If only chop shops were this cool.
Sometimes I have to take a Lyft to work because I share my car with my significant other, D. He had a car when he moved to LA, but it died. The next car developed clutch issues that he couldn’t fix right away, and it hardly would have mattered if he could; some neighborhood kids broke the windows in. Instead of getting it towed to our friend’s house out in East LA where street sweeping didn’t exist – like I had asked several times – he opted to leave it on the street. He’d move it on sweeping days by putting it into neutral and pushing it to the opposite side of the street.
I feigned shock when someone eventually stole it. The truth is I was surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Our upstairs neighbor saw someone exchange some papers with a tow truck driver.
“Jeff’s Towing,” he said, “That was what the truck said. I thought it was weird that you weren’t the one selling the car, but then again, it didn’t seem too out of the question.”
We filed a police report and even told them the name of the company that took the car, but D ended up locating the car the next day: Jeff’s Towing was a chop shop in Bellflower. All of the addresses for Jeff’s towing looked like private residences on Google Maps. D called the number and asked it the ’99 Audi A4 was there and, sure enough, it was.
D went to the LAPD where we filed the original report.
“Oh, that’s way out of our jurisdiction. You’ve gotta go talk to the police in Bellflower,” they said.
The police in Bellflower said,
“You can’t file a report here. You already filed one somewhere else.”
“But I found the car. It’s in a chop shop in Bellflower.”
“Ah. How do you know it’s yours?”
“Because I called and asked and it still has my plates on it. These people took it without papers or documents of any kind.”
“You need to tell them to give it back to you, then.”
“But they STOLE it. Shouldn’t you come with me?”
“Nah, you try to get it first.”
So D went to the chop shop. That exchange when like this:
“Hey, you stole my car and I want it back.”
“LOL you sold it to us.”
“Show me the proof that I did.”
“You’ve gotta bring a cop back here with you if you’re going to talk like that.”
So he went back to the police.
“They said they won’t talk to me unless I have a cop there. You need to come with me.”
This is the part where I imagine a giant eye roll and a sigh.
So D and the cop go to the chop shop yard. The “proof” that D had sold them the car was a laughable piece of scratch paper with four numbers and a scribble on it. The numbers were supposed to be a drivers license number and the scribble was supposed to be a signature.
“See? It’s obviously made up. This dude stole my car.”
“Eh,” said the policeman, “It’s a matter of he-said/she-said.”
I had already told D that the chop shop was most likely a gang or drug related operation and to be wary of the police. When he told me about the policeman’s overall ambivalence toward the situation, I knew I was right.
In the end the chop shop owner pushed D’s car into the road, further damaging the side by making sure it ran into the metal gate on the way out, tearing into the door.
The car was totaled and he sold it to a junker a week later. He still feels legitimate sadness whenever he sees an A4 out in the wild.
Without the means to obtain another vehicle, he was at the mercy of me and my car. Murphey’s law, however, states that whatever can happen will happen – and soon enough my grandma’s Buick gave out and I found myself of being the only one with a good enough credit score to finance a car. I ended up getting a hatchback like I had always wanted, and I knew that I would have to share it with D if we stayed together. I told him he could drive it when he needed to, but that I expected him to help with payments and insurance.
“If anything happens to my car and it’s your fault, I will break up you. Do you understand?”
I have repeated this to him on a couple of occasions. The words “Drive safe” have all but replaced “I love you” in my vocabulary.
Sharing a car is a big deal for me. I have accepted the fact that I don’t really do relationships like a normal person. I do not understand people who are fiercely devoted to their relationships or significant others like a fierce mama bear ready to kill. The last time I was that fiercely into a significant other was my junior year high school. I remember being in love sometime before I moved to LA, but even then I was always open to a way out. The “ride or die” mentality is all but lost on me.
“Jas, what is an ideal couple to you?”
“DWIGHT AND JIM.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“CLAIRE AND FRANK UNDERWOOD.”
I have purposely avoided or left good and well meaning partners because I thought,
“This person is entirely too nice to be with me,” or, “This person is way more into the idea of living as a unit than I am,” or, “Damn, this person is gonna want a baby some day and I ain’t about that.”
I realize that certain experiences have programmed my brain to be wary of commitment and sharing my life with another person. Perhaps this is why I gave D an ultimatum of “Start generating an income or my car and I will leave you,” instead of simply dipping out. I have a rich history of dipping out. I feel like I should try to overcome that.
Sharing my car is perhaps a step in that direction.
This was all a roundabout way of saying that sometimes I have to take a Lyft to work.