Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quantum Effects and Vehicle Ownership

Got dinged big time with the winter parking ban. I left the Deer Killer (sensu stricto the Deer-Strike-It-In-The-Haunch-And-Let-It-Bleed-To-Death-In-The-Woods but that doesn't trip off the tongue so easily, or indeed sound quite so macho) in a local supermarket carpark given that we're not allowed to park on the street. The problem was not so much leaving it there as leaving it there for about a week without moving it, to the extent it got plowed in and then set in a small ice-drift as the snow metamorphosed over a couple of quick freeze/thaw cycles into the Windsor Street Glacier. If your car becomes a small geological feature it's obviously illegally parked, so they towed it.

I'm telling you; this car is becoming more trouble than it's worth, and it's not worth much. A vehicle I didn't want in the first place, which nevertheless has survived a couple of serious threats to sell it and a failed MVI which pretty much cost the Blue-Book price to get a sticker and still comes back to me like a faithful dog. Woof! Perhaps there's a moral here and I should treat her with a modicum of respect. Let's face it; she did make that heroic trip to Montreal last summer (which I could have sworn was well beyond her mechanical capabilities) and shrug off that deer without so much as a twitch; "get out of my way 150 lb deer","No", Thwack! "Told-you-so".

To be honest, the whole process of getting the Deer Killer back wasn't so hard, a couple of phone-calls, a trip to police HQ and a ride out to Exhibition Park to pick it up. Fortunately HRP displayed an amazing amount of common sense, seeing as to prove the missing car was mine I technically needed the missing car's registration and proof-of-insurance, which of course, are in the glove compartment of the missing car which I was trying to ransom out of the missing-car-lot in the first place. Think about it; your car goes AWOL so you schlep off down to the police station where they ask you for what you don't have because it's in the car you're reporting AWOL and trying to recover. They might as well ask for the license plate; no I don't have that either because it's with the car, and the car is AWOL.

"I'd like to report my car missing, I suspect it's been towed"

"Certainly Sir, licence and registration please"

"I don't have the registration, it's in the car"

"But without the registration documents Sir, you can't prove the missing car is yours"

"But I don't have the registration for the missing car because it's in the missing car"

"The alleged car Sir".

I think "Alleged Car" gives the Deer Killer an even more rakish air than the deer-dent. Anyway, so as you can see, the car is simultaneously there (you know you have it) and not there (you don't have the registration and insurance to prove it to the police). It's Schroedinger's car, which probably explains why the police don't think it's yours in the first place.

Maybe this is what they mean by 21st Century policing; not so much CSI as invoking quantum physics to logically deduce where stolen proerty is. Now I think about it, it's kinda Dirk Gently.

As I was saying, I was lucky and didn't have to argue from quantum principles that the car was mine, although I often feel the need to invoke the Uncertainty Principle around my car (not necessarily Heisenberg's Principle, it just has a general air of uncertainty about it) and I was issued in short order with the magic blue slip with which to ransom it out of captivity.

Maybe "ransom" is too strong a word, given that the cost of getting her back was only about 0.001% of the ransom asked for Richard Lionheart (assuming silver costs ca. $20 a Troy Ounce and the dollar is at par). However, the only thing that stuck in my throat about the whole thing was to do with paying to get the car back. No, not the rate, I can live with that. There's the truck to do it, guys to do it, the six miles towing, digging the damn thing out of it's own private glacier, the overnight parking and I suppose there's also a hefty deterrent factor in there too to prevent you from parking illegally in the first place. Mea culpa. No, it's that the towing company only accept cash.

Yup. Cash only. One company has the contract to tow illegally parked cars for the City, and they only take cold, hard, untraceable cash. Perhaps I'm being overly cynical, you wouldn't be the first person to suggest it, but doesn't that sound odd? I can see the business case in that yes that it does cost businesses to accept credit cards. It's why TNS for example only accepts cash at the Bluenose Sport's Expo, but last year at the Expo we sold less than $100 of TNS-branded merchandise and the fees (to us) for you to buy your $5 TNS mug would have likely outweighed the cost of the mug. However, it's a matter of scale and it certainly cost more than $100 to ransom out the Deer Killer and one suspects I wasn't the only one today. If you're charging half a monkey to redeem a car the City had you tow in the first place, then remember that cash-only has a reputation. Perhaps if you're working law enforcement, even if it's only extreme parking-ticket enforcement, you should at least have the appearance of legitimacy. Caesar's wife and all.

Just sayin'


1 comment:

  1. You need to send that to city council