Sometimes the search for a publisher calls for desperate measures and most of the time I feel heartily ashamed of asking my friends, who are already published, to put in a word for me here or there.
It seems disgraceful and yet it’s what people do, especially when we do not have a reputation, when we do not have a name.
In desperate circumstances, pride slips away.
Most weeknights before I go to bed or first thing in the morning before 7 am, I check the street for cars, my family’s cars. We live on a Clear Way in the mornings from 7 am to 9 am. Any cars parked on our side of the road between those hours, during the week but not on weekends, will be booked by council inspectors and then towed away.
To retrieve the car you pay $300.00 to the man in charge of the depot in Collingwood to where the car is towed and later – you have a few weeks grace here – you also pay the council a fine of $144.00.
It’s an expensive exercise to park in front of my house between the hours of 7 am and 9 am on weekdays. Visitors beware.
On this morning when I had elected to sleep till fifteen minutes past seven, I went outside first thing to collect the newspaper. To my horror my daughter’s car was parked directly in front of our house. I ran back inside to get her car keys and to put on my shoes.
I do not like to drive cars with bare feet besides I’d need to park the car in the side street some distance from home. I pulled on my boots but did not zip them up and ran flip flopping out of the house in my salmon pink terry towelling gown.
The man was already dragging the car up onto his tow truck.
‘Please,’ I said. ‘It’s my daughter’s car. She needs it for work.’
My daughter, still asleep in bed, was oblivious to all this.
‘Sorry, but it’s already been booked,’ the man said. ‘Once it’s booked I have no choice.’
He looked sorry enough, but even then I figured the business of towing cars is his bread and butter.
It was only later after the drama had died down that I recognised a mixture of compassion in the tow truck man’s eyes and also his surprise. I must have looked like a wild woman, my undone boots flapping, my pink dressing gown and my shrill voice.
My daughter paid the price. Fortunately, my husband could get her to Collingwood to collect the car before she started work.
Her excuse for leaving the car on the street was one of confusion the night before. She had come home late from friends and was tired. For some reason, she had thought it was already Friday night.
If I had planned to go out onto the street and encounter a stranger from whom I would beg for mercy I might have dressed better. That is, if I had the time and presence of mind to prepare.
But in desperate circumstances, we behave desperately and bugger the consequences.