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In the auto impound most people come in by 5 o’clock. They ‘notice’ that their car is gone or they need a few hours to come up with the skrill (cash only) but in those few hours or days before we take real possession of your vehicle there is a gray area, a kind of Shroedinger’s moment where the car is neither yours nor mine to claim.

You have 30 days to claim your car. It says so right on the slip.

On day 31 we bring in the wrecking crew, the jaws of life, but only to open the car and/or the trunk. We, me and my brother Tom, have found some really cherce stuff.

1) Some people toss their used condoms on the floor of the backseat. I guess when they’re done they’re, like, super done. I always thought it would be fun to stuff them all into the glove compartment in case they come back but now I just use an industrial wet/dry vac to pick them up.

2) The longer it takes people to reclaim their car, the sadder they get as if, in the course of less than a month, they have not only internalized but actualized Karen Horneye’s Stages of Grief. In the first week they’re virulently pissed off, at me. Coupla days later they are disbelieving. Some are puzzled, others apologetic. By day 28, thought, its just another crevice in the anus that is currently their life.
I used to say that “it sucked to be them”. I said it sympathetically and authentically but it still rubbed them the wrong way.

3) And this is probably the most important one – you don’t own anything in this life, you don’t own your body, you don’t own your car, you’re many, many paychecks away from owning your condo. Sooner or later, its all going to be impounded. This is one of life’s harshest lessons and a lot of people don’t have to know it while they are still alive.

But when you get your car towed, you know it.

There could be a certain lightness for people, for all of us, in this simple procedure. We could acknowledge between us that the transfer of cars between me and you is emblematic of the whole enchilada, of life itself.

We could fall into one another’s arms in happy/sad weeping, grateful to have a person to exchange nonfungible objects with.

Sadly, we do not. We want our stuff back and we will pay whatever we can get our hands on to get it.


Laura — I thoroughly enjoyed this original piece. Who would think to write about cars being impounded? Answer: you.
Jackie, a member of your fan club.

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