The date: january 31, 2003
I stood on the train platform in Westchester trying to figure out my next move. After discerning that my car was in no shape to drive back to the DEALERSHIP, much less Massachusetts, Christina’s old boss generously offered to use his AAA account to tow my car back to the service hangar for a transmission overhaul. However, there was still the problem of ME getting home. And then, if one spun things out just a bit further, there was also the problem of getting the CAR home without me.
But no matter, it was New Year’s, I’d spent all my money on gas, booze, and a ticket into the club, not to mention the ridiculously expensive, horribly ill-fitting shirt I’d bought in a panic the day before we left. It was total rock bottom, finance and transport-wise, and fuck if I wasn’t going to enjoy it. Pictures of that night show Christina and I, garishly made-up, doused in sparkles and fondling bottles of champagne. I, on the other hand, remember being rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. We were crammed into the club’s basement, I barely knew anybody we were out with, and there wasn’t even a midnight countdown. That said, there WAS an open bar until 12 and some free food, plus the tangential thrill I always get from being in New York. By the end of the night I had almost forgotten about the whole car incident, carried away on a river of Moet Chandon and Ketel One. Another evening I met up with Kaia, my beloved college roommate. I went on a solo drinking mission then took a cab cross-town to meet her at her bartending gig near closing time. We spent hours catching up, drinking high-test, high-sugar martinis for free, bitching about Ford and money and men, then stumbled to a nearby restaurant for fried oyster po’boys. We were out until some ungodly hour of the morning, and as she pulled into the apartment where Christina and I were staying, I realized that at some point I had lost my keys. I spent the night at Kaia’s parents’ place in Jersey. It was glorious.
Sadly, one can only hide behind booze for so long, and I had some real shit to figure out. The next afternoon I was on the phone and online, trying to ascertain my chances of being reimbursed by Ford for travel. In the end, i took the path of least resistance and booked a ticket for myself on the Chinatown to Chinatown “Lucky Star” coach. Not quite Acela Express, but I just didn’t have the money to travel in style. The five-hour bus ride gave me ample time to formulate a plan of attack. As I sipped on my road soda (20 ounces of rum and diet coke), I considered my options.
1) have Ford reimburse me for the gas and tolls I’d incur when I drove down and back to get the car once it was fixed. Pro: another weekend in NYC Con: i had no money for lodging, drinks, food, and also no time.
2) have Ford tow the car back to boston. Pro: no travel Con: my car would be towed back to boston
3) have Ford find somebody to drive my car back for me. Pro: I don’t have to lift a finger Con: virtually nothing.
Now all I had to do was convince Ford of that. And they didn’t know who the fuck they were dealing with.
The next two weeks were a whirlwind of angry phone calls to my dealer (you’re FUCKING RIGHT I’m getting a free rental!!), angry calls to Ford Roadside Assistance (WHAT DO YOU MEAN you don’t tow over 10 miles??), and a strongly-worded letter to the Better Business Bureau copied to Ford Motor Company HQ. The car only had 18,000 miles on it, so it was still under warrantee but, I though, outside the jurisdiction of the Lemon law. I became well acquainted with the head of customer service at Muzi Motors, one Mr. Frank Johnson, who received several phone calls a day for five days straight. I emergerd from my apologetic girl’s chrisalys to become MEGABITCH, threatening legal action and swearing at service reps. In the end, Ford did capitulate, hiring a driver to guide my car from the dealership in New York to the dealership in Needham, MA, but I have to tell you, I was a worse person for it.
OH BUT WAIT!! IT’S NOT OVER YET!!
Part 3 coming later today or Monday, whenever I feel like writing more.