We all make mistakes in life. There are two types of mistakes you can make, the ones that are completely unavoidable and the ones you have to take full responsibility for. There’s actually a secret third type of mistake; the one where it is completely your fault, but when you explain to people what happened you focus on all the external details and leave out the bit where you didn’t read the sign properly. This is my story:
So my car got towed. I made a Spotify playlist you can listen along to while you read this post:
This week is Mental Health Week (this is where the irony starts) and so I manned a stall promoting research on Monday at Deakin Edge at Fed Square and in Fitzroy Town Hall on Tuesday. Monday was a great success with a great turnout and interest from the community. I decided I would drive in to Fitzroy as it was an early start and pretty far from home. The morning went well, and towards the end of the launch I received a message from my boss asking if I can cover a shift in the MEG Lab.
Yes I am a bit of a wanker and I call myself MEG Man. He’s kinda the love child between Batman and the Tick, both mysterious and charming. He has no powers, gadgets or money, only his love for science. So answering the call like I always do, I drove from Fitzroy to work, and even though I struggled to find a park, I managed to get there on time.
The hours pass and I am having a great time scanning brains. I love my job. In between participants I duck off to move my car out of the two hour zone it was meticulously parked in. There was only a half hour scan left, so I thought I’d park myself out on the main road for convenience. It was was one hour parking till 4.30pm. Perfect! I’ll be done by 4.15pm at the latest. What could go wrong.
When I return, I find my next scan is running behind. No problem, MEG Man has everything under control. Turns out I didn’t, and the scan took longer than I expected. Suddenly it’s 4.30pm and I’ve still got a participant wired up to Cerebro. I can’t leave or stop the scan, so I start to sweat (looking back at my previous posts, I tend to do that a lot).
At 4.45pm I run out of the lab hoping to a power greater than MEG Man that I don’t have a fine. The road is completely empty, which I find odd as there were 10 cars there before. The road is entirely clear, as if there was some sort of zone on the road where it was meant to be clear. I spend a second to marvel in the beauty of just how clear this zone is, when I realize that I cannot see my car. Panic sets in as I realize that the one hour park had ticked over into a clear way at 4.30pm. My car is gone.
The thing about having your car towed is that it’s actually impossible to tell if it has been towed or if it’s been stolen. There is no note, no notification or indication on the sign as to where it will be taken. My gut sinks heavy and the swirling nausea sets in. I imagine the feeling to be identical to losing a child in a shopping centre or realising you’ve ordered a burrito bowl to the wrong store (wait, I’ll explain later).
I google “my car is gone, Melbourne” and it comes up with the location of the Tow yard. Ironically it’s right next to Fitzroy Town Hall which I had been mere hours ago. I catch a train to Richmond and wait at the bus stop for the bus up Punt Road. I waited an hour before it arrived. I knew that if I left the stop to walk the 20 minute walk, that the bus would come, so I waited and waited. Frustration and rage was building as I felt like the victim of the capitalist establishment, but more so because I knew I was going to be late for my 7pm functional fitness class. Behind my stonecold gaze into the distant and unmoving traffic, I was an emotional wreck, held together only by the unsupportive but entertaining banter from the lads in my gym group chat.
It’s 6.45pm and finally the bus comes. There is so much traffic still, so much so that a middle aged man with a limp is matching the bus’ speed the whole way.
When I arrive at the tow yard, I come to the conclusion that you’d have to be some sort of masochist to work there. Within the first two minutes I overheard these conversations (loose term):
Hi Sir, are you here to collect your car?
Of course I am. It was fucking stolen from me.
I did not give you permission to photocopy my license! What’s your employee number?!
Long story short, they charged me $335 for the tow pickup, $159 in fines, and $1.5 surcharge for using credit card.
Officially robbed of everything I own. To put things in perspective, here is a list of things that $495.50 can buy you:
- 495 $1 coffees from 7/11, equivalent to 16 months of daily coffee
- 110 pots of tea from Piatella in Kingsway, keep in mind a pot can provide for two people or one very thirsty person
- 1/4 of the price of Aldi’s most expensive HD plasma television
- 30 burrito bowls from Guzman Y Gomez, with brown rice and an extra serving of meat with each
- 3 years of a Netflix subscription for two devices + HD
- On average, 8.25 tanks of Petrol or approximately 7 months of driving petrol
- 10 dinner dates with ladies from Tinder (or more realistically 20 single dates) provided I pay for dinner and then pray that they cover dessert and don’t order cocktails
- 100 scoops of Messina ice-cream (this one hurts the most)
I want you, the reader, to learn from my mistakes. Check the road signs extra carefully. Up until that fateful day, clear ways had been for me the stuff of myth, made up to keep little children afraid and behaving, but they’re real! But finally, the real story everyone wants to hear…
Dude, where’s my burrito bowl? Another financially challenging game of hide and seek
I love to use the Guzman Y Gomez app to order my lunch. When I arrive it’s already waiting for me, which means I can nom nom nom and get back to testing ASAP. Sadly last month I accidentally selected the wrong location on the app, and so I waited for 20 minutes, only to realise I’d ordered to the wrong store. On this particular day I had felt more daring, and so I had ordered triple meat with brown rice (Don’t judge, you don’t know my story), but I never duly received my gainz. I realised something was wrong when my order number was 26 and they were calling out 85, 86, 87 etc. This story is particularly sad, so I had to share it.