Tow the Line

I finally reached my limit and towed someone illegally parked in my driveway.

I’d been away for a few days and upon return found a Chevy van parked in my driveway. We were in Mr. Darcy’s car which means my car was in the driveway, pulled up enough for a car to fit behind me. The only car allowed to park behind me is Mr. Darcy’s. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this crystal clear to all of my tenants since I gave everyone a strongly worded letter months back and have made a point of telling every new tenant that unless they clear it with me, they nor their guests are ever to park in my spot.

I didn’t recognize the car. I was tired from traveling. It was well past 10pm. I don’t need to have a list of excuses to justify why I was pissed off. It’s my driveway. I earn that parking space. I’ve had it with people ignoring the tow sign.

I called the tenants that were moving out that weekend to check.  No answer to my call, my text or my knock at the door. So I called the tow company and within 30 minutes, the car was gone.

I was so worked up over the ordeal that I forced myself to take a hot shower. Luckily I am blessed with a wonderful boyfriend who doesn’t mind staying up late letting me vent, who is endlessly supportive and calm. It was in the midst of my attempt to de-stress that the tenants moving out contacted me.

Yes. That was their car I just towed.

I had told them they could park behind me while I was gone but I am very certain I told them I would be home Sunday. Clearly they missed that part of the email. The people pleaser in me still feels guilty. I did say they could park there. But I also did say I was going to return on Sunday evening. I did try to get a hold of them in three different ways. They did not answer. It makes me sad because I like them. They were my favorite tenants. To have it end on such a sour note just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And let’s be real, I don’t like having people not like me.

I felt so much anxiety leading up to the walk through of their apartment the next day. I didn’t want to over-apologize despite feeling bad about the situation. I started off by saying I was sorry about the situation and that I felt bad that their car was towed. They just sort of looked at me and didn’t say anything. Not about the miscommunication or about their fault in it. Nothing. I took that to mean that they blame me. Maybe they feel sheepish. Who the hell knows. I keep expecting more out of people than they are capable of delivering and it’s exhausting.

But it’s over. They live elsewhere and I will, I’m certain, have other, possibly worse situations to face. It’s all just steps in the journey towards not personalizing everything, standing up for myself, and not over-caretaking the entire world.


“Living is a conversation with no end, a dance with no steps, a song with no words, a reason too big for any mind.” – Mark Nepo


35 thoughts on “Tow the Line

  1. You did a nice thing allowing them to park in your space while you were gone but you were also clear about when you would be back. It is unfortunate that the car ended up belonging to them but you didn’t step outside your agreement; they did. I’m so sorry you have to feel crummy about this and I totally empathize with you. I’m proud of you for not over-apologizing to them because you really did not do anything wrong. Parking is impossible in certain areas of our city and if you have a designated space, then you should be able to park there. I hope you feel better about things soon. I think you are lovely and promise never to park in someone else’s spot without permission. 🙂

  2. “It’s all just steps in the journey towards not personalizing everything, standing up for myself, and not over-caretaking the entire world.” – – that’s awesome, lady!

  3. You, me and every one (and hopefully the tenants by now) know you did the right thing. If I knew you were coming back that evening I would think 5 pm as the latest I could park there. It was after 10 as you stated and you tried to contact them so it’s their fault for being towed.

    Yes it is unfortunate that it happened and just sad that they did not take ownership of their responsibility in the car being in that spot at that time. They easily could have kept an eye out for a space on the street to open up during the day/evening and moved the van.

  4. Ugh, I’d feel bad about it too but you’re right, they had a hand in the whole thing and in the long run it doesn’t matter. Just tell yourself they were feeling sheepish and try to forget about it. Ugh. Sorry it had to happen that way, though.

  5. I have to say, as someone who has moved more than her fair share of times, they should have known better. Granted I could understand feeling a bit bad about it, but considering they made no effort to take any responsibility (you said you’d be back Sunday, and you tried to contact them), the blame really lays on them. It is your spot, and you were doing them a big favor; they should have been equally conscientious in making sure they did not overstay the welcome with their car.

  6. Sizzle, don’t feel bad! You have made it super clear people aren’t to park there when you’re home. You tried to contact them in 3 different ways. You went WAY out of your way, more than anyone else would’ve done. They should’nt blame you. You’re totally in the right!

  7. Sometimes you have to lower or change your expectations of people too. When you do this, you will either be a) not surprised when things do not go the way you planned or b) pleasantly surprised that things went better than you hoped.

    That said – I would not have parked in that spot after say 5 or 6pm if you told me you were coming home Sunday night. But then, it’s me we’re talking about now and I am pretty awesome. (see how I did that? I made it about me… that’s unexpected, no?)

  8. I know it’s easier said than done, but try not to feel guilty about it. You made it perfectly clear to them when you would be home, and you tried to get in touch with them every way you could to no avail. Obviously it’s not the most ideal situation, but it also wasn’t very respectful of them to push their limits and remaining in your spot so late. You responded to the situation based on clear rules that have been set.

