?). Keith ended up taking Kay and Holly home, and I went home and crawled into bed pondering why exactly I had such a shitty day. It was just one of those "Just when you think it can't get any worse ... " days.

On the plus side, we met some really cool tourists at the tow place who were trying to get back their rental car. And when I was telling someone about my awful day, he offered to pay for the massage I had scheduled today, because I needed it and I am officially broke.

So, maybe it wasn't the shittiest day ever. But it's TOTALLY making my top-ten list.

And I think I'm going to write a letter to everyone on Metro Council about this panhandling situation. I'm so over it, and I hate to even go downtown anymore. And I NEVER carry cash. Thank god the tow place took Visa so I didn't have to go to an ATM in the ghetto in the middle of the night.

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