Daily Archives: January 14, 2021

You are browsing the site archives by date.

The World is Going to Pot — And So Is Our Car!

Every Wednesday and Thursday in my Gravesend, Brooklyn neighborhood, we have this ritual called “alternate side of the street parking.” You have to move your car (or double-park it temporarily) from one side of the street to the other (or risk a parking ticket), so that a sanitation street-sweeping truck can drag filth from one end of the block to the other. This keeps our streets clean!

Well, last Thursday, I double-parked our car so that the street-sweeper could do its job efficiently; when the time was up for us to put the car back on the Thursday side, I parked the car right back in the same spot, two doors down. I left the car there until this morning, when I got into the car to double-park it again for our weekly exercise.

When I got into the car, it smelled like skunk. I took out the air freshener and sprayed the car. And then I left it double-parked until I had to go back down to return it to its previous parking spot.

The smell was still in the car. WTF? I’m looking around the car, under the car, now starting to wonder if some actual skunk had crawled up inside the car and died or something. I mean, I’ve seen an occasional racoon and even opossum, which were released by government officials some ten years ago to control the rat population! But never a skunk.

No luck. I mean, who am I kidding? This isn’t skunk. It’s the smell of pot! Perhaps somebody had been smoking pot near the car? So I get back into the car. I’m sniffing around, and I look down in the cup holder separating the two front seats. Lo and behold, I see that a $10 roll of quarters has been opened—no quarters left therein—and underneath it is a half-smoked joint. I guess whoever broke into the car (and HOW ON EARTH DID THEY GET INTO A LOCKED CAR WITH AN ALARM WITHOUT US HEARING IT?) was too stoned to finish, and decided to leave it there perhaps for another visit on another night. Too cold outside in the middle of January, after all! Better to be seated in somebody’s car where you can sit back, kick up your feet, smoke a joint, relieve the owner of ten bucks in quarters, which was sitting there to feed the parking meters of New York City.

Ordinarily, I’m a really understanding guy. I mean, it was only ten bucks, right? And I’m on record against the “war on drugs.” I couldn’t care less what you smoke, what you snort, what you mainline! But does it have to be done in our car?

Okay, I’ve been under a little pressure lately, what with having had a few surgeries in the early fall, almost losing my sister to a serious illness in mid-November, and becoming a primary caregiver in the middle of a pandemic, while dealing with healthcare bureaucracies and regulations designed to frustrate recovering patients from getting the after-care they require.

Yearning for a little respite from it all, during my morning stationary bike workouts, I’ve made my way through all those old “Karate Kid” films (I-IV) again, in preparation for the Netflix “Cobra Kai” series, amazed at all the kernels of wisdom that came out of the mouth of Mr. Miyagi (played by Pat Morita). You know, things like: “Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good” and “For man with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death.”

So I took a nice deep breath, the smell of Fabreze not quite having erased that other scent, yearning for that balance in a world gone to pot! I forgave the stupidity of whoever broke into our car, a person who obviously needed a nice cozy place to smoke a joint in the middle of the night. I picked the joint up and threw it out the window, making sure to use a little Purell to clean my fingers. Then, I picked up the empty $10 quarter-wrapper and put it in my pocket.

I looked up at the sky through the windshield and simply said in Italian: “Gesù Cristo, Maria, San Giuseppe.” I didn’t yell. I didn’t scream. I didn’t even utter a single Sicilian curse! I simply marched upstairs and wrote out the sign below, came back down, and taped it to the steering wheel of the car.

I decided, last minute, to trim off the bottom of the sign, because to err is human, to forgive divine. Omitted was what I was really feeling, full of grace and forgiveness: “You toucha my car again, I breaka your face.”

Ed. – For the record: I looked on YouTube (and I’m NOT posting that video here), which shows how to ‘break into’ the particular make and model of our car without any damage to the car. [To be clear: It’s listed under how to get into the car if you left your keys inside…] Very nice! At least I know that nobody can drive off with it; they can just use it for, uh, hanging out! 🙂