  9. I would feel the same way, as I often do, when I give student’s F’s or have to call their parents because they broke a rule, etc. It feels bad to hold people to standards but you told them when you’d return and the truth is that they need to own the fact that they didn’t follow the rule. I think you did the right thing. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

  10. Bummer. I totally think you were justified in towing them – especially based on the time of day!

    The whole situation got me thinking about how it could easily happen again because you seem like the kind of person (a considerate person) who wouldn’t want to say no when it’s an exception to the rule. So that made me think what could make it work better for next time for you AND them?

    Could you make a laminated rear view mirror hanger that says “SIZZLE SAID SO!” and you give it to the tenant to hang while they are using your spot. That way when you see it, maybe even if it’s at 10pm and they have not been considerate (because a lot of people aren’t) at least you won’t tow them, but then you have every right to address the situation at the walk through? And if they neglect to hang it after you’ve given them fair warning that if you don’t see it, you will tow them, then they have no one to blame but themselves? I don’t know … just a thought. Might be more work than you’d like, but I bet it might avoid all those yucky feelings.

    It doesn’t negate the fact that the whole situation is crummy, but you totally need to let yourself off the hook on this one 🙂

  11. These things happen. You did try to contact them. I understand why you feel the way you do. I too would feel the same. But they were at fault so……

    Did you have a good weekend?

  12. Shrug it off, Sizz! You went out of your way to be nice in that situation. Not only did you let them use your spot while you were away, but you told them when you were returning (and hello, I’m pretty sure 10PM on a Sunday night is well into Sunday!) and you even tried to contact them. If they’re mad, they should be mad at themselves. If they’re good people, I’m sure they questioned how long they should be in that space to begin with. It’s not your fault. And maybe, just maybe, some other tenants saw the van being towed and take it as a sign you’re serious. You’re not the bad guy – don’t let this one stupid event sour what had to be a wonderful weekend! =)

  13. You did good by them as long as they lived there. They did not pay attention to your parameters. They did not follow your guidelines. And you will probably never see them again.

    You did ok.


  14. Personally, I think that even if you have permission, if you’re parked behind someone’s car so that they can’t get out, you need to make sure the owner of the car can reach you if needed.

    There’s being nice, and then there’s being a doormat. Yay for not being a doormat.

  15. It is so frustrating when people won’t take even a little bit of responsibility. I can imagine it is doubly hard when you have to live next door to them. But at least these particular people are gone.

  16. I know you probably don’t need someone else chiming in to say you did the right thing, but (maybe you do! and) you really did. I’m sorry they reacted poorly, but they should have paid attention, and just like others have said, it was nice of you to let them use the space in the first place. My number one pet peeve about work (or any kind of) email is that sometimes people don’t really read it, and I just don’t get that.

  17. I can see why they’d be pissed (moving sucks and having your car towed on top of moving? really sucks) but they need to take some responsibility. You did them a favour and they took advantage of your kindness. They gambled and lost. It’s not your fault.

  18. Welcome back, you have been missed! Sorry about the car thing but give people and inch and they have the tendancy to take a mile.

  19. I am exactly the same: I hate knowing people are mad at me. It gets me stupidly highly anxious. Even over small things. I would really love to get rid of that feeling :/

  20. it is definitely not your fault that they didn’t answer any of the ways you tried to reach them or they fact that they missed the part where you said you’d be back by sunday, i would have done the same thing!

  21. I have a hunch the first tow is the worst.

    You did your due diligence and shouldn’t feel bad about it. I bet the next one will not be fraught with guilt, but rather will glide right by with righteous indignation. I wanna hear about that one, too.

    PS thanks for the kind words about the Carriage House. It was fun and I’m still tinkering.

  22. I, too, loved this part: “It’s all just steps in the journey towards not personalizing everything, standing up for myself, and not over-caretaking the entire world.”

    So smart. You’re on your way.

  23. Honestly, I’ve finally come to realize that over-personalizing is pointless! At the end of the day – other peoples’ issues are 9.9 times out of 10 not really about us. It’s their deal, not yours.

  24. I would feel bad too. But it sounds like they didn’t listen AND they didn’t answer the phone so I hoped they learned their lesson!

  25. You were completely justified in what you did but I know exactly how you must have felt. I would have felt the same way. It is HARD to let other people receive the consequences of their actions when we have/had the power to make it all better. BUT it is NOT your fault. Everyone likes to have someone to blame so nothing is their fault so I’m sure that is why they acted the way they did when they saw you. I know exactly how that must have made you feel.

    I am so happy you have an amazing guy who listens and lets you vent when you are upset.

  26. they knew the rules and they chose to use your generosity to the hilt.

    i say this as i have been overdrawn at the bank in abuse from my niceness lately.

  27. Totally would have felt the same way you did. You were nice, let them park in your parking place, they didn’t pay attention to the details. It was absolutely their fault. I would have felt bad too, but it was their bad. And now they are gone, so even if they were awesome tentants, they aren’t really in your life anymore… But I totally feel ya… And besides you are awesome.

Comments are closed.