Hospitality and neighborliness are fundamental human virtues. Our most ancient ancestors got that. In ancient literature nothing invited the wrath of the gods more than violations of these virtues. Last night Michael and I had such an experience.
We went to dinner with a church member who lives in a condo unit near the hot dining area in town. We walked to dinner and had a really nice time. When we got back his neighbors were having a garden party. As we walked up one couple said, "Ken, your visitors car just got towed." At first we thought they were joking. Then we realized that the car was gone.
Quick calls to the towing company first resulted in us not being able to get the car last night. Then they said we could. It would be $200.
Seems that the resident is supposed to give the guest a pass to park. The wife of the president of the condo association came over and, oozing with arrogance, said with extreme condescension to the church member, "Really, it is your responsibility."
He said he had never had a problem before and that he had had people come and go often. She said, with further condescension, "You have led a charmed life."
On the way to the impound he told us that he didn't understand, because he had told that very couple that his minister was coming to dinner. He didn't understand why they hadn't told the tow truck to wait. It is not like the area was full. Of the ten slots, only four cars were there. And one other, a truck, didn't have a permit.
I said it was even stranger when you realize that my car has a UCC clergy sticker in the window. So, they knew he had a guest coming, that it was his minister, and here was a car with a clergy sticker in the window.
When we got to the lot we were first surprised to see that the ticket had Ken's actual address on it. Our car was not directly in front of his unit. Then the driver told us that he was just driving through the condo unit and wasn't even looking at permits, when he rolled down his window to chat with the people who were at the garden party. He said that the president of the condo association had come over and told him specifically to tow the red car.
Our friend was embarrassed, angry, and shocked. I still can't wrap my head around the violation of fundamental human ethics, the evil, the jerkiness involved.
Plus it seems even weirder to treat a clergy person in this way. Normally we are afforded a little more respect and deference. One should feel a little nervousness at such a violation against someone who is a moral and spiritual authority.
Add to it-- the truck which also did not have a permit was still parked in its spot this morning.
All I know is that the universe has a way of correcting these violations of hospitality and neighborliness. (Maybe I've been reading too much Cormac McCarthy).