It was winter during my junior year when I had a particularly rough Friday night. It was at that point in the season when it was so cold that my nipples were permanently locked in the "hard-on" position. Seriously, I couldn't make sudden turns without the fear of severely taking out someone's eye. This is usually the period in the school year when people begin to hibernate due to the extreme weather. You don't see some of your friends until the later stages of March, usually with an additional few pounds on their mid-section they've been storing up for heat and sustenance.

Begrudgingly, I parked in a spot labeled "Resident Only." A feeling of uncertainty began to form in the pit of my stomach. There is one way to get any college student out in below freezing temperatures and that is the promise of free booze. Thus it was this particular Friday night that one of my friends was throwing a party at their house. I wasn't sure if they were throwing the party because they really wanted to, or because such an influx of people in such a confined space would provide enough body heat to keep their house warm for at least three weeks. Student housing, while cheap and affordable, usually didn't come with heat. Or air conditioning. It did, however, come with cockroaches and the terrifying threat of structural collapse at any moment.

Having spent the majority of my evenings within the walls of my own apartment, refusing to leave for anything other than class and food, I decided that Friday was the night I was finally going to suck it up. Had this been any day between the months of April and October, I wouldn't have had a problem walking across campus to my friend's house. But it was January. And that wasn't going to happen. I also decided that if I was going to leave the comfort of my apartment to spend the evening, shoulder-to-shoulder, in an unheated, rat-infested house, I wasn't going to do it alone. So I hopped into my 1991 Toyota Tercel (a car arguably in the best of its class when it was initially manufactured during the first Bush administration) and drove the three blocks to my friend Kara's house.

Let me preface what eventually happens next with the following conversation:

"Hey," I said, pulling up outside of her building, "I'm out front."

"Oh, you are?" she replied, sounding flustered. "I'm not ready yet. Come upstairs."

"There's no parking spots on the street," I answered.

"Just park in the lot across the street," she said, dismissively.

"Isn't that a private lot? I don't want to get towed," I said, glancing wearily over at the lot clearly marked "PRIVATE LOT. PERMIT ONLY. VIOLATERS WILL BE TOWED AT OWNER'S EXPENSE."

"You'll only be parked there for like, two minutes. Just come on, I need your help picking out an outfit," she snapped.

I wanted to remind her that we were going to a party where she most likely wouldn't be removing her coat anyway, without the threat of frostbite, but decided against it.

"Alright, fine." I turned into the lot. "I'll be up in a second."

Begrudgingly, I parked in a spot labeled "Resident Only." A feeling of uncertainty began to form in the pit of my stomach. As I made my way across the street to her building, I took one last look in the direction of my car, just to make sure it was still there. It was.

After helping her find the appropriate attire (she chose jeans and a tank top, infinitely more attractive than my own jeans and hoodie combination), we locked up and began making the trek back to my car. I followed behind her, my focus on the steps below as they looked like they could give out at any moment, both of us succumbing to death by tumble.

"Oh, did you find a spot on the street?" she asked as we exited the building, the Arctic air hitting my face like I'd just been slapped the way a Midwestern housewife is for not having dinner on the table by 6 p.m.—or like the one Chris Brown uses to say "I love you."

"No, I parked in the lot over there." I pointed to the complex lot across the street.

"Where's your car?"

"Huh?"

My eyes flew to the spot where I had parked the Tercel. Only it was no longer there, just an empty space. If it hadn't been for the oil spot marking the snow and tire treads, I would've sworn my car had never actually been there in the first place.

"Where's your car?" she repeated.

And then, as if on cue, a tow truck drove by on the road directly in front of us, with my car attached to the back.

"Aw, fuck." The words tumbled out of my mouth.

I walked over to the lot and dialed the number of the tow company listed on the sign, glaring over at Kara. She was apologizing profusely, throwing out excuses like, "I park over here all the time and have never gotten towed," and, "I'm so sorry, I have never seen a tow truck over here ever," and finally, "At least we found me a really good outfit, right?"

He gave me the once-over as I spoke, and I shuddered at his, what could only interpreted as, eye-fuck. "Kenwood Towing," a gruff male voice answered on the other line.

"Hi, yes, I am down in Clifton right now and my car just got towed by one of your trucks," I began.

"We're located in Colerain, you can come pick it up right now," he cut me off.

