Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fighting Words

Many of you know that we received discouraging information from the doctor this week. I am sure we will write more about it soon, but the short story is that the doctor is very, very concerned about Dan's latest scan. A new treatment will begin early next week. So we've been getting geared up for it, but taking some time to ourselves. Forgive me if I don't let you in on all the details- we are still sorting them out. But we ask that you take those prayers up a notch.

Anyways, I had one of the worst meltdowns today, which ended up being a good kick in the behind. I went to Smoothie King (SK) to get Dan his usual but made the last minute decision to run and get a cup of coffee down the block before heading into SK. Well, I must have parked in that parking lot 100 times and never noticed that there was a sign that said that you will get towed if you walk off the lot & didn't patronize the stores in the little mall where SK is located. You can probably see what is coming next...

So there I was... walking toward the Smoothie King when I noticed my car was gone. After realizing what had happened, I barely made it into SK before beginning to sob. The guy behind the counter recognized me and thankfully, someone offered his cell phone for me to call the tow company. I apologized for being such a blubbering mess, and just kept saying that all I wanted was to bring a smoothie to my fiance who has cancer. Plus, I thought it was bogus that I got towed after 3 minutes, especially since I was going to Smoothie King all along! Anyways, I called the tow company and asked if they could please just bring me the car- I'd even pay double. I explained through my sobs that I needed the car in case we could get into Hopkins today for a procedure. The first time I called, a woman hung up on me. The next time, the manager told me that if I had a medical emergency, I should call an ambulance. So there I am with no phone or purse, no coat in the freezing cold, sobbing to total strangers in Smoothie King... wondering what had become of my life. At least the guy gave me a free smoothie.

When I finally came home, I was just totally beaten down. I just didn't think I could sink any lower in life. How could people be so cruel- I know that towing companies are pretty much the lowest form of humanity. And I'm sure they must get a lot of sob stories, but I couldn't believe that they hung up on me (twice!) and told me to call an ambulance. All for $158 dollars. I was dealing with people without souls. I eventually called back once I had calmed down because I still didn't know where my car was, only where to take my medical emergency. I tried to explain the situation. Again- same response. And this time- the guy told me that "we all have sh*tty lives". Well, that was the last straw.

I told Dan to call them back and asked if they accepted cash. And then proceeded to count out $158 in coins from the collection I'd been building for the past 3 years. If I was going to be treated like crap and made to waste 3 hours of my day dealing with asses, than they were going to have to feel some pain, too. Dan got in on it, and we decided that even worse than counting coins would be counting sticky coins. So after we counted out $158 worth of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, we put them in strainer and poured Diet Coke all over them. Yes, I admit, this was pretty immature, but when you're down, and the urge to push back... it's tough to resist.

So off we went to Rockville, halfway excited that we'd get under the skin of the towing jerks, halfway excited for a distraction from and afternoon of heavy discussions. When we arrived in what can only be described as a dirty hole with equally troll-like characters, I shoved the bag of coins through the window. The manager immediately came back that he wasn't going to accept coins. Dan pointed out that the signs said that they accept cash, and that we had called to confirm this fact. The guy raised his voice, setting me off in a barage of things that can't be written on this blog since my parents read it. He even turned on a video camera on us - I guess he wanted to document a young woman and a bald, pale cancer patient in case we were going to leap through a glass window and attack 2 men at least 3 times our size. Anyways, Dan calmly kept asking for their written payment policy, again pointing to the sign saying that cash was accepted. The manager, conveniently positioned behind the camera, made a few rude gestures. Clearly, we were at an impass. After we refused to leave, the manager said he would call the police. Hah- I was like fine by us!

So we took our spot on the bench, waiting for the po-po. Note that we were actually pretty civilized (even me, after my initial verbal jabs). Just as I was saying we should pay & leave, b/c the guy was such a jerk, the police came- all 3 of them with guns loaded!!! We explained the situation to them from our point of view, and they went to interview the manager. They came back, asking us if we would go to a bank or pay by another method. I innocently said that my purse was in the car that had been towed, and that we didn't have a bank nearby. Dan calmly asked what was wrong with paying in coins, while it may not be technically "cash" it is still US Currency and a form of payment. The police officers seemed sympathetic after hearing the entire backstory, and you could tell they saw we were just pretty normal people who had been pushed a little too far by people who use predatory measures to make a buck. So back they went to the manager.

