I was having a really great evening. It was a balmy 75 degrees in Austin. I had just eaten at the great new restaurant Backspace with fellow Librarian Lifestyle contributors April Kessler and Jenifer Flaxbart, and we consumed a fabulous meal of roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta, squash with pumpkin-seed pesto, and Neopolitan-style pizza.
April and I had driven together and as we neared the spot on 6th St. (Austin’s notorious entertainment district) where my car should have been, I slowly realized that all the cars that were parked there, including mine, were gone! Sure enough, I had missed the tiny flyer taped to the pole that said “no parking between 6pm and 4am on March 31 and April 1.”
(Photo taken the next day of the offending sign. Given Austin’s music culture, don’t you think it looks more like a flyer for a band?)
So began a new adventure.
Being a librarian
(who has had her car towed before), I knew just who to call to find my car. 311. After giving them the location, make, model and color of my car, they told me where a car like mine was and gave me the phone number for the towing company who had my car. They couldn’t confirm that it was my car, since I didn’t know my VIN number or license plate number. (Note to self, memorize your license plate number.)
I called the towing company and was told by a friendly voice that if I brought a photo ID and $171.69 to the lot, I could get my car back. (The requirements about what you need to bring to retrieve your car vary depending on the tow truck company, so I strongly advise checking in advance before you drive out to the lot. In some instances you may have to bring your car title and cash.)
Of course, my phone was about to die and April had forgotten her phone, but luckily I had just enough battery power to call April’s husband and ask him to pick us up. Because of some large crowds on 6th St., we had to walk several blocks to find a place that he could drive to.
We were then whisked off to Southside Towing which was about 30 minutes away from downtown. After presenting my driver’s license and paying the fee (they took cash or credit card), I was driven around the parking lot in a golf cart until I finally located my car. Then, I was free to drive away.
I suspect that my car was traumatized by the experience, since two days later it wouldn’t start and I got stranded at a gas station on my way to work. Maybe it’s time to get that Fiat 500 that I’ve been dreaming of.
Has your car been towed? What was your experience like?
Written by Karen Holt, Founder of Librarian Lifestyle.