Goodbye to the Rondo and a Story About Controversial Parking

TODAY’S BREW: International Delight because I know how to enjoy fanciness of the past

By Julie

This is not about COVID! And yes, it is a story about controversial parking, not a controversial story about parking.

Today I’m in the process of saying goodbye to my car of 15 years, the Kia Rondo, Car of the Future. We called it that because when we bought it nobody had any idea what it was and there was ONE other one in our entire huge town. So we told people we brought it back from the future.

The Rondo came into our family when we started having a family of our own. We found out we were pregnant with our first kiddo and I was driving all the way to Cape Cod for work, so that was when we broke down and got cell phones and a decent car. 15 years later and I’m STILL driving it, but it finally became more to fix it than to keep it.

Possibly my favorite Rondo story is when it was parked in front of Sam’s super tiny elementary school because I was running the book fair inside all day. Now, this car goes back and forth to that school daily, multiple times often, because there is no bus. And I park it right out front for 8 to 10 hours a day for a week, three separate times a year to run the book fair, right? This one Monday, first day of the book fair, a teacher comes in to say the cops are at the Rondo. It’s after school, I’m there to clean up and take care of the stragglers in my little apron, sweaty as all hell from the unairconditioned gym, and lo and behold, there are the cops at my Rondo, the lone car in front of the school.

Now, I don’t debate that my car was illegal. It was. It is. It cannot pass inspection. One door doesn’t open, the air bag light has been on for about six years, the hood doesn’t close all the way…but hey, I’m not rich, and I was far less rich back then even.

“Ma’am, you are in serious trouble,” one of the stern-looking, put-together policemen says to me as I wipe frizzy hair out of my eyes and wish I could go to bed.

“I’m sorry. I am but a lowly housewife running a book fair for underpriveleged children, Officer.”

“We received an extremely urgent call from a very concerned crossing guard, Ms. Hutchings.”

Now, hold up.

The crossing guard called the cops on me?

“He was extremely concerned about your inspection sticker, ma’am.” Then the two of the cops bust out laughing and after we joke back and forth they wave goodbye, calling out, “Bye Mrs. Hutchings!” So it was all okay.

Until I saw the crossing guard the next day. And what happened after I left the school that evening is a whole other story unto itself.

I pull up in the same spot as the day before. Crossing guard: “Hey, how are you doing?” (Because yes, he knows me. I HAVE BEEN CRAZY INVOLVED AT THAT SCHOOL FOR 10 YEARS.)

“Not so good, actually. Know why?”

*goofy smile, blank stare*

“See that car? That I just got out of? You called the cops on me yesterday!”

“Well, the inspection sticker is bad and it was parked there all day. I checked, but there could have been a bomb in it or something, I didn’t know.”

Let’s think this over.

“You checked?”

And yes, it’s true. The crossing guard went into my car with a car seat in the back, the same car he sees twice a day at minimum.

“So, you see a beaten up car in front of the school with a car seat and toys in it, one that might be vaguely familiar, and your first instinct is that it harbors bombs?”

“It was suspicious, what was I supposed to do?” he says.

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe walk up THOSE SIX STAIRS twenty feet away, and ask who the car belongs to? I would have heard you, I was RIGHT THERE.”

“Oh yeah, I guess I could have done that.”

*breathe in, out, in, out*

“Maybe you should have parked further down,” the guard says to me.

“So you’re saying to me that if I parked a couple car lengths down that suddenly the question of my being a terrorist would be eliminated because…you couldn’t see the sticker as well?”

*blank stare*

“Tell you what. How about you keep your eyes on those there crosswalk lines, and if you want to call the cops on someone today maybe look at one of the people walking under the NO SMOKING sign with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths and turn away from the Rondo while I give books to small children. THANKS.”

Rondo, you were a trooper and I will miss the hell out of you. I’m keeping your outdated inspection sticker.

Published by Julie Hutchings, Pretty Scary Author

Mythology-twisting author and editor, reptile hoarder, coffee drinker, harpy. Author of The Shinigami Vampire Series and The Wind Between Worlds.

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