"Well, actually sir," I said sweetly, "I can see the truck right now, it's at the redlight at the end of my street. Can you ask the guy to turn around? I'll pay him right now."

"No."

"What?" I wasn't sure I heard him correctly.

"I said no," he barked at me.

"But I can see him." I pointed to the truck, as though the guy on the phone could see me. "He's right there. I can see my car."

"Nope."

My mouth hung open as I looked from the tow truck, still visible down the street, to Kara, who stared at me questioningly.

"We close at 10 p.m., so I'd suggest getting down here soon," he continued, before rattling off their address.

I hung up the phone, bitterly defeated.

"Don't speak." I held up my hand, silencing Kara before she had a chance to talk.

I was extremely cold and extremely pissed, and certainly in no mood to hear her apologies.

"I'll drive," she said quietly, leading the way to her own car, parked directly in front of her building.

The lot where my car was being held hostage was located in Colerain, a roughly forty minute drive away from where we were. Neither of us spoke for the duration of the ride, choosing instead to listen to the club music our local radio station thought was appropriate to play every Friday and Saturday night. Needless to say, I was in no mood for the remix of Enrique Iglesias' Hero (hey, it was the early 2000's, okay?) as we made our way onto the highway. We made it to the tow lot two minutes before they closed.

"Hello," I said, approaching the desk manned by a guy who looked like he'd been storing up enough body fat to last him the entire winter, plus fifty more like it.

"What?"

I instantly recognized the angry tone as the one I'd heard on my phone about an hour prior.

"My car was just towed, we spoke on the phone." He gave me the once-over as I spoke, and I shuddered at his, what could only interpreted as, eye-fuck. "It's the blue Toyota Tercel."

His eyes continued to molest my body before he reluctantly turned to look down at some paperwork in front of him.

"Ashley Garmany?" he questioned.

"Yeah, that's me." It took everything I had to keep the disgust from showing on my face.

Thirty minutes and $200 later, I had my car back. The last time I was that excited about being in my car was the day I first got it, back when I was still enthralled with the idea of having my own car, no matter how shitty it was. This was multiple trips to the repair shop and several thousand dollars ago.

Kara and I walked out to the lot, my anger having slightly dissipated at getting my car back.

"I need alcohol." They were the first and only words that came out of my mouth.

The entire tow situation was certainly not the way I pictured the night going. And with the dozens of texts I had received in the past hour from my friends already at the party:

Where r u?

Bring more beer!

Are u coming?

im drnk alrdy, can u brig pizza?

I wanted nothing more than to consume copious amounts of whatever substance would help me forget this horrible experience and rid myself of the ugly feeling the towyard creep's leering eyes had left on my body.

"You still want to go to the party?" she asked, hesitantly, afraid that I would explode with rage at any minute.

"Yes," I said, continuing on to my car. "I'll meet you there."

It was close to midnight by the time we actually made it there and most everyone was either drunk already or well on their way. I decided to play catch up and immediately began chugging beer after beer. Clearly not in the state of mind to make any good decisions, I probably should've just gone home and stayed in for the night. But my anger and need to erase the events of the evening overtook any rational thought I might have had. It ended up progressing into one of the nights where I wouldn't have been surprised to wake up with no pants on. Much to my delight, however, I awoke on my friend's couch, fully clothed.

My delight was quickly crushed once everyone else around me woke up and decided to fill me in on another "Classic Garmany Drunk Move." As the party began to wind down, I claimed a spot on one of the couches to sleep (or so I was told, I have no memory of anything after my third game of beer pong). Several other people decided to stay over as well, turning the television on to watch a few episodes of Family Guy to end the evening. In the middle of a particularly harrowing episode in which Peter learns a valuable lesson, I got up from my fetal position on the sofa, and stood directly in front of the TV. My friends thought I was just being a dick by purposely blocking the TV, but soon realized I was sleep-walking.

This realization came as soon as I pulled down my pants and underwear and popped a squat, right there in the middle of the living room. Mistaking the bare hardwood floor for a toilet, I proceeded to piss out the entire contents of my bladder…then attempt to flush the space heater….and finally pull my underwear and pants back up, before plopping back down on the couch, as though nothing out of the ordinary had just occurred.

While cleaning up my own urine off the cold floor the next morning, I realized that I should've listened to my better judgment and just gone home last night rather than try to curb my anger with alcohol. Unfortunately, that's a lesson that required being knee-deep in my own piss to learn.

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