CONTINUED FROM HERE
So, then: After it'd become apparent Sam wasn't going to budge on this point — he was by now shrugging a lot and repeating, "It's not my fault," which seemed beside the point (it wasn't my fucking fault, either) — and after I'd similarly shrugged and called Sam an asshole and gone upstairs to try room 213, all to no avail in re: procuring a master key to my deadbolt, I gnashed my teeth and did what had to be done: called a locksmith.
(By the way, the entire time I'm on the phone with the various locksmiths whose numbers I gather from 411 in what turns out to be a vain search for a reasonable price — every quote I receive is within a dollar of $150, making me wonder about collusion within this small local industry — the whole time I'm pacing out in front of my unit, which is what I do when I'm worked-up or angry or whatever, there's this girl, probably somewhere between about 14 and 17, the kind who shops at Hot Topic, probably, on her cell phone on the couch in the lobby very literally narrating my every move and telephonic comment, like providing a play-by-play of everything Mike Laws does for whoever it is on the end of her line, e.g., "Oooh, he just called him an asshole" and "Oh, his name's Mike — he just gave someone his name, did you hear that?" and "He just hung up and now he's dialing Directory Assistance again." This is incredibly obnoxious and distracting, and I shoot her various glares, which she ignores, so I give up and take my conversation outside.)
So now, resigning myself to having to fork over an unnecessary $150, and by this point parched from arguing with Sam and haggling over unnecessary condo-entrance-related expenses, I figure I'll kill part of the hour it'll likely take the locksmith to arrive by running over to CVS for something to drink.
The worst part about what follows is that I could've gone anywhere on Columbia Pike to accomplish this — the Texaco station, the Rite Aid, Bob & Edith's diner, any of several Thai restaurants — but for some reason am drawn, as if magnetically, to the CVS and, having turned into what I can see is a horribly overcrowded lot, am determined (by dint of inertia, maybe) nonetheless to park there and acquire my refreshing beverage from there and only there.
And so but yes, I admit it, I park illegally in a spot on the extreme-far-east side of the lot, just behind the tiny Salvadoran pupusa place (closed, at this hour) and across a chain-link fence from several trailers set up for workers doing construction on the new apartment complex/Giant going up in the adjacent lot. My thinking is that there's no way I'll be here more than 10 minutes, so I should be fine.
I'm only in there a little longer than I'd expected, the result of becoming stuck in line behind 1) a woman who's opted to do what looks to be about a month's worth of grocery-shopping and 2) a trio of Central Americans who want to use a coupon for a 12- and a six-pack of Coronas and are presently being told that that special has expired, which development they are none too happy about, believe you me. I'm out of there in probably under 15 minutes, though, still, and you can probably guess what happens next.
The weirdest part, when I get outside and cross the lot and see the empty space where my car used to be, is I'm not really even all that angry about it. I curse aloud, sure, but it's almost like I'm willing myself to anger rather than actually feeling it in my bones, the way it usually happens. Part of this is probably due to this whole evening beginning to take on the aforementioned hue of karmic retribution — the reaction is less Fuck, you've got to be kidding me! and more Oh, right, of course. How else could this have turned out, really?
There's also the speed with which the tow truck performed the operation; whoever this was, he was a goddamn ninja. This guy was so fast, in fact, that by the time I call the towing company (whose number is posted, helpfully, on a panel mounted to the side of the CVS, such that it's only a matter of seconds involved in placing the call), they've already got the car in the tow-yard. And this place is a couple miles away. I never even saw the tow truck.
TO BE CONTINUED (HERE)