13 July 2009

more adventures of car

I travelled to meet Sasha a month ago today.

I've been meaning to post my latest car adventure for you car fans, but...

I left home to go and meet Sasha a month ago today.

When I came back from meeting her, it was late Friday night. The next day was Scarlet Sails (go look in FAQ on the left if you missed what that was). I knew that cars on my street would be towed, so, I called my principal to arrange to meet up and get my car keys. I'd left them with him so that he could rescue my car if need be. (Foreshadowing or irony?)

I passed my car on the way to his apartment. The street was clearing, but by no means clear. The tow truck was nowhere in sight. By the time I'd walked the block to his apartment, chatted a bit about my trip, heard about the end of school, and walked back...yes, faithful readers, my car was gone.

I wasn't really fussed. I mean, this is par for the course, right? I'd find it.

Well, I didn't. I looked on Sunday in ever-increasing spirals, checking all the places it's been taken before. Nothing.

But, I still wasn't fussed. I knew there was a database on a website somewhere that the secretary at school could access.

So, Monday morning, I walked into school. We joked about my missing car and she started looking online. And making phone calls. Several phone calls. And no one knew where my car was. It wasn't logged as being towed.

We called the consulate. Shortly there was news--my car had been towed and left not far from the consulate. It seemed an odd choice...crossing some busy streets, but within the realm of possibility given my red plates. Oh, and given that this is Russia.

I walked to the metro and rode over to that neck of the woods. I walked up. And down. And around. And up and down again. And again. I was in the background of so many of one couple's wedding photos (The registry office is down the street from the consulate. You're bound to hear shouts of "Bitter!" as the guests encourage the couple to kiss--and make life sweeter--whenever you're nearby.) as I scoured the area. I'd been told that a consulate employee had spotted my car.

I called the consulate and told my friend in the motorpool that my car wasn't there. He was a bit flustered and went to find out what happened. Well, we found out at about the same time. I found a car with a similar license number (one letter different) parked on that street. It was little. And white. Sigh.

So, I walked and metro-ed back to school. The consulate encouraged us to report the car stolen. The school employees wondered if it would be better to wait to see if it turned up (because I would need one of them to go with me to handle the police department). We decided to go that day. I was actually quite curious to see what it was like. And, if my car was stolen, was looking forward to buying a newer, smaller one with the insurance money.

The police station was a tiny little hole-in-the-wall, hidden in a courtyard. We rang the bell and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally they buzzed us in. And we waited. It was just a tiny room, with the damp smell of an old basement and a table with two chairs in the corner. The desk officer was behind a plexiglass partition, dropped down a few steps.

Mostly, we waited. We waited until they would hear our business. (They knew who I was so I suspect the consulate had called.) We waited until an officer came to talk to us. We waited while he sent people out to patrol for my car. We waited for over an hour. People came in--two homeless men, three women who lived up to the bad stereotype of "Gypsies" that St. P has, two young men who seemed to be considering a career in...law enforcement (for lack of a better term)--and were taken to a back room. Officers came and sat at the table and filled out reports (about the homeless men). Other officers came and went, their guns (not handguns or pistols, but guns) apparent. And it was apparent their young owners were quite fond of them. There were wanted posters on the wall--some for runaways.

Then, the first officer (who my companion said was now resigned to actually doing some work) came and took us on patrol. Deciding that his car was too small, we took ours. Then, we just drove around the city looking for my car. WE could've done that! Well, we could've if my companion that day had been willing to do that. So, actually, it was a good thing the officer initiated this ridealong.

We were having a hard time finding my car and started debating whether we should do the paperwork (ah, that was the hesitation!) to report it stolen. The argument against that was if the car turned up, I'd be unable to drive it for months as undoing the paperwork would be difficult. Before we had to make the decision, CAR! We found it parked near the circus.

So there you go. Not much charm in this retelling. Not much emotional investment. I think they're all invested elsewhere at the mo. But it was an experience nonetheless.


jen.weber said...

I really take it for granted that my car will be where I left it. How frustrating!! Love, Nif

Jim said...

Wow. How far away is the circus from your apartment?

june said...

ahh finally the car story. :) I am relieved that it didn't end with you declaring it stolen, and then returning home to find it parked outside your front door. Cause it seems like that could happen, really.

Debbie said...

oh man - the key word in this story being "waited"? Is that Russia's slogan ??? :)

Annie said...

It was a GREAT, wonderful re-telling! I loved it! It was just the sort of distracting treat I like! A mystery, an ADVENTURE, and that opportunity to apply my various memories of Moscow (that's obviously the best my mind is able to do for St. P) and plug them into the images in your story. I went to a money-changers one time that was a hole in a courtyard with the fellow behind a plexiglass booth - so that allowed me to imagine your police station quite well and all I had to do was envision the parade of characters....oh, thanks so much for including that part!!!

I'm so glad you found it. Or - should I be sorry it wasn't truly stolen and now being driven by Ilya's "criminal" brother in Ivanovo? That way you could buy a new car! However, finding it sounds vastly better than the mistaken paperwork, THAT'S for sure!

Great story-telling. Thank you!

Erica H said...

Hi Kate! I am so glad court went well! I am so glad your blog is also not private any longer..I have been a long time lurker, maybe even a commentor for several years during our two adoptions..anyway congrats and cant wait to see full pictures of your sweet daughter!