Yesterday was a TERRIBLE day for me. It started out pretty innocently. Woke up, went to work with my hubby, returned phone calls and finished some letters that had to go out by noon. Joy came over around 1 and we had sushi in my office. Then things kinda/sorta went downhill from there.
Joy and I headed for FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise). My sister is interested in enrolling in their Merchandise Marketing / Product Development program and I was accompanying her to meet with the school’s Admissions Rep. As we circled the block, I found an empty parking spot on the south side of the campus (Olympic St). What luck to find parking, right in front of the school, in downtown LA, in the middle of the day! Joy and I were quite proud of ourselves.
We dropped coins in the meter and I double-checked the sign, which read “2-Hour Parking”. All set. Joy’s meeting went well. We took a tour of the school, which although on the small side was quite impressive. We met some students, discussed the program, and got our questions answered. The program my sister is interested in sounds perfect for her and I just know it’ll be awesome for her. I was so proud too since my baby sister really impressed the Admissions Rep. Joy had to take an English test – a formality since she is an international student. While she was being tested, I decided to go drop some more coins in the meter – even if I had over half an hour left - just to make sure.
When I walk out to where we parked, my car was gone! At first I thought I must have parked on the wrong side of the building. But I see the Asian Fusion café at the corner and know I was at the right spot. My second thought was that my car was stolen. So I walk up to the security guard and ask him if he saw anything strange. He smiles and points to the sign, which I thought I read earlier. It did say “2-Hour Parking” but beneath it, it read “Between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm”. I look at my watch and it’s 3:15 pm. What’s worse the last line of the sign reads “Tow Away Zone”. Rave, (Jojo and I have named my car “Rave” -- cause I drive a Toyota Rav-4) has been towed away!
After I meet up with my sister, we end up calling a cab to drop us off at the lot where my car has been impounded. The taxi arrived in 15 minutes. And our funky Jamaican driver takes us to this seedy part of LA where the lot is located. You know you are in a bad neighborhood when the streets are deserted, there is graffiti everywhere, there are make-shift tents set up by homeless people in the alleys, and the properties are locked behind 12-foot steel gates.
Once inside, I talk to this unfriendly and good-hygiene-challenged man, who informs us he needs my ID and car registration. We walk inside the lot to get the registration from my car and I feel really terrible about seeing Rave in the middle of the lot of unclaimed, towed-away cars. I search the glove compartment and pull out my registration. We walk back to the office and hand it over. Same unfriendly man says this is the old registration and he needs the new one. Now, call me dumb, but as far as I know this was the only registration I had. In Manila it’s referred to as “rehistro” and this is what we kept in our cars. After going back and forth from the lot to the office and searching every nook and cranny of my car, I turn up with nothing. The guy said it was the piece of paper that comes with the annual sticker that the DMV mails to us. I call Jojo who says that it is most likely at home. So we’re stuck. I can’t take Rave out of the lot without the registration. The registration is at home. I can’t go home to get the registration without Rave. ARGH! Luckily Joy is there to help me get a grip, we call the cab company again and take another cab home. It’s now 5:30 pm and traffic is awful so there’s no way I can get the registration and drive back to the lot to free my car. I call my brother who was in a meeting in USC and ask him to pick Jojo up (since we drove to work together and I was suppose to pick him up after the FIDM meeting).
I felt really awful and frustrated. First, I was 15 minutes (15 MINUTES!) late and I get a parking ticket, not only that, my car gets towed away. All in 15 minutes! Last time I locked my car keys in the car, I couldn’t get a cop, a parking attendant or a tow truck out to help me for over an hour! Second, without my car registration, Rave was spending the night in an impound lot in the worst part of LA. Third, Joy and I had gotten ripped off by cab companies that had meters that were running even as we were stuck in traffic.
This morning, Jojo and I headed over to the same lot – got lost on our way to and from there – paid the ungodly amount and finally freed Rave. As I was computing how much I spent yesterday and today, I almost had a nervous breakdown. The only things that helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel throughout this horrible ordeal were my hubby’s calm, level-headedness and my sister’s sunny optimism and sense of humor. Thank God for them! But really, the total cost comes to this:
Cab fare to the lot - $11.00
Cab fare from the lot to the house - $48.00
Towing fee and overnight costs - $170.00
L.A. City Parking ticket - $65.00
Saving Rave – Priceless!