Car Trouble

Anyone who knows me could probably tell you that I have had some pretty bad luck with vehicles, in my day. I won’t deny that some of this is entirely my own fault. When I was younger, I was not the most responsible, or skilled, driver. I also don’t take the best care of my cars; I don’t keep up with maintenance, I don’t always notice when something is starting to go wrong, plus, because of where I live, I drive them on shitty roads everyday, which is bound to tear them up eventually.

Even taking all of this into consideration, I still feel like I have had more than my fair share of what can only be classified as plain old bad luck. I have been in more wrecks than I care to think about, some of which were downright surreal. Fingers crossed, I have not been in any accidents for quite a few years now. Instead, I have recently been plagued by random and abrupt failures of different parts of my cars, that easily could cause an accident. I may get into some of the other instances later but, for now, let’s talk about the most recent one, the reason that I am, yet again, without a vehicle.

I was on my way to Kroger, to pick up my grocery order. For the last several months, my sister has always gone with me to do this, and we have taken her car. This time, I went on my own. Since I live in the middle of nowhere, the trip to Kroger takes around forty-five minutes. I was probably ten or fifteen minutes away from my destination when a cop pulled out behind me. You would think that after working for the police department (however briefly) this would not make me an absolute nervous wreck, but it does.

So I’m watching the cop in my rearview, and silently begging him to turn off somewhere, for maybe two or three minutes. Then, these lights on my dashboard suddenly flash on, and my car just starts to feel kind of . . . weird. I’m thinking, “Fuck, I’m going to break down in the middle of the road, right in front of this cop.” I consider pulling over but, 1- I have an appointment to pick of groceries that I need. 2- There is a good chance this guy will stop too, and I really don’t want to deal with him. So I keep going, dividing my attention between the cop car, the dashboard lights and, kind of, the road.

I come to a stop light and the cop turns his lights on. For a second, my heart drops, and I wonder how he could tell that my vehicle was failing. Then he cuts his wheel and flies past me, through the red light, up a hill, and out of sight. I was incredibly relieved, but also a bit doubtful. I just don’t know if I believe that he happened to get a call at the same instant that light turned red, but whatever, at least he wasn’t behind me anymore.

You may wonder why I bothered to include this whole thing about the cop. It may seem kind of irrelevant, and maybe it is, but here’s why I told it anyway. I often think that I have some kind of, super inconvenient, mutant powers. If I’m angry, or nervous, or stressed, the odds of anything electrical, technological, mechanical, in my vicinity malfunctioning goes up by about ninety percent. So, I feel like my car had been thinking about breaking down for a while, then that cop car got behind me, I freaked out and my shitty X-Men powers pushed it over the edge.

Anyway, I make it to Kroger and, as I’m pulling into the parking lot, two more lights come on. Now my dashboard looks like a cheesy Christmas decoration. A guy brings my groceries out to my car, it takes like five minutes, which is great. I hurry out of the lot, just hoping that my car will hold out for the drive home. Spoilers, it didn’t. I make it for about five minutes, then my headlights go dark and my car starts doing this weird jerking thing, when I push on the gas. I realize that it is definitely going to just stop, so I try to turn off of the four-lane road that I am currently on, and into a parking lot.

I made it off the main road, but my engine shut off completely just as I turned onto a smaller road, about three feet from the parking lot I was aiming for. Then I was just stuck, with cars having to pull around me and people staring at me like I was an asshole, which I was. I called my dad, just hoping that no one would crash into me before he could get there and help me move out of the road.

After a couple of minutes, some guy stopped and offered to help me. He was super nice about it, and kind of restored my faith in humanity a little. He had me pop my hood and said that maybe it just needed a jump. He went back to his car to get his jumper cables, then yelled, “Fuck! I just dropped them off earlier today!” I couldn’t remember if I had jumper cables or not but, if I did, they were buried under the groceries I had just picked up. Plus, I was fairly certain that jumping it was not going to fix the problem. So I told the guy not to worry about it, that my dad was on his way. Then another car stopped and the first guy talked to two other guys, who agreed that they should at least shove me into the parking lot. They got me, mostly, out of the way and I thanked them all profusely. Then sat there and waited for my dad.

Naturally, this was one of the coldest nights all year, I think it was in the teens, so I sat there and shivered, and tried to ignore the people giving me dirty looks, because I was still kind of in the way. My dad got there and managed to get my car running long enough for me to get about ten minutes closer to home, before it shut off again and we abandoned it in the parking lot of a high school.

The next day was Sunday, so it took us forever to even get ahold of anyone who would tow it, and no shops were open, so we didn’t know where to have it towed to anyway. Finally, my mom called somebody that she knew, who dropped it at a shop that wasn’t even open, but that he thought would probably be willing to work on it. Now I’m still just waiting to hear how much more money I’m going to have to throw at this thing to get it back on the road.

I think the moral of this story is that I need to move somewhere where I don’t have to drive.


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