Thursday, August 29, 2013

Carl Just Missed the Tow Truck Guy So Much...

So yesterday morning, my car wouldn't start.

I turned the key in the ignition. No response. Complete silence and immobility from my usually-reliable Carl the Car.

(Don't look at me; my brother-in-law named him. I think.)

I tried a couple more times, jiggling the gear around, trying to get some kind of response and... still nothing. I gave up and called the dealership where Jason works. My friend Sarah, who also works there, picked up the phone.

"Guess who's car won't start today?" I sing-songed by way of greeting.

After a slight 'oh-god-a-crazy-person-is-calling' pause, Sarah replies, "Okaaaay, what kind of car is it?"

This is when I realize she doesn't recognize my voice right off the bat, because my car is famously one of those cars that mechanics swear were designed by the devil just to make their lives tough. Sarah and Carl have met before.

I decided to just keep talking, trying to decide how long it'd take her to figure out it's me. Turns out all it takes is the words "2000 Mercury Cougar" leaving my mouth.

There aren't that many out there besides me. I always wave at the others. They wave back. We're like a badly-designed gang.

Sarah says she'll send the tow truck out, and that's that. Jason calls me when she tells him what's going on, and I walk him through the issue. We both sort of verbally shrug at each other, and I settle in to wait.

... and wait.

Then I waited some more.

I received phone calls at 8:15, 8:45 and 9:20, each time the towing company apologizing for the wait and explaining that they were dealing with an insane amount of demand, and they'd get somebody out as fast as they could. I stayed inside at first, but... there was a problem with being inside.

I had already crated the dog. I couldn't be sure when the tow guy would show up, and I hesitated to take him out only to have to shove him right back in. At around the 8:50 or 9 AM mark, the dog started to cry because he couldn't understand why he was still locked up if I was home. Dogs crying is a terrible sound and I have a very soft heart.

If you think at this point in the story I let the dog out, you misunderstand me. I have a soft heart and a really small tolerance for wrangling Indy when he doesn't want to go inside. Both at the same time.

So I waited outside where I couldn't hear him.

I tried to tell myself I was enjoying the morning sunshine, but really I spent most of an hour day-dreaming about what it might be like to live in Northern Canada this time of year.

I continued, every few minutes, to try to start the car. Carl remained silent.

Sometime before 10, although not by much, the tow truck guy showed up. He also tried to start the car. Carl all but stuck his tongue out at us.

So he had me get in behind the wheel, planning to shift it into neutral so he could push it. I turned the key in the ignition just as he went to push, and...

my car started.

The tow truck guy and I met eyes in what can only be called mutual consternation. We decided to take it in anyway, since he was going to get paid for the tow regardless, and I didn't want to drive to work and then promptly discover the car wouldn't start when it was time to go home.

Around 10:30, I ended up at the dealership, hanging out with Jason at his desk while they tried to figure out what was wrong with my car. I went to lunch with him at noon, and we still didn't know. We decided to have them throw new back tires on, since I was deeply and desperately in need of them and we were here anyway.

I figured the tires would be ready when we got back and I could leave shortly after lunch. We ate at Panera, and it made me deeply want to work in the same city, so we could always have lunch together. Which is kind of smooshy and sappy, but deal with it.

My blog, my marriage, my sappy love songs.

When we got back from lunch... there were no tires. The tires for my car apparently live in Greer and someone had been sent to go get them. He would be back shortly, I was told. So I shrugged and figured I'd settle in and probably be out by 2..

You're probably already guessing where this is going.

Around 2:30, we realized no one seemed to know where the tire guy was. He hadn't ever come back. My car was forlornly static and sad in a mechanic's stall, awaiting them. We discovered when the poor guy returned that he had been slowed to a standstill by two seperate wrecks on the 'shortcut' he'd taken to get there.

The unnervingly cheerful tech started working on my car, and I was outta there...

at 4:30.


I made it home a half an hour earlier than I would have normally for my regular workday, let the dog out, and shoved him out into the yard to let him run before dinner.

I told Jason that this was basically the worst, most unwilling version of not being at work ever. When you're sick, at least you're home. There are floors to sweep and doggie faces to snuggle.

The worst part was, I kinda wanted to be at work. All I wanted to do was go count postcards for our mailing and be done with it. It is a very sad day when you are not at work and you actually want to be there.

On the other hand, though, I spent my day talking to Jason while he did his work, laughing, spending time with my husband. That was definitely awesome and more than made up for the being stuck there, since I was able to be stuck there with him.

Okay, that's the end of the smooshy stuff.

There's a Starbucks on the way between my house and my doctor and I had a follow-up from the medical thing this morning, so on my way back I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. The barista, when I asked her if a ton of people were taking advantage of them being out early this year, for some reason thought that I had asked what the drink was like, and started trying to describe it to me.

I held up a hand to stop her in the middle of the description of the color of the syrup. "No worries. I have made this drink seven hundred different ways in a bookstore across town. I have had my weight in pumpkin spice lattes. Trust me. I know this drink. We are acquainted."

I drank it quite happily all the way back home to throw on real clothes and go to work for the day.

I'd start every day with a pumpkin spice latte... if we didn't have a mortgage to pay. Well, no, I probably wouldn't. That much sugar would probably make my pancreas do a hideous tap dance of failure.

But I would definitely have one way more often than our budget (or said pancreas) would ever really allow.

Oh, and as far as why my car wouldn't start? The official diagnosis, in the end, came to we don't know. Jason thinks Carl just missed seeing the tow truck guy. Now they've had a chance to visit and hopefully that'll be the last time.

But hey, I got really nice new tires out of it... that counts for something, right?


  1. Heh, I've had some days like this. They start out as a pain in the ass but somehow end up being pretty awesome, in a weird way. :)

    My first car was a '99 Mercury Tracer. It got totaled 3 years later in a head-on collision when some asshole veered into my lane. I bought a Honda Civic with the insurance money, and have since THANKS MY LUCKY STARS that my old car got wrecked, because if it hadn't been in an accident, it would most definitely have prematurely died of natural causes related to being a shitty car from a shitty period in a shitty car company's manufacturing history.

    I just realized that relating this anecdote makes it sound like the moral of my story is that you should definitely get your car wrecked. That's not where I meant to go with this.

    1. Hey, Carl's been good to me! Mostly. But he's getting old and it's starting to show, I think. I've replaced multiple batteries, tires, the alternator... something else at some point... this car's had more work done than Pamela Anderson.

      Really, I'll take any day where I get to spend it all with Jason, no matter the circumstances.


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