Daily Archives: December 4, 2011

Trust Cost Me $193

Day 98 | $50,944 paid | $39,773 till freedom

I stopped by Kasbah at 10:30 PM last night to see some friends, then my buddy drove us all downtown where we went to bars till 2 AM. I came back to the parking lot near Kasbah where I parked my car, and it was completely empty. That’s when I spied a No Parking sign on the side of a nearby building. I called the number listed for the towing company, and they confirmed that they had my car and I could get it out for $193.

When I do something wrong or make a mistake, I learn from it. I don’t beat myself up, and I don’t dwell on it. I admit fault, internalize it, learn from it, and move on. However, last night, when I found out my car had been towed, I had one of those very rare moments in my life when I was so frustrated that I just wanted to destroy something…anything.

Why? Because when I parked my car in the spot at 10:30 PM (yellow and black icon in image above) , a tow truck (black and blue icon–no pun intended…I think?) was idling directly in front of my car. After I parked my car and locked it, I walked over to the tow truck and had the following conversation with the two people sitting inside who had seen me park and lock my car.

Me: Hi, is my car going to get towed if I leave it here?

Passenger: No, you’re fine.

Me: Okay, but even after hours? Like, 2:30? You’re not going to tow it?

Driver: No, you can park there.

Passenger: Yeah, it’s okay.

Me: Okay, thanks a lot.

So when I parked there, I didn’t look around for a No Parking sign (red line in image above)–I went straight to the enforcers to ask, assuming (perhaps naively?) that they would be honest and forthright with me.

I reported this interaction to the towing company that took my car, but the woman at the front desk apologized and told me that those weren’t their people. To her credit, she seemed genuinely sorry, and I think she was actually right–I looked at the tow truck parked out front of the building, donned in the company’s regalia, and it looked nothing like the tow truck driven by the people who told me I could park there. The area where I parked does have lots of restricted lots, and I guess they’re all enforced by various towing companies.

That being said, this surely wasn’t the first night on the beat for the driver of tow truck that told me I could park there, and he almost definitely knew that I couldn’t leave my car there. Yet he let me park there anyway.

My frustration on this one knows no bounds. Is it too much to ask for honesty? Look, I get that people want to make money, but a tow truck driver intentionally misleading a victim so that their buddy benefits? I mean, does he get a kickback for that? There are a ton of illegal/dishonest/unethical/immoral things I could be doing to pay down my student debt right now, and I haven’t done a single one.

As I said earlier, I learn from my mistakes. Did I make a mistake, and if so, what lesson do I take away from this? Don’t trust people? Don’t trust tow truck drivers?

$200 down the drain. Unbelievable. I’m at a loss of words.

(Moment of reflection–I can’t believe I just wrote that entire piece without thoroughly lacing it with the string of violent profanity racing around inside my head right now. 12 hours later and I”m still furious.)

Another Satisfied Customer
Michael and I had another landscaping job on Saturday. It took about five hours. Everything turned out pretty well (before/after pics below), but the gravel bed around the garbage can ended up looking incomplete, even though it was done to the customers’ original specifications. Michael and I probably should have seen this coming and recommended he do a full build-out of the bed when we were still in the planning stages. Anyway, he’s having us come back out to extend the bed. We’ll get paid for that, and he’s going to have us do some other stuff, too. Continued business is a good thing.

The job will net us about $320 in profit or $32/labor hour, so not bad. Unfortunately, I won’t get the full $150 because 1) we bought $90 landscaping software to mock up “After” images, 2) Michael built the quote and I want to make sure he gets compensated for his time, and 3) I spent about $90 on landscaping materials for my own yard yesterday. I got bored last weekend and took out over 300 square feet of sod in my front yard that was patchy and weedy, and this past weekend, Michael and I covered it with mulch.

It was a $90, 6-hour project that didn’t have to be done, but it was completely worth it because it convinced me that I should rip up all of the sod in my yard and go to 100% xeriscape. I’m going to cap most of my sprinkler heads, and replace the sod with mulch and gravel and limestone rock borders. It’ll look good. I can then get rid of my lawn mower, weed whacker, fertilizer spreader, $150+ monthly water bills, and I can get back an hour+ of my time every weekend that would have otherwise been spent mowing my lawn.

This project will take probably 60+ hours for me to do on my own, which is fine, and I would have loved to do it over winter break when I have a week off of work and won’t be flying home. Unfortunately, the material will cost around $1k, so I’ll have to wait until I pay off off my debt to undertake this project. I’m looking forward to it.

General Malaise
What I thought was short-term post-holiday funk has lingered for longer than I thought it would. Looking in general at the past few weeks, I just feel…I don’t know…not good.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m in month #4 of living like a pauper, maybe it’s that cheap coffee dates at Starbucks suck, or maybe it’s that I’ve become jaded with society and money and material goods and wealth and status and climbing the ladder and social mobility and all that, or conversely that I sold my motorcycle, roadbike, and car.

Maybe it’s all of that.

I don’t know. All I know is that I’m feeling a bit…down.

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