Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Car Trouble

[warning: this one’s long, and only funny in the “glad it wasn’t me” sense]
Let’s hearken back to last year. We had this friend, we’ll call her K, who’s very flakey but generally a good soul. She does have two major problems, however: the first is that she’s always late (always, and often by hours) and the second is that her life is a melodrama (at least when she tells it). K has two cars, but only uses one of them. The other sits in a friend’s driveway in Long Island because, due to some problems with her insurance, K had to remove its plates for at three months before she could renew the tags. It sat in her friend’s driveway for over a year before the friend finally asked K to remove it. I know this because K came to me, complaining about how this friend had suddenly turned on her, and asked me to go out there with her and drive one of the cars back while she drove the other. I went.
Move forward a month or two. We’ve closed on the house. K has given me a few rides, though I’ve given her gas money and bought her dinner every time. She asks me if she can store her second car in the party driveway behind our house for three months so she can get its tags renewed, because if it’s left anywhere public, even the street, it can be ticketed and towed. I foolishly say yes on two conditions.
First, it’s only for three months. She says “fine.”
Second, she either covers the car or empties out all the trash crammed into it. Again she agrees.
While we’re away over Thanksgiving, she brings the car over and parks it behind our house. Uncovered and still full of crap. Definite eyesore, and not the impression I wanted to make on the neighbors.
That was November. Three months later, in February, we start calling and emailing K about the car, asking when she’s going to come and get it. No reply. She’s demonstrated before that, when she wants something from you, her phone is always on. When you want something from her it’s off or the messages mysteriously don’t reach her.
We keep trying. My wife sends out thank-you cards to the people who helped with our move, including K. Hers includes a mention about picking up the car. A friend goes to a local convention we know K is at, and tells her in person that we want her to move the car. More emails are sent. No reply.
Last week, we decide we need to take the next step. It’s been over five months now. So my wife posts to a list we are on and K is also on. She explains the situation and asks for advice on what to do. Not once does she mention K by name—my wife doesn’t even give any indication as to K’s gender or her presence on the list. We hoped that she would see the post and be spurred to contact us.
She did.
Her contact consisted of calling my wife and yelling at her about how she had been a friend once, and how could she betray her like this, and obviously we hadn’t tried calling her because of course we would have reached her if we had, and how dare we insult her by posting this to the list? Then she called and left a similar message on my cell phone voicemail, though this one included a rant about how my wife had screamed at her when she called to resolve this.
I posted a follow-up to the list, explaining what had just happened and pointing out that this was not a good way to make me more tolerant or more inclined to be flexible. I also stated that the car would not be behind my house for a sixth month, whether K came to get it or I had the police tow it. I still gave no indication as to gender, identity, or list presence.
K called twice more, both times leaving messages on my cell phone during work hours. I really only use it for emergencies and travel, as most of my friends know. I had told K this many times, which is part of why I didn’t answer when she called me at work. She obviously knew the home number still, so she could call there instead.
Which she did, last Friday. And proceeded to rant at my wife again about how clearly we didn’t want to resolve this because she’d called and I had not called her back. Then she got all snarky about how she wanted to come and get the car but wouldn’t want to be accused of trespassing on our property. My wife told her to shut up for a minute so she could explain. Then she pointed out that I had been at work when the calls came in, and extremely busy to boot. She also explained that the driveway out back was a party driveway, and K could pick up her car without ever setting foot in our yard—as long as she did not create a disturbance there was no problem. K then screamed at my wife, demanding to know is she was going to stop yelling at her so she (K) could speak? My wife, wisely, hung up.
Yesterday my wife called to tell me that K was out back with some guy in a tow truck. They towed the car. K did not attempt to come inside. She also hadn’t called to say she would be on her way over, but that’s fine.
Last night K posted a reply to our posts on the mailing list. It was a very bitchy post, accusing us of being nasty and mean-spirited and of airing dirty laundry and of not actually trying to contact her. Despite claiming that this was “a friend” she was talking about, she made it blatantly obvious that she was the person in question. Something we had deliberately not done.
I wrote a long reply, pointing out her many errors and falsehoods. But, after conferring with a friend and with my wife, I decided not to post it. He pointed out that our posts had been very civil and reasonable. K was the one who had gone over the line, and I should just leave it at that. The car is gone, after all, and we no longer have to deal with it or with her.
Suits me fine. It’s a shame, since we had considered her a reasonably good friend until she got stranger last year. By the end of the mood my wife didn’t want anything to do with K for reasons completely separate from the car. Funny how people can change sometimes. Sad, too.
On the plus side, I have a driveway again. Or, rather, I have a driveway, since the car was there almost as long as we’ve been.


Post a Comment

<< Home