I’ll tow you somethin’

Kristine Gill

I parked where I shouldn’t have parked. I stayed in the lot too long. I didn’t have a permit and I didn’t follow the rules. I deserved to get towed. But something about the concept of a towing company really irks me.

Whose evil idea was it to go around moving people’s cars and charging for it? Is it really hurting anyone when my car is the only one parked in an empty lot past 8 p.m.? Apparently it is. Apparently what I did was so horrendous and out of line that I deserved to have my car towed.

I’m not going to specify which lot I was towed from or by which company because I don’t want to be added to any hit lists. But when I went to drive home at around midnight after work, I couldn’t find my car. My heart skipped a beat as I hopelessly circled the lot and pathetic tears leaked out the corners of my eyes. I called a friend for a ride and then called the number on the sign that says: “You’re an idiot. We have your car and you probably can’t afford to get it back.” The lady on the other end asked what car I drove. I told her it was a Honda Civic, and when she asked if it was silver, I said “ish” because it’s actually more tan or gold. Then she said “yes” to confirm that they had my car and she said it in a tone that I thought was reserved for the loss of a pet or family member. She said it with pity, as if she were really sorry about my situation.

That was frustrating. That’s like asking a professor for your current grade in the class and having him tell you in that tentative, sympathetic voice that you’re borderline D, as if he wasn’t the one who tallied the grade book. So maybe you earned the D, and maybe you parked where you shouldn’t have, but I don’t want pity from the person who did the grading or the towing.

I know if I were a professor, I might get some sort of satisfaction out of assigning a bad grade, but I would also be worried for that student and would probably offer tutoring or some other kind of help. I know if I drove a tow truck, I would do my best to search to the ends of the earth for the owner of the car that I was about to tow because I know how awful it would be to have to pay a massive fee.

I had a friend take me to the tow lot the morning after my mom’s poor little Civic was kidnapped. The entire car ride there, I was completely embarrassed about having to face whoever was going to take my money and let me drive away. I kept crossing my fingers so, when I got there and told the lady which car was mine, she would smile and say, “Someone already paid your tow fee for you.” It’s not such a far-fetched idea. I have heard of people going to pay for their order at Wendy’s and being told that the person in front of them in line decided to pick up the tab for them.

I had to pay for my own tow fee. It’s a shame they didn’t have a 99 cent menu like Wendy’s.

There is something definitely evil about tow companies. Do tow truck drivers get all giddy when they see a car parked in violation of some rule? Do they think about the person who is going to wander around the lot late at night for his or her vehicle? Do they tow every car they see, or do they sometimes let it slide? I would like to meet the person who towed my car and made my new microwave slide around in my trunk and my papers slide off the dashboard when he or she hitched it up to the truck. I’d like to meet that person so I could look him or her in the eye and say something absolutely profound. Something like, “I know you’re just doing your job, but I’m mad!” Or maybe “I know I didn’t follow the rules, but boy are you mean!” That would show ’em.

I won’t get to meet that person and I won’t get to say anything to them. What I will do one day is go to the same tow lot that I had to retrieve my car from and pay for some poor college kid’s tow fee. Maybe I’ll buy the tow truck drivers something off of Wendy’s 99 cent menu just to sweeten them up. Maybe they’ll drive past your car next time.

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].