?

Log in

No account? Create an account

[icon] Mommy! There's a lady with pink hair pushing a motorcycle! - Patti
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (pattib.org).

Security:
Subject:Mommy! There's a lady with pink hair pushing a motorcycle!
Time:12:14 am
I have an old EX500 that I love dearly, even though it's been a pain in the ass for a long time. It's the bike that was on loan to a coworker when it got stolen a while ago. The bike is old enough to vote, and has been buying alcohol with a fake ID for a while now. I rode it to work a couple of weeks ago and stopped at my friends' bike shop for coffee on the way to work.

"Is that here for service?"

"Have you ever seen this bike come in and leave without needing repair?"

He thought for a moment. "No, I don't think I have."

"There's a first time for everything."

However, I asked him to come out and listen to the noise it made when I started it. "That's your starter clutch. Ride it until it blows up."

"How long will that be?"

"Maybe tomorrow, maybe two years from now. Who knows?"

The next day I killed the battery trying to start the bike to get home. Dammit. I parked it in the motorcycle parking behind my office and then later took the battery home to charge.

Last night I went to put the freshly-charged battery in the bike, and the bike wasn't there. WTF? A call to the SFPD let me know that it had been towed for being parked illegally. As it turns out, I parked the bike legally but someone moved it across the street. Grumble.

I went to AutoReturn, forked over $274 to get the bike back (under protest, since I didn't park it illegally-- she gave me the address of the brick wall that I can argue my case with) then went over to the lot to get the bike. My plan was to push it out to the street, put the battery in it, get it running, then come back the next morning after I dropped my car off to get the top replaced and ride it to work.

AutoReturn employees are... well... the sort of people you'd expect to work in the city's tow lot. I'm pretty sure this guy didn't make the honor roll before he dropped out of seventh grade. As we walked across the lot I tried not to think too hard about why he had four band-aids on his face-- there was no possible explanation that I wanted to consider. When we got to the bike he cheerfully informed me that there was a ticket in the fairing. Great.

I noticed a big gouge in the fairing. "The bike has been damaged."

"Really?"

"Yeah." I pointed to the jagged white lines in the black plastic. "Those weren't there before." I looked at the tank and found a gouge in the paint. "Neither was that." I walked around the bike, and discovered one of the mirrors was broken. "That mirror was there when I parked the bike. Oh, and the front fender is cracked."

"I'll give you a claim form."

Woohoo! Now I get to bang my head against two brick walls... it's my lucky day!

I started to push my bike toward the gate, and he stopped me. "You can't do that. You either have to ride it or have it towed out."

"I can't ride it... I don't have a helmet. Besides, the battery is in the trunk of my car."

After a bit of something that bore a disturbing resemblance to actual thinking on his part, or maybe it was just gas pains, he allowed as how it would be OK if I sat on the bike and waddled it out of the lot. We got to the guard station at the gate, wherein I filled out a form listing the damage, took pictures, and made sure that my escort clearly saw every bit of damage. "There may be more. I won't know until I take it to my mechanic for an inspection." I can just imagine those clowns bending the forks or something.

Finally I was allowed to go. I pushed the bike out to the street, then moved my car up behind it. I went to install the battery and got my next surprise-- the battery bolts were gone! No doubt they got jarred loose as the bike bounced around while getting towed. Great. I briefly pondered the roll of duct tape that was in the trunk of my car, but thought better of it. I looked at the time-- 7:30. My friends' bike shop was only three blocks away, and while they close at 6 they usually worked past then. I made a mad dash over and caught Paul just as he was about to get on his bike and take off, but he was happy to go back in and supply a set of bolts.

Back at the bike I got the battery installed and then tried to start it. No dice. Hrmm. Oh, cute. Somebody turned off the fuel tap. I turned it on, tried again, and got the bike started. It ran for about five seconds before stalling. OK, no problem. It's always cranky about starting. I tried again, nothing. Again, but this time the bike made a loud popping noise, and instead of cranking I heard a whirring noise from the starter.

OK, now I know exactly how long the starter clutch had to live. Fuck. I pushed the bike across Harrison and onto a side street, and noticed that the block was one hour parking. This time the duct tape seemed like a good idea, and taped a note to the tank: "Dear DPT: Please be lenient. AutoReturn damaged the bike yesterday. I will have it towed to the shop ASAP. Love and kisses, Patti"

This morning, while stuck in non-moving bridge traffic, I called my mechanic-- it's always a bad sign when you have him on speed dial. "Hey, I'm going to ask you a question and you have to promise to answer 100% honestly."

