The avuncular driver from AAA who picked up my new Vespa for its second tow this week was so nice that my bitter sarcasm was totally lost on him. After I realized this, I stopped being such a bitch and tried to let him cheer me up.
“Oh, no no no — no crying allowed,” he said, visibly concerned. I tried not to. I really did. But as I sat in the front seat of the tow truck, watching my scooter in the rearview mirror bob and weave on the flat-bed as we lurched down Airport Way, the tears just overtook me.
“It’s my birthday,” I said sullenly. I was missing my class. I parked downtown to grab a bite before school and when I returned to my Vespa, it sat stony and silent on 6th Ave, unresponsive to key or ignition.
“Really?!” he cried, “It’s my fiancé’s birthday too! What a coincidence! Wow! That’s so great! A week after Valentine’s Day!” He was so nice. I felt bad crying in his truck. He told me animatedly that he had left his fiancé at Tulalip Casino at 10:30 that morning for her birthday, and eight hours later she was still there, having a blast, playing the slots.
I asked him what would happen if the scooter fell off the back of the truck, because I figured that was the next step in my obvious karmic disaster. “That would never happen,” he assured me. “I have VERY good truck karma.” Great, I said — maybe it will compensate for my previous life as a blood-sucking cockroach.
“Oh no, you have good karma. You broke down in a well-lit area of downtown, and that space opened up on the street right as I pulled up to park. You could have broken down on the side of the highway. That’s the worst thing ever. It could have been really late.”
He was right. But I’m not buying the half-full explanation easily these days.
He said, “Well okay, if it falls off the back of the truck, you have insurance, so you can just replace it with a new one! You could even get another color if the blue isn’t working out for you. Maybe the blue’s bad luck.”
“Maybe I should have gotten the yellow one.”
“Yes — lemon yellow! Lemon, wait — that might be a sensitive word right now. Sorry.”
He talked jovially the whole way. His joy in life, he said, came from helping others, so driving a tow truck was the perfect job for him. “If your friend isn’t there yet when I drop you off, I can take you someplace else — someplace safe.” Georgetown is sketchy during the day; at night, it’s downright frightening. He’s not supposed to provide taxi service, but he’s a nice guy, and he likes to bend the rules if it means helping a damsel in distress.
We arrive at Big People Scooters without incident, though I could have used a couple Valium. The shop is closed for the night and totally deserted. As we unloaded the scooter, my friend arrived to pick me up. The driver’s fiancé called to check in and update him on her winnings, and he handed me the phone so we could wish each other a happy birthday. I should have just hit the casino with her.
Today I returned to BPS to drop off the key. I had my fingers crossed when I pulled into the parking lot, hoping the Vespa would still be there. It was. I had hidden it behind a big electrical box against the building, and it was still safely stowed. Maybe my karma is making a comeback.
They said they’re going to keep it over the weekend (in cycle shop terms, this means “until Tuesday or Wednesday” since everybody is closed Sundays and Mondays here).
In order to stay sane, I need to recount the positives — I broke down in a safe place, I had a nice tow truck driver, I had many friends offering to pick me up, and I ate an enormous piece of German chocolate cake.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly praise AAA. I know I’ve said it before that it was the best $60 I ever spent, but I am SO serious. (It cost me $60 to add cycle coverage to my existing account; it’s a total of $119 per year.) My dad got me a membership when I turned 16, and I’ve kept it ever since. It’s the greatest invention ever.
Especially if you were a blood-sucking cockroach in a past life.