Part 15: The Ides of Marching Forward

The Postcard

The Postcard Version

…open up those golden gates, California here I come.

My move to the west coast was now official. I gave notice at my job, started packing my belongings, sold most of my furniture — basically stripped myself down to a more simple state — while trying to figure out a way to bring along my Justy.

But, I encountered an insolvable problem. The Justy’s tires were too small to fit on the standard-size trailer that I’d banked on hitching to the back of the rental truck. This new development meant one thing, only:  our on-again, off-again relationship of almost eight years was coming to an end.

Boo-hoo! But, there was no getting around the fact that I had to sell it. The next day, I posted a sign on the bulletin board at work.

A secretary at the law firm —  a sullen, goth/earth-mother unfashionista type — offered to buy it. But I wasn’t sure that my little car was sturdy enough to constrain her centrifugal force. I was afraid her dark intensity would blow off the doors.

Was I being dramatic? Over-protective? Or just plain sensible? Let’s face it.

Would this person fit better…

goth girl

small hearse

inside this car

justywhite Vsm

or this one?

Even so, I was afraid not to sell her my car.  So, I quoted her the book value of $600, cash — and she immediately said, “I’ll take it.”

But I really did not want her to have it.

The Kidnapping

TICKET ON WINDSHIELD

Before any money could change hands, something bizarre happened. Call it “divine intervention.”

It was a Monday. I had taken the day off to run errands. I’d left my apartment and walked to 34th Avenue and looked around for the Justy. It wasn’t where I’d parked it.

Stapled to the trees and telephone poles, though, was a paper storm of official-looking warnings — which I’d not noticed (or possibly ignored) the day before. This is a character flaw of mine, my perverse tendency toward up-closeness — at the expense of not seeing the so-called forest for the telephone poles.

As a result, I’d missed the city’s announcement about road construction scheduled for that day and the necessity of moving my car.

A police officer was patrolling the vicinity. I approached him and explained that I’d parked my car on that street the night before, but now it was gone. Had it been moved?

He looked me in the eye. “Do you owe any parking tickets?”

Yes and no, I told him. I’d paid all the tickets, but not the penalties they had incurred — which I regarded as unjust and Fascist.

“Then you gotta go to the impound lot, sweetheart,” he said.

The impound lot is a place you don’t want to go — for anything:

The ransom they were asking for my Justy would have cost more than the car was worth. So, I took a pass. The Justy would have to be put on the auction block.

That night, I didn’t sleep well. I fretted over breaking the news to the goth/earth-mother. I fretted over the sad fate of my little car. And I fretted over what I might have left behind in the glove box.

Getting out of town town was starting to look good to me.

What I was reading: A Drinking Life (Hamill),The Unquiet Mind (Jamison), My Other Life (Theroux), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (McMillan), Angela’s Ashes (McCourt), Waist-High in the World (Mairs), Icefields (Wharton), Independence Day (Ford), The Sportswriter (Ford), Babel Tower (Byatt), My Dark Places (Ellroy), Rain (Gunn), Under the Tuscan Sun (Mayes), Drown (Diaz), Killer Spy (Maas), Understand This (Tervalon), Where or When (Shreve), Strange Fits of Passion (Shreve), Wounds of Passion (Hooks), Brideshead Revisted (Waugh).

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