Somehow, the guy figured he could be rude to the police when they asked if he would consider taking the coins. He said that the police couldn't tell him how to run his establishment, even throwing a coin at their feet. Well, that was all the police needed to make the guy go in the back and count the coins. The manager was livid, but he painted himself in a corner. We just chuckled to ourselves watching the 3 police officers smirking at the situation, clearly enjoying that they were making the guy pay for being a jerk. At one point, the senior officer came out and in a roundabout way, asked us if we had always planned on paying in coins. I explained that the only reason I decided to pay in change was to show to someone that he can't take advantage of a situation & use his position to make other people feel lowly and helpless. The police officer said that he was backing us up- because he didn't like the guy (or G&G Towing) either.

After about an hour, the manager came back out & gave in. My car was free! And the guy was made to look pretty foolish about calling the police, and more like just a stupid bully who takes advantage of people. Oh, and while we were waiting, we witnessed another man come in to discuss an estimate to fix his car which had been hit by one of the company's trucks. The manager refused to hand over his insurance information, and would only offer the man less than half of the body shop estimate. The worst part was that English wasn't the man's first language and it was clear that the manager was trying to take advantage of him. Good timing- the police took all the information with respect to the incident, and the man will get his car fixed.

You may be reading this thinking that we are a little crazy. I may have recovered from the car towing and the Smoothie King waterworks, but I wasn't going to be treated so poorly and without an ounce of decency. If you ever gotten your car towed, you know how unpleasant the experience is, and how creepy the people are that run the operations. You have no power and no leverage. And we were coming off a few days where we were feeling the exact same things in life. So forgive us if we wanted to take out our anger on something and fight back a little. Dan & I make a pretty good team, and it was good to be reminded of that... and take down the bad guy.

You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

PS- Dan says that his favorite part of the whole story is that, as we were parking the car to go to dinner, I turned to him & said in all seriousness "You know, I'm not going to mess with towaway zones, but I'll still roll the dice when it comes to not putting any money in the parking meter."

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

awesome - I just wish you had called me to bring over coins from our house - our trash from earlier this week still hasn't been picked up outside and as you are aware, we were violently ill, both ends, which could have just kicked it up just a notch more. I may even consider getting my car towed and going in with my ill-infested coins and counting them out. You guys rock! Boats and hoes ride again!
NMR

Anonymous said...

you guys totally rock. the diet coke on the coins was just a beautiful touch. my prayers are already kicking up a notch.
dan, call or email me when you can - but know that you are both in my thoughts every day.
much, much, much love,
stacia

Surviving Daily said...

As I read that the car had been towed and how rude they were on the phone, I thought to myself "Must be G&G" and lo and behold, I was right! A very funny story and good example of keeping one's senses of humor and appreciation of the absurd intact despite the cancer stuff. Very important and you should proudly retell this story for the sheer glory of it, over and over.

No remember--take the weekend, or part of it-- "off" and enjoy each other.

Anonymous said...

Whoa--what a week you two are having. But once again your trials turn into adventures as you two maneuver through them with your rescue efforts of support for one another and with your (clever and oftentimes hilarious) imaginative ways of solving those trials--I sometimes feel like I'm reading a novel that makes me laugh and imagine, cry and contemplate, and leaves me inspired. You two do make an amazing couple, doused in love and fun and hilarity and a dear sweetness.
I'm praying; my family's praying for you both.
cousin P

Lisa Auslander said...

Great job guys! Too funny!!!

Kris Lowther said...

I know who I'll be calling if I ever get my car towed! You guys are in daily thoughts and prayers. Stay strong!

Love, Kris

Anne Willis said...

Hilarious and completely appropriate. It should be illegal for anyone to refuse the Cancer Card!

Anne

Anonymous said...

Bob was shocked to find me laughing out loud reading your blog last night considering what a terribly rough couple of days it's been for you. That is one funny story and I love that you thought of the coins. I am glad that you at least had a diversion for a couple of hours and you won! My prayers are with you. Thinking of you always! Katie

Sam said...

Love it, just love it! You guys rock!

hughesd2000 said...

