I’ve had a history with cars. A lot of bad, bad history. There was my first car, which was done in by an uninsured ex-con, my second car, which was nearly totaled two weeks after I bought it**, and my third car, the current car, which has had more problems than one could conceivably process without four Ativan and a tour guide. But my antidepressants must be working, because in recent weeks I’ve been referring to my car in complimentary terms rather than cursing it as “the car whose transmission blew at 18,000 miles” or “that piece of shit I sued Ford over”. I’ve been relaxed. Complacent. Just the kind of calm you get before the full force of the storm hits you right in the back of the knees.
Despite all my automotive travails and headaches, I’ve never been in an accident that was my own fault. Never, ever, until today.
So I blew a red light (not on purpose) and hit this guy. Total t-bone, he’ll probably need a new rear door and side panel. My car looked fine for all intents and purposes, so after we exchanged information I was like, well, ok, let’s hit the road. I’d made it about a quarter of a mile when something under the hood started making an unpromising sound. I pulled over, turned it off, turned it on again, and something fell apart inside the engine. Plus I could no longer move the steering wheel.
So I called AAA. My dad literally bought the membership for me this past weekend, and I actually caught myself thinking “Hey, what a great coincidence!”. Plus two for my meds. AAA was nice, said they’d be over shortly. It was 2pm. I checked my email, went on Facebook, posted this picture:
and then my phone rang. It was 2:45. It was a recorded message saying that my tow guy was delayed, and apologizing for the inconvenience.
The sun dipped low in the sky. My car got cold, and I exchanged some texts with my director. It was 3:15, it was 3:45.
It was 4. My tow guy was smoking a cigarette in the parking lot next to my car. “Are you the tow guy?” I asked. “Yup”, he replied, and proceeded to hook up the Focus. As he was kneeing the car backwards something snapped and broke near the passenger side tire, part of the wheel well or something, and I unceremoniously ripped whatever it was off and threw it in the backseat. Somehow I’d also managed to step on and break my glasses. Just an aside.
4:15, car hooked on, we headed out on the pike. The day had gotten so ridiculous that I just honestly had to laugh about it, and we had a fine time together until he drove past the Tobin bridge. “Where would you get off to go to the mechanic?” he asked. “Um, back there”, I said, gesturing over my shoulder. I mean, he had a Tom Tom on his dashboard, I thought HE was the navigator! We promptly hit rush hour, and uncomfortable silence ensued.
We didn’t get to the mechanic until 5:00, at which point they were closed. Apparently also, the mechanic didn’t have have a key drop. Right around then, I really started to lose it. I left some fucked up, garbled message on the mechanic’s answering machine, shoved my keys underneath the bay door, had my credit card rejected (REJECTED!) by the tow company, and tearfully began my walk home. “Why walk?” You might ask. “Why didn’t you have your husband pick you up?” Well, my husband’s away, in fact, and there was nobody else to pick me up and give me a ride home.
In all honesty, it was only a 20 minute walk. But I felt bad about it anyway.
I stopped by CVS to pick up my prescriptions en route back to the apartment, though, and picked up my refill of Effexor and my first ever Ritalin scrip. So a day of firsts, I suppose. And, for my car, also possibly a day of lasts. Only the insurance adjuster can tell.
**Have I really never posted about that? WEIRD.