Last week, we left our townhouse in an oppressively run HOA gulag for a lovely single family home in a neighborhood with trees and dogs and swingsets.
The night before we moved, I had pulled in front of the house next-door to load my car with things to take to the new house. In my haste, I pulled about an inch or so over into the neighbor’s grass, but I thought it would go unnoticed. Even though my dear friend was towed the night we brought Jack home from the hospital, I assumed it was because she had parked in a visitor spot without the proper hang-tag. I thought for a second that I might be a target since I was in front of someone else’s house, but it has been vacant for several months, so I figured it was OK.
When I woke up on moving day, my car was gone. Gone. As in “gone.” Full of our stuff. I got dressed in a hurry. Jack was still sleeping, but my movement woke Brian. He gave me a questioning look. “The fuckers towed me,” I whispered. His eyes got wide, and he was silent.
I called the towing company, and the lady told me I was towed because I had parked “on the grass.” My tire had crossed over from the pavement by an inch or so. Really. I’m not exaggerating or trying to get myself off the hook. If I had parked on someone’s lawn, I would hope I’d have the grace to admit it. But I hadn’t. And no one lives there.
I called Elizabeth, who had agreed to come over and watch Jack during the move, and asked her if she could come early, and she agreed cheerfully. Brian drove me by the bank so I could withdraw $100 in cash to get my car out of hock. When I got to the tow lot, the woman in the smoky office told me that she never lives where there’s an HOA because “they’re all like that.” She shook her head. I said, “Well, that’s why we’re moving. Today.” She looked at me blankly. Maybe she thought I was trying to make a joke. I gave her the cash, and she gave me a receipt. Then I walked out to the gravel lot and picked up my fully packed car and drove it to the new house, where choirs of angels sang “Hallelujah! There is no HOA here!”
I unloaded my car and set things up for our friends who were helping us move. I hung signs in every room showing what pieces of furniture went where, because I doubted I’d be there when they arrived. I cleaned up the painting mess in Jack’s room so his furniture could go in there. Then I headed back to the townhouse. I thought along the way how thankful I was to have friends who were helping us move, how hot it was today, and how lucky I am.
When I arrived at the townhouse, our friends and Brian were trotting back and forth up a ramp into a huge Penske truck. I got out of the car and approached my friend Michelle. I even got a little weepy. I said, “I don’t feel like I deserve you guys.”
She hugged me and said, “Pfft! Just because some asshole tows you on moving day doesn’t mean there aren’t other people in the world who love you!” I saw my friend Jessica over Michelle’s shoulder. She smiled and nodded.
Now, that’s moving.