Monday, March 10, 2008

Jackpot … Not

I had a feeling Sunday morning about the Sanctuary, and I went out early—ten-fifteen, on the first day of daylight savings time, so it was really nine-fifteen—to see if I could find a better place for the week. I walked by way of the 7:30-8 block where I have often had good luck. What a bonanza! There were five free places. I hustled to my car, two blocks away. The cars on both side of it were different. And my car had a shattered rear vent window on the driver’s side, damn it. Someone had broken in, pulled out the ashtray and spilled the contents of the glove compartment. They didn’t take the chair in the back seat—the little Italian chair that still hasn’t made it to the caner—and miraculously they didn’t find my new CD player with its nifty adapters, or the cache of CDs, under the comforter artlessly flung on the back seat and covering the floor. Small triumph.

So I drove around the block back to what I used to call K Street, because my friend K lives on it. (I stopped calling it that because I’ve been mad at K. The truth is that he is not a good enough friend to take an interest in the car of a friend who parks regularly on his street. And he plays the ukulele.) The last time my car got broken into, a year ago Halloween, it happened on this block. I took the first free spot, just past the Muni Meter, but noticed that the alternate-side sign is gone (an ominous development). I did a shoddy job of taping an old plastic bag—two old plastic bags, one black and one clear—over the window with packing tape. I fully intended to leave it just like that, and go about my business, which was to take a walk down by the river. But now I had a pit in my stomach the size of a bowling ball: this is anger. Grrrr. It’s not hunger—I know because I had just eaten a hot bowl of oatmeal. Grrrr. It is the urge to kill tangled up with the urge to eat. Grrrr.

So I carried the Italian chair and my petite sound system and CDs back home, and returned to the car with a pair of scissors and a cardboard box top that I’d painted with the ravishing blue of my bedroom, for the long-winded purpose of taking with me if I should go visit a friend who has offered to make curtains, or maybe a bedspread, or pillow covers, for my bedroom. Luckily, I had recently bought a fresh roll of duct tape. I put a patch on from the inside, using half the cardboard, then I went around and peeled off the temporary plastic-bag patch. It was too shabby even for me. I’d found another clear plastic bag in the car, and I covered the other half of the box top with that and taped it over the window from the outside. I did not clean up the glass.

This has got me so pissed off. I am going to Rockaway this weekend, to get my sideview mirror fixed, and now, instead of taking the job to the mechanic, I will ask the guys at Far Rockaway Auto Glass to attach the mirror, too. This sounds very familiar. Lent seems to require a trip to Far Rockaway Auto Glass. Usually I take a break from the alternate-side-parking routine in winter, and now I have the definite sensation of having stayed too long.

But what a dazzling day. I went for my deferred walk, although as I was not feeling peaceful and serene it was more of a forced march. I couldn’t resist going by way of the Sanctuary, and there, right smack dab in the middle, like bitter gall, was the sweetest parking spot you've ever seen. In my thrill over hitting the jackpot on K Street, I had forgotten to check out the Sanctuary, where the Éclair would have been much safer. Where she is, a homeless person would be crazy not to sleep in her. I did take the comforter out of the back seat and stash it in the trunk, to make it less inviting. While I was feeling sorry for myself, waiting for the light to change, I turned around and noticed a little red car whose whole front end was held together by peeling duct tape. She was much worse off than the Éclair.

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