Now, if you live in San Francisco, have lived here in the past, have ever rented a vehicle in this parking-forsaken city, you know that finding a spot to leave your car is about as painful as having each fingernail removed by a pair of pliers. I actually have friends who turn down social invites if they have a really sweet parking spot for fear of losing it. It’s downright impossible to park in certain neighborhoods and times of the day. A Tuesday night in Hayes Valley was no different. After circling the area for a good 20 minutes, looking for a smidgen of space or even a pay lot, I was at a loss for what to do. There are plenty of spots between houses that would fit a Smart Car (why did I invest in an Altima? I’m now only slightly regretting my decision), but are a foot or two too short for a normal car. However, as a San Franciscan, you learn to improvise, so I parked in one of these spots, with the butt of my car hanging over a foot or so. There were garages on both sides, but I took great care to make sure I gave the residents of Page Street plenty of room to come and go as they pleased. My first ticket as a California resident was given to me in this very area, but I figured after dusk on a weeknight, I’d be fine.
So when I came back to find my car missing, I was convinced someone stole it. (Now I know this isn’t really possible, as my car has keyless start, meaning you have to have the computerized chip in your pocket in order to turn it on, but nonetheless, I wasn’t thinking rationally at the time.) I called SVV panicked, and always the calm one that he is, he tried to tell me I had just misplaced it. Then, I started going crazy. I walked the span of Page for 10 blocks—each way—five times or more. It was freezing out, and I was in capris and flip-flops. My hands were blocks of ice. The streets were deserted, save a bum or two here and there, and I was convinced someone was lurking around the corner, waiting to jump me, at all times. But the shiny, slate Altima, she was nowhere to be found. Another thing that gets me about SF is that rarely are the streets properly marked. When I parked, there were no street signs on either side of my car, so I just had to remember based on landmarks. I was 99 percent positive I knew where I had left her, but an old white clunker was in her place, so that left me even more confused. I shamefully rang Moose’s door again, the tears beginning to stream down my face, when SVV called and said, yup, someone had called in my car, and the Tow Truck Wankers had taken her in to the lot at 7th and Harrison.
Moose kindly drove me there, after many trips circling Sketchville trying to find the entrance to the lot, and I was prepared to flirt my way out of the ticket—or at least get it significantly reduced (hey, it’s happened in all but one occurrence, the one time I actually got a speeding ticket in Alabama in 2005). But for the second time that day, Karma laughed in my face and gave me a tight-lipped female. I joked and asked, “well, don’t I get a discount at least for being so speedy in retrieving her?” Crickets. On top of that, after I paid the whopping $250 charge, I got in my car to find a $75 parking ticket awaiting me on my dash. Awesome. Love you, too, Karma. Don’t be expecting a Hallmark card on your next birthday.
(Since that white car was illegally parked in the place of mine, SVV and I concluded the inhabitants of that building must have called in my car because I took their usual street parking space. Scott said I should have then called in that car as retaliation, assuming it was the vehicle of the Jerkhead that phoned in mine. I thought that was too mean, given the small unlikelihood the owner of the car was just passing through — I wouldn’t want any kind, unsuspecting, innocent soul to suffer the same scenario. However, next time I’m chilling in Hayes Valley, and the same car is still parked there, I’ll know it’s Jerkhead’s and revenge will be mine. Take that, Karma. Cue evil laughter: mwahahahahaha.)