Good for you guys!! The Diet Coke was a very nice touch. I was laughing out loud at that point in the story! You two definitely make a great team and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during the debacle. Funny! Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers!!

Love,
Dana

Anonymous said...

Now that is a nice twist on what could have been a really crappy situation. I’m going to keep the diet coke trick in mind next time I need to stick it to someone!

I'll be thinking of you both and praying for you daily. You are truly an inspiring pair.

Love,
Serge’s Sarah

Brooke said...

I've been wondering what to do with my coins (we used to cash them in and buy a Christmas tree with them every year, but the trees are out until we can figure out better logistics). And now I know what I'm saving them up for.

I wanted both of you to know I'm thinking of you. Cancer sucks. No matter which way you look at it. Cancer sucks. That's all.

Tyler said...

That's a great ending to a crazy story Meg. First thing I thought was that it is pretty symbolic with your guys fight right now. Just think when everything was piling up against you, you still came out on top. So remember everything happens for a reason and it will eventually work itself out in the end.

-Tyler

Anonymous said...

Stay strong Waeger...every time I meet someone or have a client that is diagnosed with cancer, I immediately think of your strong, resilient and uplifting spirit. It allows me to help support them with positive comments. You have truly been an inspiration to me.

When I heard that you were starting to feel a little down about things, it was almost as if it created a chink in my armor...I felt that if you were weak, I was weak as a result...I can't think like that...I don't need you to be strong for me...I need to be strong for you...we all do...what you have gone through is not fair, but you have accepted what lies in front of you and pushed through it...You have a great support system, including a wonderful, best friend in Meg, that should be here to help you get through this...You are doing the hard part and I can't even begin to imagine your daily struggles...But with that being said, I can't thank you enough for being you - I am so glad I asked you in Lavin's business ethics class to live with me, Carbomb and Z...

I will never forget all that you have, and will continue to spread to your friends and families. You are such a true friend and I consider myself so lucky to be able to call you my friend. Love you forever.

Lowy

Brooke said...

the email update. Sounds like it is a lot to take in but nothing you guys can't handle! WWW. I am thinking of you and your families. Now about that comment..great suggestion. I hate the Steelers!!!

Jannine said...

Dan- I am so sorry to hear the news, but if there is anyone I know that will kick the S*** out of this cancer crap it is you! You are always in my prayers.

Love, Jannine

Anonymous said...

First of all, you guys rock. Having had my car towed before, I can definitely attest to the fact those places are beyond shady. The Diet Coke was a nice touch, although Ms. Butterworth and Aunt Jamima called and said they would have liked in on the action.

Dan, I just read your email, and know that our thoughts are always with you, and our support is unwavering. Whenever I am having a rough day, I look at a yellow Post-It note that I have hanging on my cubicle wall with a quote from a blog post that you wrote back in August.

“But we do regain the control. None of us are helpless. We have the support of others. We have the experiences from before to draw on. We are not passive witnesses to our own lives. After tomorrow, I’m still going to have control.”

Cancer has never had you Dan, and it never will. WWW!

-Craig

Rose (Fee) Aaron said...

Go Meg, Go Dan! Before I finished reading the blog, I was getting ready to call Walt to tell him to find out the name of that rotten company so I could call them an verbally flip them the bird (Eagles' fans are particularly good at that). Instead, I waited until the end of the blog. Now, I feel like running around my office dancing and singing the Rocky song -- you made 'em eat crap (they deserved to eat much worse)! I am SOOOO happy they got what was coming to them! Love ya both and thinking all good things for you...

Rose said...

Dan, Meg,

All of your golf pals and their wives have you both in their prayers and thoughts. Hang tough, Superman, you're a hero and an inspiration!

Love ya!

Rose & Steve

Anonymous said...

I love that you went with sticky money... back in my grocery cashier days I kept a special stash of "dirty" money for the not so nice people that came through my line. Private revenge... it's a good thing.

Sending love and prayers.
Andrea K.

Melissa said...

You are my heroes!!!!

Anonymous said...

best entry yet!

I'd love it if the towing company knew about and read this blog.

I'm always thinking about you guys, and will amp up the prayers.

Oh and I was wondering if anyone knew the name of that high school team Clemson scrimaged the other night. You'd think they wouldnt televise something that embarrassing. I think they were wearing Blue jerseys.

