Car Trouble

How’s this for a story:

After a fairly raucous evening at Old Chicago, I headed home at 1 AM. At 1:15 AM, on I-80, my car lost its will to live. It sputtered out enough life to get me safely to the shoulder, and I was able to keep it on life support to provide heat, but when I tried putting it into gear, it died.

I was calm–even though now I am shaking from the adrenaline and the realization of how close I came to being harmed. I called my mom and dad’s house first, and luckily, my mom is a bit of a night owl. I couldn’t find the roadside assistance number for my insurance and needed her to look it up, but once my eyes focused and my head stopped racing, I found the number on the back of my insurance card.

My insurance company located a tow truck and suggested I call 911 to ask for a police officer to sit behind me, because his lights would be easier to see than my hazards. So I called 911.

The genius who took my call said she’d try to send someone, but it was a busy night and I probably wouldn’t see anyone. I locked my doors and waited.

About 10 minutes later, a police officer showed up, checked in with me, and said he’d wait until I had an ETA on the tow. About a minute after he showed up, an SUV pulled up behind me. The officer approached and asked if they were friends of mine.

They admitted they didn’t know me, but had stopped to help. The police officer wasn’t buying it. The SUV eventually left, and the officer offered to take me home.

I checked with the insurance company to see if I needed to be there for the tow truck, and when they determined I could leave, I headed to the back of the police car.

Have you ever been in the back of a police car? It is mighty uncomfortable. The seats are molded plastic, and for me, Miss 5 feet, 2 inches, there was little leg room. I noticed I had a text message, checked it–my friend Becca was on her way to get me.

It was 1:40 AM by this time, which is why I was just going to wait for the tow truck. I don’t like asking for help in the light of day; no way was I going to ask for it at such a horrid hour. But despite my reassurances to my friend Kim that I was okay, she called Becca, who lives not far from me, and dispatched her to my rescue.

So I sat in the back of the police car while I waited for Becca, and I chatted with the police officer.

“It’s a good thing I was here,” he said. “Those guys were sketchy. I’m positive they stopped to rob you, or worse. If I had asked their names, I probably could have pulled something up and arrested one of them.”

So now it is 2:30 AM, and I’m waiting for the tow truck company to show up with my car so I can go to bed. My mom will take me to my chiropractor appointment, but after that, I’m carless. Not that I don’t have enough to do in my apartment–I need to pack for Florida, and clean, and do laundry–but I was also hoping to run errands and have lunch with my sister.

But I’m also stressed about my car. I’m not ready to buy a new one–I’ve grown quite accustomed to not having a car payment for the past five years. I fear I’m going to have to make some significant lifestyle changes so I can have reliable transportation.

So. That’s how my Christmas break started. It reminds me of the start of Christmas break two years ago, when I spent the first three days throwing up every ounce of food or drink that ever entered my body. That sucked. So does this.

I think I’d rather have the flu.

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