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November 1, 2004

Tow me a line

So the Civil Disaster alarm is going off and I just got back from the bathroom. Kidney Stone update: still in there. I am getting really tired of urinating through a funnel with a screen on the bottom of it. This last trip was especially fun since my 18 month old decided to bring his half-eaten PB&J sandwich into the bathroom and sit on the rug in front of me. This is not really a picnic event but he was intent on staying. I wonder how warped he will be thinking that this is a normal way to relieve oneself.

A few nights ago the stone decided to wake me up because it was lonely down there in my ureter all by itself. The accompanying UTI was all I could take so I was pacing in the living room in a cold sweat when I heard a diesel engine running outside my lanai door.

It was 1:09 a.m. and a tow truck had a white car jacked up and the driver was putting the last minute touches on the hitch. This is impressive to me because it didn’t take him long to get this done since all cars must be out of the guest parking stalls by 1:00 a.m. Also, locals are not historically known for doing anything fast- walking, driving, filling out a DMV form, writing a check, etc.

Personally, I think tow truck companies are a crooked business. Minus the actual towing of disabled vehicles these companies prey on illegally parked cars. How dare they. Actually, what really pisses me off is the sneakiness and clandestine manner in which they hook up these vehicles but will willingly drop for a small “unhook fee” of $50. I’m sure that goes right into the beer fund of the truck driver. I digress.

The video at the end of this post pretty much shows how a towing goes for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of arriving at where you last parked your car and found that it was no longer there. There were two drivers this particular night. Since all visitors who park their cars in guest parking must register at the security desk why were these cars towed?

1) They didn’t register their vehicle or apartment they were visiting; or
2) They were called by security but blew the phone call off
3) Security never made the phone call

Now, even if the visitor didn’t register the vehicle there is still a sign warning of the 1:00 a.m. deadline. The sign is in plain view at an appropriate height unlike some of these parking lots in cahoots with the towing companies. I remember seeing a Dateline special where a night club had its “No Parking” signs in the empty gravel lot next to the establishment- 13 feet above the lot written on a sign so small a person would have had a hard time reading if it was at eye level to begin with. The undercover camera showed some guys that were really talented. They must have worked the pits at a NASCAR race because they had those cars on the lift and out the lot in minutes.

I guess the reason I have such a boner with towing companies is because my truck was towed from a place with a dubious sign when I spent the night at my girlfriend’s apartment in Waikiki. Twenty feet away from where I was parked was a sign on a chain going across the “driveway” of which I was blocking. Could have fooled me, and they did. Apparently when the trash truck came to get the garbage my truck was blocking the way. My truck was towed to downtown Honolulu and after paying $135 I got it out of the lot. Adding insult to injury was the pink copy of a parking ticket. I took a photo of the “sign” and sent it to the judge as a contested ticket. He was gracious enough to drop the $45 charge but I still had to pay a $15 administration fee. I love Hawaii legislature.

On a related note, however, to this apartment complex I had my motorcycle towed from my stall. The new resident manager said he had been trying to contact me for months because he could find no record of my parking stall payment. He explained this to me after I barged into his office demanding to know why I had just paid $50 for tow truck guy at the bottom of the ramp leading into our parking garage. Imagine my surprise to drive around the corner and see a motorcycle on the forks of a tow truck. I thought, “Damn, poor asshole. That sucks.” Then I recognized the saddlebags and I let out a string of expletives that only a sailor could muster. To his credit the driver was very understanding about the whole thing and took good care of my bike as he strapped it on the forks. Apparently, from the story of the new resident manager, the old resident manager was sort of a crook. He took my money and never wrote it down and never gave me a receipt. I paid in cash so I was pretty much assed out the money. He made a habit out of doing this sort of thing with other residents too.

Anyway, there were two cars towed from the apartment complex. One car, however, was flagged down by the owner’s boyfriend as it rolled past the apartment complex. The owner was in tears and had to go back inside to get the rest of the money for the “unhook fee”. While the driver was waiting for the owner to return he was pointing to the car like he was explaining how he hooked it up. I don’t think the boyfriend gives a shit about the tow truck driver’s handiwork at this point. He just wants the car back so he can get back upstairs with his girlfriend. She came back about 5 minutes later and handed the boyfriend the money who in turn gave it to the driver who, without missing a beat, shoved it into his pants pocket. Cha-ching! Dinner and a movie.

The last few seconds of the clip show the guy trying to console his girlfriend as the tow truck drives off
sign
Towtruck

2 comments:

  1. Hey there unfortunate souls with the tow ruck issues.

    I am a resident manager here on Oahu and I have been blamed for the hole in the ozone layer and global warning. We have an automatic tow from guest paking after 2 a.m. This local guy said behind my back, that there is a double standard and why was his daughter's car towed and not the two white marines parked along side his daughters.Hey, I'm local to and so i the tow truck driver! We are not in cahoots to rid the parking area of locals. The two cars must have arrived after the car was towed. I think your RM should have come to your doors or leave a note about payment instead of just towing. This was dumb! The RM should do better research and be cool until he or she has to be firm. Sorry you had a bad day.

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  2. Wow! Thanks for commenting on this post. It has been such a long time since this happened that I almost forgot about it.

    I'm glad to see that not all RM's are idiots and that some actually care for their tenants.

    Thanks again for dropping by.

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