What a racket

| dbrennan@queenscourier.com |

In life the great dreads, it is said, are death and taxes. Add to that a trip to the NYPD pound.

This week, I got out of work and noticed my car was not where I parked it. This of course leaves two options: it was either stolen or towed. Given the proximity of the two NYPD traffic trucks, I figured my car had gotten the hook.

I got a lift to the pound on the West Side of Manhattan, but when my ride decided to wait outside (and make sure they indeed had my car), we were quickly told, “No parking here, you gotta move!” Interesting, no parking at the car pound. What do people do, walk in?

The pound is brightly lit, at least in the office where they take your cash. There is that moment when you are oddly appreciative that they do indeed have your car. It’s always better to know it was legally stolen!

After giving my license, I was told, “Have a seat.” That phrase is almost never a good one. It usually means “we have no idea how long this is going to take, and it will probably take forever, so sit down and don’t bother us.”

I assumed the position. It’s always funny to watch the way people react to their plight. One woman walked in and informed the desk officer, “My car has been towed.” When she got no response, she kept repeating this. I wondered: do they think you’re there for something else?

Another family told me they were tourists from Eastern Europe. They thought it was fun, just part of the New York City tour. I told them they should be happy, because all New Yorkers do this at least once. I wondered where they had picked up a driver’s license in the last few days. Turns out one person in the crowd was a local family member.

Finally I was “called” by a loud speaker that had all the clarity of the old fashioned subway announcement system. The person sitting next to me said, “Are you ‘Bremremremnanrem?’” Close enough.

Then came the stickup: $185. I was delighted to help close the city’s deficit.

I was told to walk down a hallway to get my car. Instead I met another desk officer, who directed me to “the van that will take you to your car.” No kidding? Just like Disneyworld!

And indeed an NYPD traffic van was awaiting me, with two people inside. I asked the guys what the average customer’s mood was like by the time they got to the van. “Aggressive, obnoxious, you know what I mean?” one said.

The van dropped me off, and then I got the punch line to the evening, or more like, the punch in the gut. There was a ticket on my car, for $115, presumably put there seconds before they towed it.

What a nice haul for the city. $185 plus $115.

I drove to the gate. Another officer checked my paperwork. He waved me through. At least he didn’t say, “have a nice day.”