Friday, July 22, 2005


Have you ever been so angry, you were actually seeing red? I mean, not just pissed off, not even so mad you want to hit something or yell. I mean angry to the point where you start to see odd flashes of color before your eyes, and maybe even feel a bit light-headed.

Well, that was me about two hours ago. Frequent blog readers will recall that, over the past several weeks, I've been having car battery woes. First, my car died in the parking lot behind Laser Blazer, and a friendly crew member working on a Subway commerical gave me a jump start. I got the battery replaced the next day.

Then, about a week later, the damn thing died again. And it's not just that the car won't start - it makes this sad little noise, like it wants to start but just can't manage it, and then there's this high-pitched annoying click. Seriosuly, I thought I might have accidentally parked on an ancient Indian burial ground or something, because how else would be Nissan Altima contract a poltergiest?

This time with no friendly Subway Restaurant contractors around, so I had to have it towed to Pep Boys. They told me that first battery was faulty, and that they would put in a brand spanking new one that would work fine.

Cut to tonight. For no good reason, I decide to go to the video store to return some movies, even though I'm not even working today. Midway through the ride home, I'm cruising through Pico Blvd., when my car starts to vibrate violently before shutting itself off.

Oh great.

So I angle the car to the side of the road and manage to pull it into the parking lot of a local dry cleaners. And here is when I notice that, in a desperate attempt to restart the car by jiggling the key around, I have broke the key off in the ignition. There is no back-up key.

And that's when I totally lose it. I won't get into specifics, but certain portions of the car's interior were stabbed with a key, certain dashboard areas may have been punched or bludgeoned, and more than one booket containing burned CD's was sent aloft. In fact, I banged my wrist pretty hard, and it still kind of hurts when I type.

And then I called my parents and took out some of my frustration on them, and then I called AAA and waited on hold for about 20 hours. Okay, maybe not that long, but if I had started Gone With the Wind when the car first broke down, at least two people would have been kicked off of horses by the time the tow truck arrived.

And while on hold, I was still really angry. It was taking a long time, and they were playing really annoying 80's music. It was that weird old song where the guy's going "What did you think...I would do at this moment", but a musak version without the actual guy singing. And then a recorded woman's voice would come on and say "PLEASE REMAIN ON THE LINE FOR OUR NEXT AVAILABLE OPERATOR..." And every time I would hear that woman's voice, I would get pissed off all over again. So one time, when the woman's voice came on, I just started yelling profanity into the phone.

Can you tell where I'm going with this? Yeah, that last time, it wasn't actually a recorded woman's voice...but a woman. Who proceeded to hang up on me. Or at least I thought she hung up on me. She actually just transferred me to another helpful AAA named Dante who actually took the call. I can't say I blame the initial operator - I wouldn't want to help some stranded motorist who had just referred to me by a naughty word (rhyming with "runt"!) even if he did do it inadvertedly.

I even got into a fight with Dante the AAA guy on the phone. Now, this is not a recommended strategy, to argue with the guy who's about to send you a tow truck. My whole life at that point is dependant on this guy getting a truck out to my location, and I'm giving him shit over a $45 towing fee. What an asshole.

Anyway, the tow truck driver essentially refuses to drop my car off in front of the Nissan dealership where I need to take it. He argues that it's not in a good neighborhood, and the car could be stolen off the street, or stripped for parts. (I can't lock the doors, of course, because the key is broken!)

So we have to pull it into my driveway, which is hard because my driveway is constantly bustling with approximately 500,000 Mexican children, many of them suffering from some disorder resembling advanced ADHD. Trying to get them out of the way, clearing a route for the tow truck, was a task akin to securing the Sunni Triangle. Seriously, the Hell's Angels had an easier time controlling the crowd at Altamont than I had with the driveway kids tonight.

But it worked eventually, and right now my car is hanging out, broken, wide open, in the driveway beneath my apartment. Even if I get it fixed tomorrow, will my confidence in the car ever return? I think I'll probably drive around in it now constantly worried that it's about to die at any second. The Altima is now like that friend who once bailed out on going to the concert with you at the last second. Even years later, after they've apologized and made it up to you, and it's not even a big deal any more, you're still wary about inviting them to another concert...just cause you never know...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The "Breakdown" was so vivid that I was forced to relive some heart wrenching moments of my own while anxiously awaiting the "Three A's pick-up tow truck to arrive. Curse the damn automobile manufacturers! There should be a more efficient way of getting a non functioning car off the streets. The worst two telephone calls one has to make. Calling for a "tow-truck" and even more terrifying, calling HOME!