Friday, July 17, 2009

wandering wheels

One unique feature of my island life that I don't think I've ever shared is the vehicle issues. I know I've mentioned that I keep a pickup truck on the mainland, and I pay a monthly fee to park it in the garage closest to the boat dock. The fee may seem excessive sometimes but when you factor in the cost and trouble of getting a rental car, it's worth it to me.

But I don't have an automobile on the island, because the town of Avalon received permission from the state of California to pass special legislation limiting the amount of full-size vehicles. Considering how small the town is, the limited parking, and the potential environmental impact, I don't think that was a bad idea. So there's a waiting list - you sign up and then let the decades roll by. I wish I'd signed up my first week on the island, but stupidly I waited until I'd been here for a couple years. A big part of the reason it takes so long for people to move up the waiting list is that there's really no regular review or close oversight of the process. I'm not kidding when I say there are actually dead people on the list! And people can sign up, move away, come back a few years later and still maintain their spot. Personally, I think that's wrong and I could rant for days on the subject but I'm not going to say anything else now.

What I did plan to say is that for those of us who can't have a regular vehicle, a golf cart is an option. I don't know how many there are here - a lot! Visitors get a kick out of it, seeing the little carts putt-putting around, and they can rent them too. But when you live here you get used to it, and after a while it's the norm.

I have a golf cart and even though I only use it a couple times a week, it's a huge help for hauling groceries or laundry. The rest of the time it's parked on the street near my house. On Friday mornings, along with everyone else on my street, I have to remember to move my it over to the other side of the street before 8am, and then back at 12 noon. This is for the scheduled weekly street-sweeping, and even though the street-sweeping machine seldom passes by on that scheduled day, we do it anyway to avoid being ticketed.

So on a recent sunny Friday morning I strolled down the stairs to the sidewalk at 7:55am and discovered that my cart was not there. It's fairly distinctive too - the body is a sort of purple/blue and the seat covers are green. I looked up and down the street a bit, thinking perhaps I had parked it further up the street than usual and forgot? Or perhaps someone released the parking break and rolled it downhill? No, it was gone.

It is not unusual for a golf cart to go off wandering without its owner. Many of the carts are keyed the same, or a used cart is sold, and a previous owner still has a key. This happens with alarming and annoying frequency. But it's a rare occurrence for me. My instincts told me to do what any normal person does when their vehicle is stolen - call the police. I did that but unfortunately the local deputies were too busy dealing with another situation that morning to come over and take a report. So I did what any islander would do when their golf cart gets stolen...I went out looking for it.

That may sound kind of wacky but essentially this is a town of less than 3 square miles, on an island. So clearly - it's here somewhere. I just had to find it. And that is precisely what I did. I borrowed another golf cart from a friend, started at one end of town, and drove up and down each and every street. And just a short time later.....

Hey...what's that at the end of the row there???

Could it be???

Yep! That's my baby!

Thankfully, it wasn't damaged and started up right away. So I returned the borrowed cart to my friend and took my own cart home again. All's well that end's well - right? Not exactly.

The problem as I see it, is that my cart was stolen on a week night from a mainly residential neighborhood. The place I found it is most definitely a locals residence - it's the parking lot of a small apartment complex. This means that someone else who lives here basically helped themself to my cart, and drove it home. And they could do it again. That sucks. In so many ways.

So my golf cart has acquired a fashionable new accessory:

A length of coated steel cable and a padlock. Remember The Club? This is the same idea. Crank the steering wheel all the way around, run the cable through it and another piece of metal and lock the ends together. You could insert a key and start the engine, but good luck driving anywhere but in a circle. That'll fix 'em!


Ellen Bloom said...

Glad you found your cart. I can't believe that whoever stole it thought they'd get away with this theft. Are you going to report it to the Police?

Mia said...

COOL CART! I had a plain white one (from the camping days) that I just sold a few weeks ago... I miss it ::sniff::

But seriously.. I can't believe anybody has the nerve to steal that from you - a local against a local - on such a small island. What's wrong with this world? Unfortunately, seems like the lock is a good idea :)


beentsy said...

Really? Someone was too lazy to drive home so they nicked your cart? Dude, that's just wrong...and stupid. What if you were some huge musclebound human with anger issues and had just sat outside waiting for them to come back to the cart.

Folks is daft. Daft I say!

Sheepish Annie said...

Good lord! I mean, I suppose I can understand the theft. It's wrong...but it makes some sense in this world. However to park it right out in full view after stealing it? The mind reels. A lot.

A very ingenius solution on your part, though. Well played!

Logan said...

You could totally stalk those people and call them out on it.

That's basically the dumbest case of auto theft I've heard of. Why would you steal a vehicle when you're trapped in an area that small? Especially one that was different looking. It was probably a kid or something.

Glad you got it back!