If I were to write a short novel about my first few months in Portland, it would have to be titled “Car Trouble.” Nothing else would do. Since moving to this city I have created a small dent in my door from an encounter with a pole in a parking garage I now deem “the terror dungeon”, I’ve gotten two parking tickets, and when I awoke this morning, I discovered my car was not where I’d parked it the night before.
I would like to take this moment to share that before this city I had a perfectly clean parking record, and still have an unblemished driving record. So if I ever offer you a ride somewhere you do not need to fear for your life. Just maybe don’t let me park your car in Portland for you, because there’s a good chance you might never see it again. I will not be applying for any valet jobs here soon.
Back to my missing car: Thankfully, I was able to discover that it hadn’t been stolen, but I had accidentally parked it in the wrong zone so they towed it. After the brief period of confusion and denial, I can’t deny I was upset when I discovered my car wasn’t where I’d left it, I mean who wouldn’t be? But the funny part is, now that I’ve located the lot it was taken to and figured out how to get it back, I feel this strange sense of satisfaction associated with accomplishment.
Now hear me out, because that statement on its own is fairly ridiculous. “You feel… satisfied that your car was towed?” No, not that my car was towed- that obviously sucks and I don’t want to pay to get it back, but I feel good about the way I handled myself in the situation.
A month ago I would have cried. Probably a lot. I would have panicked and put off calling before I had read several websites to figure out who to call and how to handle these situations, and then I would have rehearsed what I was going to say over the phone when I finally did call. I would have let it ruin my entire day, and maybe even a few days after that.
But this morning I picked up my phone, googled something like “how to locate my towed car in Portland”, was directed to the city’s police and impound site, called the listed number, calmly explained my situation to the man who answered and he was able to track it down and give me the info of the towing company, which I called immediately after and figured out what I needed to do to get my car back. And I don’t feel like my day has been ruined. I called home with the update, took a walk in the sun, and am now borrowing Starbucks’ wifi to share the experience with you, before I work on some other projects while enjoying a cup of coffee.
And then beyond an excitement for stepping up and acting like a reasonable adult, to realize I am in a place where I can take this as something to learn from and move on with a positive mindset feels pretty darn good.
I would not have been able to do this a month ago. At least, not in this levelheaded and adult way. Things have a funny way of becoming known to you, but this situation has shown me how much I’ve grown in the past month. I might not have been able to recognize these changes in myself and feel proud about them without this little misadventure. While it might have been nicer to discover this new confidence in way that didn’t involve a tow truck, I have to admit, I’m grateful for this takeaway.