While I was house and pet sitting for C. in Austin in December of 2012, there was some excitement with my van.
When I got home from Christmas supper, there was nowhere to park the van on the block where I was staying while house sitting, so I parked it around the corner. I didn’t drive the next day, so I just left it where it was, hoping that when I did drive it again, I would be able to park closer to the house when I returned.
Around three o’clock in the afternoon on the second day after Christmas, I decided to go out, drive to the post office and then the auto parts store to get some oil for Old Betsy (the van) who burns up the stuff fairly quickly.
When I turned the corner, I didn’t see the van, but I thought I would see it as I got closer. I got closer, but no van. Then I realized it was gone. Finding the van gone is one of my biggest fears. Not only will I lose my home if I lose my van, I’ll lose all my stuff too. I started panicking. Where did it go?
I started looking for no parking signs, but there were none. I started knocking on doors, wondering if there was some parking code the people in the neighborhood knew about. Did someone call and have the van towed because it had been parked on their block for a day and a half? Maybe at least someone would know how to find the van if it had been towed. But no one answered the doors.
I saw a woman turn and walk down a nearby alley and started running after her, yelling, “Excuse me.” She didn’t live in the neighborhood, just came over to walk, so she had no idea about the parking situation, but she agreed with me that if I were in a no parking zone (or a no parking on Wednesday zone) there should be a sign.
Right about then, I looked at the street and realized the edge of the road had been torn up in preparation for some kind of road repair. Then I remembered vaguely that this morning when I was walking the dog and we turned the opposite way down the alley, I had heard a bunch of noise, as if some sort of road construction (destruction) was going on.
I looked down the street and way at the other end I saw some heavy machinery. I started walking briskly (half running, really) toward a city streets truck. When I got to the truck and started frantically explaining I thought my van had been towed, the driver man was very nice. He said, “You walked all the way from Tom Green?” (That’s the name of the street I was staying on.) He said it as if I had walked six miles, but i couldn’t have gone more than six blocks. He offered to drive me back. I was trying to make him understand that my van was GONE, but then I realized he was telling me it was just moved. Not impounded. Just moved. Maybe just around the block. He asked me if I had looked for it on Tom Green. I hadn’t, but I assured him that if it had just been moved, if it had not been impounded, I would find it. “You saved my life!” I told him. I had been imagining impound fees, tow fees, being hundreds of dollars in debt to the city of Austin. But thankfully, no, it had just been moved and was parked on Tom Green, one block from where I was staying.
Betsy had herself an adventure.