Backing up for a bit -- so we arrive at the address, making our plans for presentation -- I channel a particularly prim and unimpressed hen; my aunt prepares to look menacing. We crack the sunroof, put up the shades, and make sure the poodle's OK. Some of the wind goes out of our sails when we find that it's a locked impound lot on a street with a lot of impound lots, junkyards, and (apparently) metalworking places. The impound lot is unmanned. "Maybe they're out to lunch? Oh, but it's one," my aunt says.
Unimpressed, I call the number, and the fellow says that he will send the guy. My aunt and I wait. And wait. We chat. The guy next door asks us to move out of range of the shower of sparks from the metal he's about to cut. We perch on the other side of the road where there's a retaining wall and some flowers. My aunt pulls her vehicle around to park closer, so we can sit out of the sun and out of the bees.
A guy emerges from somewhere and begins wrestling with the lock on the gate. Apparently it is stuck due to the two pieces of metal with the holes in no longer being quite as well-aligned as they were when it had been locked. He waves off help from my aunt, who had been debating over wearing her weightlifting T-shirt (she holds, or held, some records for her age and weight class). A second guy emerges. The gate is eventually opened. (Throughout this -- and throughout the entire operation -- there are calls back and forth to the main office and other people; these guys are clearly on the very low end of the 'in charge' stick, and are not the decision-makers or the people with the information. I only have enough Spanish and Romance roots to catch one word in ten or twenty, but nothing about the subjects discussed in the calls sounds unprofessional or out of line with what the guys are telling us. They treat us perfectly politely, professionally, even warmly, in word and deed. The overall professionalism of the *operation*, however, remains unimpressive.) Intelligence is given that "my friend" will be along shortly, to make things happen.
The "friend" arrives, in a towtruck for yet another tow place. This is at least the fourth towing company I have seen represented here. Paperwork ensues.
I have been unimpressed with the outfit from word one starting last night, and had prepared to pay in cash, rather than sharing even so much financial information as my bank card with them. I am suddenly happy at this choice. I perch on the lip of the trailer that serves as the on-site office, but not on the random nuts, bolts, and perhaps broken glass piled to one side.
My aunt fields two calls. She was supposed to have been to some dog event at 2. Now both the other people she is meeting there have called: they are both lost and cannot find the place, but at least they have found each other and are lost together. She will get there when she can.
My car is behind a large tow truck, one with a beat-up car on its platform. Discussion ensues. The upshot of this involves the guy with the other tow truck extracting this fantastical, long, snaky, green, handled device from his box of tricks and hopping up onto the side of the tow truck. I realize with mingled hilarity and consternation that this is the modern equivalent of the coat hanger, and they, in the absence of the keys to the tow truck, are breaking in, in order to get it moved. I am a bit in too much shock to get a photo.
I wonder if it's going to get hotwired, too, or if ... and the tow chains are brought forth. And ... holy mother of pearl, it's a forklift. Yes. They're towing the tow truck out of the way of my towed car, using a forklift.
I begin to wonder if the shenanigans with the towtruck and forklift are the "dolly fee" on the invoice. If so, I am not impressed.
They claim that I'd been blocking the access to private property. I ask after the photo that establishes this. They say that they will be sending me the photo when the guy who does this is in town, and take my phone number. I am distinctly more unimpressed than previously.
I become antsy. The folks that I dogsat for in May are going out of town again, and I'd previously scheduled a briefing-and-key-handover for 1pm. I'd rescheduled it to 3 upon realizing that my car had been taken. I begin to have doubts about whether I'd make it.
Finally the tow truck is cleared, and my car stands ready. I express my doubts about getting into the driver's side, as it is approximately one inch from the fence on the side of the lot. "Do you have the key?" one of the fellows (the second one) asks. I produce it. He unlocks the passenger-side door on the second try, and crawls in, over and around the blanket-wrapped bundle of desktop computer in the passenger seat. I wince.
He drives the car away from the fence and up to me, and I take over. And we're off! I wave to my aunt. She heads off behind me, and we split our separate ways. I do not pass go, I head directly to the dogsittees' place, and am there in plenty of time for the 3pm briefing, where I share the highlights. Mrs. Dogsittee advises me that, well, at least I got a good story out of it, and towing the towtruck with a forklift is actually kind of hilarious.
I am planning to set the computer up tonight. We'll see how it's fared in these adventures.