Friday, February 25, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Orifice has been found!

My menopausal, 107,000 mile silver chromed Honda Civic, the car which recently cost $3,000 dollars worth of repairs has been found!

At this point I should probably thank God or something, but if God was responsible for me getting my car back, God also had to be responsible for sending a thief to steal my car. No, I'm chalking this up to dumb, Irish luck, the kind that gets you into trouble but also gets you out.

True, I'm not Irish, but there is no such thing as Jewish luck.

Turns out the thieves drove the car three blocks away and parked it at a more secluded parking complex to rip out the radio and rustle through my belongings. The police arrive at my doorstep to inform me of the good news; when the landlord of the other apartment building called the police to inform that my car was parked illegally and needed to be towed, they ran the plates and noted that it had been stolen.

"We tried calling you but you didn't answer your phone," the officer says in a monotone voice. (I was cleaning up a spill of fruit juice in the kitchen.) "You're lucky we stopped by your apartment, otherwise we would have impounded the car."

"Well, I'm glad you did!" I exclaim brightly.

The police offer to give me a ride in their squad car. The back seat of the squad car has no cushions, just hardened black, uncomfortable plastic with a bullet proof shield between me and the police sitting in front. Probably a lot easier to wipe up blood and vomit when you don't have upholstery to worry about.

We get Orifice and she appears to be in good shape, all except for the triangular shaped rear window on the passenger side, broken into a thousand tiny pieces; held in place by a thick, viscous black tape.

"What's the tape for?"

"It muffles the sound of the breaking of the window. It also prevents glass from scattering everywhere," the officer replies.

I open up the car door to find all of my change (approximately $4.50) my radio and my cell phone charger gone. A pirate hat lies in the passenger seat, along with a copy of Kavalier and Clay I've borrowed from Phil. I rifle through some papers scattered on the floor and find a Barnes and Noble's gift card I had forgotten in the glove compartment for $20.

Thieves never steal books; trust me on this. If you ever want to thief "proof" your house, just put all your valuables in books. Better yet, line books around the walls, they'll form an educational barrier of spiritual energy that no thief will dare to cross. A gift card from Target or Wal-Mart would have been snatched in a second, but a card from Barnes and Noble in ghetto world is foreign currency - worthless.

The police check my ID. "Sir, did you let anyone borrow your keys?"


"Well, we found a key in the ignition." The officer hands me my valet key, the one I had forgotten I had left in the car. "Were these in your glove compartment?"

I don't answer. Maybe? I feel stupid as a strange feeling creeps over me, unable to look the police in the eye. What is this strange sense of humiliation, I wonder? Oh that's right, I remember this sensations now, embarrassment! Not an emotion I'm accustomed to.

"Sir, you shouldn't leave your keys in the car," the officer drones on. "When you do that, you make it easy for people to steal your car." His partner smirks, but the subtext is clear.

Why are you being such a dumb ass?

They inform me I can drive the car home, but I should wait an hour before going on the road just to make sure the license plates have been taken out of the police system, otherwise I might get pulled over because another cop might think I've stolen the car.

I thank them and drive the car home. I call work to tell them the good news. Let slip about the keys - they crack up.

Hardy, har, har. Laugh it up, Parrish.

I call a mobile window repair shop. They come out a few hours later and replace the broken window in about a half hour. I marvel at the economic efficiency of it; in the span of a day I've had my car stolen, re-discovered through a computerized system, and repaired by a mechanic from a shop which specializes in fixing broken windows by driving out to peoples homes.

Car theft in LA isn't just a crime.

It's an economy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


My car has been stolen.

The silver colored Honda Civic, the chrome coated "Orifice" on wheels, my 107,000 mile menopausal vehicle that has just cost me $3000 in repairs, is gone. Vanished into the ether, disappeared into the urban void, in a single night transformed from my single most valuable possession into a few tiny particles of broken glass left behind from a broken window. Mr. Leiken presents his magnificent, magical, mysterious teleporting car; WATCH him effortlessly make it vanish..... only if he knew where it had been "vanished" too.

I've mentioned how much I dislike cars, my sneering tolerance held in check by the apprehension of having to live without one. Like a doomed victim in a horror movie, I live under a geas, an automobile curse that torments me from the moment I purchase a vehicle through a series of endless repairs, costly upkeep, fender bender accidents and petty tickets; a bottomless pit of angst that ends in an orgasmic crescendo of horror the moment I discover my car is GONE.

When you have a car stolen it takes a moment for the facts of the situation to fit in; like a computer warming up it takes several seconds for the brain to register the empirical data presented before it, for the facts to become reality. Here's the sequence:

1. SURPRISE - Where is my car? I know I parked it here.
2. DENIAL - Someone must have moved it. I know it can't be STOLEN.
3. ANGER - Some Mutherf---r just took my car!
4. RAGE - I'm going to kill that Mutherf----r who took my car!
5. WHINING - This is so unfair!!!
6. BITTERNESS - I hate the world and all the lucky fools who still have their cars.
7. ACCEPTANCE - Time to write a blog about it.

I've gotten semi-accustomed to having my car being broken into and stolen over the years, possess an immune system toughened through a series of vehicular fiascos that enables me to process the emotional aspects expediently. I file a police report, call my insurance, walk out onto the street just to make sure the thief didn't take the car on a joy ride and leave it parked nearby.


Not much I can do now, just have to suck this up and move on. The police officer informs me that a Honda Civic was stolen yesterday not more than a mile from where I live, that Honda's are the most widely stolen car in America.

Thanks for that, Chief.

He's right though, as great as they are, Honda's are a magnet for thieves, I can't afford to drive one because inevitably one day you won't have one to drive. What do I drive next? Do I buy a clunker and drive it until dies, or do I go to a dealership that's offering a low interest rate and no money down? Should I just forgo thinking about owning a car and lease? Perhaps I can work out a deal with a student and buy a car from one of their parents, almost every kid at my school has at least a parent or uncle who is a mechanic.

Except they all drive Hondas.

Perhaps I should just hoof it and try to take the bus...

No, not really an option. Not in LA. Not unless you want to completely give up your lifestyle and freedom.

Just because the horror movie ends, doesn't mean that you can't have a sequel - have to keep the franchise going. If my cars were horror movies they would have been titled:

It looked like a good car, it was boon - a gift from father to son. Little did they know what lurked beneath the engine.

It was supposed to be a casual tow for a parking violation - but it ended in a total loss.

It was the car that was driven a thousand miles through Mexico and back without the protection of Mexican auto insurance. But the car Christened in Mexico was no match for the daily horror's of LA.

Lavished with money in upkeep and repairs, it was the car that was supposed to last, until one day it just simply disappeared.

And currently in development...

CAR FIVE (working title)
The story of a man who had suffered through a lifetime of bad relationships with his vehicles as he seeks a new vehicle.

My car was stolen.

I'm going to kill that MUTHERF----R!!!