Saturday, February 12, 2005

One Year Anniversary!

A year ago I loss the use of my car. I wouldn't realize it for almost another two months, though.

The car was really only used to leave the city, except for very rare occasions. I was a CTA girl for inter-city mobility. However, I was meeting ex-boyfriend Mike on a very cold night and decided to drive to his place. During dinner the dome light of my car was on and drained the battery. One of his friends gave me a jump after we left the jazz club and I drove back down to Hyde Park. This was the last time I really drove my car. Two months later I tried to start it, but it wouldn't cooperate.

For the next six months my car was nothing but a hassle. Its leopard-spotted paint job was not suited for an urban environment and instead of acting as protective camoflage, the spots drew additional attention from the neighboring frat boys. Sensing that it was crippled and weak, the frat boys eagerly harrassed this easy prey. Eggs were thrown, wiper bladess were stripped, footprints appeared along with odd dents.

One night I was awakened by a wrenching noise and then soon called by the police to move my car because it was perpendicular to the curb and blocking the street. Motherfuckers. For the first time in the long history of my car's vandalism (two smashed windows, one cracked windshield, one University bench atop the roof, one stolen side mirror, one stolen license plate and several stolen wipers) the police responded and apprehended some frat boys. My car wouldn't jump start so the frats were made to push-parallel park my car back into place or else be arrested. A week later three tires were simultaneously flat.

Besides the frat boy hassle, I also had monthly street cleaning hassles. A few times me and my roommates simply pushed it to the other side of the street--but I felt bad doing that, so I began a much easier way to avoid street-cleaning fines: I took the license plate off and covered the VIN plate. Every once in a while I noticed grease pen writing on the window with the word abandoned and a date. A razor blade and window cleaner solve that problem. One day I realized that the paper on the dash covering the VIN was no longer there and about two weeks later I decided to investigate it. There were marks on the door and neither door was locked--apparently the CPD jimmied the lock to get my VIN to issue me a citation.

By this time I was biking everywhere and debating whether or not to keep the car. I figured a new battery would get him running again but I also considered donating it to charity. It disappeared and the decision was made for me. Streets and Sanitation towed my car and it was racking up towing/storage fees that increased daily. Chicago has a delightful policy that if you sign the title over to the city they will cancel these fees. Done and done. I was bouncing around the apartment as I happily signed away my car.

So for a year now I have been without the benefit of a car. I miss it when I have to go home to Wisconsin, but my everyday life hasn't changed, and I am much happier without having a car to worry about.


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