McCormick

Anonymous said...

loved this post and vengeance was yours! i also love the lesson here: things can be crappy, things can seem unfair—but you stood up for yourselves, pushed through and came out on top. my thoughts and prayers are with you both!!!
Waeger Will Win,
LFord

Anonymous said...

Great post...Lowy said it best with his comment. We need to continue to be strong for you and really grasp how well you've handled everything that's been dealt your way.

I can't tell you how many times and how proud I am each time to explain my green wristband, and who and what it represents. Always in my thoughts and prayers, buddy.

That being said...I love Duke, the Steelers, and you!

Steve-o

Megan said...

You two have amazing courage and strength as a TEAM!

Thinking about you.
Love,
Meg (Patrice's friend)

Anonymous said...

Dan thanks for the update buddy. Meg you are the best - I had my car towed numerous times in college. I hate those jerks!
Keep fighting my man. Just like the steelers down 3 with 2 minutes to play. At least Arizona covered the spread!
Stoney

Anonymous said...

You guys rock! What a week! Glad to see that the amazing duo continues to fight evil in the world :) ps, Meg, love the Breakfast Club mention at the end--thinking of you, Jen and Karl

monster said...

truly inspiring -- i think i'll try this the next time i get towed! stay strong both of you, e.j.

Anonymous said...

I have been worrying about Meg since the serious news came Wed. It seems she is fine and very strong as usual. You both are such inspirations to everyone. I am so blessed to have you both in my life. Love forever, Mom Cicily

Michael Bergin said...

Megan - perhaps you have a little PG County in you despite your Montgomery County upbringing!!! After working with Dan, I did not realize that he could count that high with coins. Hang in there, plenty of extra prayers from CT.
Peace,
Michael

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Hi,
I just discovered your blog, and what a great post for my introduction. Thanks.

I've been living, reading, writing, breathing "Healthy Survivorship" for over 18 years now. My meltdowns were definitely over smaller events than this.

You might enjoy swinging over to my blog on Healthy Survivorship, which is not a memoir but a discussion among doctors, nurses, patients, caregivers about getting good care and finding happiness.

btw, I'll never look at a Smoothie King or coin jar the same way again.

With hope,
Wendy
www.wendyharpham.typepad.com

Anonymous said...

Dan,
Sorry to hear about the latest news. Your in my thoughts and prayers. Glad to see you still found the strength to "stick it to the man!" Great story...
"X"

Anonymous said...

Meg, I loved the story and if my car ever gets towed, I will definitely know what to do. You are both in our thoughts and prayers. Joe and I love you both so much. Stay Strong!

Love- The Meirs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan and Meg - Just wanted to let you guys know we're thinking about you and praying for you always. Stay strong...WWW!

Love,
The LaMotte's

Urbans said...

Dan & Meg,

Just want you to know we are all praying hard for you over here while in Hawaii--we went to a new church and as Granny always said you get to ask for 3 wishes when you enter a brand new church--so we believe they will all come true!
Stay strong! We beleiev in you!
Love, Patrice, James, Brielle & Cassidy

Devon said...

That was the best story! Keeping you in my thoughts!
xoxo
devon

Suzpotts said...

Tow company jerks=0
Dan and Meg=1 (should be 1,000!)
Stay strong and know that all are thinking and praying for you!
Best,
Suz

Obsessedwithlife said...

Yay-awesome story :).

And I will pray hard for your scans/testing/treatment stuff!!

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Dan and Meg,
Thoughts and prayers are with you both! Stay strong!
Love,
The Geraci's

Linda said...

That is the funniest - so many parts of it I would have loved to have seen - the look on your faces DURING the pouring of the Diet Coke (and I'm hopeful there was an evil laugh or two in there), you sitting there waiting for the cops, and you driving away (again, hoping for an evil laugh or smirk!)

Your friends in Indy are praying for and loving you both!

LH

Anonymous said...

I wish you would have called me. I could have offered you some tips to help out in a situation like that one. TWB...

Anonymous said...

holy cow. what a story! it made me laugh and it certainly would be a great scene in a movie. and, it also made me think that i wanted you to know i was thinking of you both..
take care,
tamra b

Anonymous said...

Loved, loved, loved your story about the car towing. Good for you!!! We think of you always.
Love, Mrs. M. (Joe's Mom)