Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Good Intentions and Sheer Stupidity

"Have you seen my car?"
"You have?"
"Well, I saw the backseat."
"No, I'm talking about the whole thing."
- Classic lines from "Dude, Where's My Car?"

Wednesday was Shayna's last day of winter break. The boys were already back in school, as their school's winter break is completely non-overlapping with hers (as I ranted about last year). So Debbie and Shayna decided on a day in the city to visit the American Girl Place and other such feminine pursuits. Being the doting dad that I am, I decided to take the day off as well and tag along. Which meant that we (OK, I, against the advice of my better half) decided to drive into the city instead of taking the train. I can picture you New Yorkers cringing already.

Our timing was pretty good in terms of avoiding the worst of rush hour traffic. We found some apparently legal street parking right near the area of the store. I say "apparently" because there were four different signs posted describing the status of that parking area, and they all utterly contradicted one another. But the consensus seemed positive - at least to this country bumpkin. And hey, there were lots of other cars parked there, so it had to be OK, right?

We had a reasonably pleasant day, during which Debbie and I pretty much indulged all of our budding glamour-girl's window shopping whims. I figured, if I'm not shelling out the big bucks for ridiculously overpriced junk, it doesn't hurt me to look at it. If nothing else, it satisfies my morbid curiosity, sort of like watching maggots, or a live execution, or even (shudder) reality TV. And hey, bonding with my two favorite gals and all that.

Finally, it came time to head home. Together, we strolled back to the street where our car was parked. And kept walking. You can picture the conversation: "Are you sure we parked here?" "It can't be any farther, this is Madison already." "Let's walk back again, slowly..." "Honey, where the **** is our car???" "Let's ask that Fed Ex guy over there - he probably knows something."


Yes, no trip to the Big Apple is complete without visiting Manhattan's world famous impound yard. I can't understand why it's not included in the tour books. You get to see morons like me, first hand, shelling out roughly the GNP of most third-world countries for the privilege of getting back the same car they had earlier in the day. Don't get too close to us, it might be contagious.

Well, at least I can say that I learned a half dozen valuable lessons from the experience:
  1. No good intention ever goes unpunished.
  2. New Jersey Transit - don't leave home without it.
  3. Listen to your wife, she's probably at least slightly less of a nitwit than you are.
  4. When there are multiple street signs which contradict one another, whichever one is the most machmir [stringent] is correct. Sort of like what they tell you in today's Jewish world.
  5. You are never allowed to park anywhere in Manhattan. Never ever. No matter what. Not even during an alien attack. Just fuggetaboutit.
  6. All things considered, next time we go to Philadelphia.


At 2/3/07, 7:44 PM, Blogger torontopearl said...

Elie,shavuah tov.

Oy, I'm sorry that's how the day went.

Several years ago, on one of my trips to NYC, I went out with a couple of friends one night -- sure enough, I, the Torontonian experienced the driver friend's car having been towed...and then I experienced a NYC cab ride. A double adventure in one night.

As for AMERICAN GIRL, I'm not venturing anywhere close to the store in NYC or Chicago or anywhere else it's located. There is a big "NO" written across my forehead when my 9-year-old daughter makes her wishes about that store known. Does that make me a bad mother????

At 2/3/07, 8:12 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Oy - that stinks. (So does the truthfulness of #3.) My friends HATE that impound yard; thankfully, I've never had to park in Manhattan.

And here, I thought my getting 4 alternate side tickets in 2 years (despite not owning a car!) was bad...

At 2/4/07, 9:56 AM, Blogger Elie said...

Ezzie: Yeah, in addition to the exorbitant towing fee they give you a ticket too! Talk about adding insult to injury.

Pearl: My daughter already has the American Girl bug, not much I can do but grin and bear it. They do have some cute, if overpriced stuff. And we went to the store knowing we weren't spending any money (besides towing fees); it was really more like visting a museum.

By the way, speaking of Canadians and parking, the following item in my local paper yesterday made me realize how lucky I actually was:

"Stricken Woman Found In Freezing Towed Car

Vancouver, BC: An elderly woman was seriously ill in the hospital yesterday
after she spent nearly a day in her car that was towed and impounded - without
anyone noticing she lay helpless inside."

At 2/4/07, 12:52 PM, Blogger trn said...

One nice thing about NYC street parking these days is that the alternate side parking rules are suspended for Yuntif.

At 2/5/07, 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me a number of years ago. Luckily I had some friends with me who bought a newspaper and a disposable camera and took some pictures of the signage. I worked in the city at the time so I was able to go fight the ticket in person. I don't remember, but I suspect I got the impound fee back. Of course, it didn't pay for the cab ride to the pier and all the lost time.

At 2/5/07, 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

was there once, when bubby was being in a super good mood and schlepped us there against my own will

I parked 2 blocks away in a garage, paid what they asked, and cut my loses, rather then the 'agmas nefesh' of those oxymoron towing it away.

I really think it deosnt pay to drive into NYC, take public trans. or a taxi, it wont cost u more, then the parking....unless one of u keeps on driving around the block while the others are out have fun, I've done that too, but it felt miserable to miss out

At 2/5/07, 6:22 PM, Blogger SaraK said...

There is a garage on 45th and Broadway that is only $12 if you are in by 10 AM and out before 6 PM. Not too far from American Girl. I only park on the street in Manhattan on the weekends. Waaaaay too chancy otherwise.

At 2/6/07, 11:41 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

The best movie loved it. Sorry was a rough day I agree listen to the wife.

At 2/7/07, 3:33 AM, Blogger Yaakov Kirschen said...

I once had a rental car towed in Lisbon Portugal because I'd gotten back to the hotel late, and didn't want to bother the desk clerk about opening the hotel's garage!!
Dry Bones
Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

At 2/17/07, 2:29 PM, Blogger Nadia & Kobi said...

we had the opposite.
we were visiting family in the states from israel (boston and NJ). we decided to take the van into the city figuring that for all of us to take public transportation would be too time consuming and expensive.
we parked on the west side in a garage. walked through the park saw the met. walked down to see the sony exhibit (a lot of walking we are cheap). and then as it was our turn to go into the sony exhibit the lights went out.
i am sure many of you remember the black out in ny and the north east a few years back.
we also did not have a cell phone. at least it was still the days when a phone card did not charge you extra from calling from a pay phone. so we walked back to the west side and to the garage and low and behold, the van was on the 4th floor of an elevator garage and we couldn't get the car out.
we managed to camp out with some family friends. of course we had no spare clothing with us and we had been walking all over the city for hours. the electricity came on the next morning and i freed up the car - they charged me for a whole day despite we would have only used 8 hours if the electricity hadn't blown.


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