"OK."

"You hate my bike, you never want to see it again, and you don't have any time to deal with it, right?"

"What happened?" I gave him the short version. "OK, bring it by." I tried to talk him into letting me have it towed home so I could do the work myself, but he was having none of it. "If we do it, we'll be able to point out the other three things that broke at the same time." He had a stunningly good point, as well as an excellent working knowledge of the bike.

"I also need you to write an estimate for some damage that AutoReturn did when they towed it yesterday. I'll explain later."

After sitting on the bay bridge for an hour, I dropped my car off at the shop to get the slashed top replaced, then caught a cab to the office just in time for my 11 a.m. meeting. At lunch I caught another cab over to where the bike was parked and started pushing. I was dead certain that I would have a parking ticket, but I got lucky-- yay! The nice thing about the EX500 is that it's light. Pushing it nearly half a mile is still annoying as all fuck, but it's nothing like pushing a Goldwing or a Harley or a BMW.

At Ninth and Harrison I passed a mother and two children. "Look mommy! There's a lady with pink hair pushing a motorcycle." I guess today was my turn to be the local color.


Somewhere in the middle of this, it all went from highly annoying hilariously funny. It's really hard to stay grumpy when so many stupid things happen together.

I should have the car back Thursday. The bike is anyone's guess, since I told them they were only allowed to work on it at lowest priority, but I shouldn't be riding it anyway. And now I need to file two claims, one for damage to the bike, and one protesting the towing and ticket. Lucky me!
comments: Leave a comment Previous Entry Share Next Entry


adb_jaeger
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 09:15 am (UTC)
So, since you don't watch TV, I guess you've never seen "Parking Wars".

If they shot it in SF as opposed to Philadelphia, you'd be a lock to make the show, I think.

(Reply) (Thread)


sabyl
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 09:22 am (UTC)
bleh! Glad you were able to find the humor at the end of it all. It would take me a lot longer to find than the humor than it did you. Hope some good stuff happens soon instead of all these little annoyances.
(Reply) (Thread)


rmd
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 10:56 am (UTC)
well, that's a bunch of craptastic annoyance.

on the other hand, it is better to be in a comedy than a tragedy.
(Reply) (Thread)


caged_ape
Subject:"I guess today was my turn to be the local color."
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 01:31 pm (UTC)
....as opposed to any other day that ends with a "y"?
You handled it way better than anyone I know would have.
(Reply) (Thread)


tigerknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 02:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, that is QUITE the saga.. as for the poor ex500 and the damage in the towing lot.. reminds me of Liar Liar and Jim Carey.


Fletcher: You scratched my car!
Motorpool Guy: Where?
Fletcher: [indicating with his hands] Right there!
Motorpool Guy: OH... That was already there.
Fletcher: You - -LIAR! You know what I am going to do about this?
Motorpool Guy: what?
Fletcher: Nothing! Because if I take it to small claims court, it will just drain 8 hours out of my life and you probably won't show up and even if I got the judgment you'd just stiff me anyway; so what I am going to do is piss and moan like an impotent jerk, and then bend over and take it up the tailpipe!
Motorpool Guy: [tossing the keys to Fletcher] You've been here before haven't ya?
(Reply) (Thread)


andrewhime
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 02:46 pm (UTC)
ugh. Do people just normally enjoy fucking with motorcycles like that?
(Reply) (Thread)


gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 02:51 pm (UTC)
As it turns out, I parked the bike legally but someone moved it across the street. Grumble.

Are people in your office in the habit of moving other's bikes?
(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 04:34 pm (UTC)
No. The alley where bikes park was apparently repaved and striped.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


allknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 02:54 pm (UTC)
What a cluster f*ck Patti... I like the way this bike looks (I am visualizing it without all the damage) too bad it has caused you so much grief lately.
(Reply) (Thread)

greeklady
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 03:54 pm (UTC)
What a comedy of errors. I love it, "You gotta ride it out". Wow you knew someone was just waiting to ding you for no helmet right?

Did someone hit the bike and then move it?

(Reply) (Thread)


whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 04:34 pm (UTC)
No, the alley was repaved and striped.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

greeklady
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-05-07 04:39 pm (UTC)
Ohhh. I am surprised they moved it that far. Why not up to the sidewalk or something? Crazy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] Mommy! There's a lady with pink hair pushing a motorcycle! - Patti
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.
View:Website (pattib.org).