All in all, it was a fairly typical Monday. Halfway to work, my car conked out on the highway, forcing me to coast downhill in the breakdown lane for about a half a mile until I could exit off the nearest off-ramp. Coasting to a stop about 200 yards later, I put on my hazards and prepped myself for the long walk to the nearest gas station -- my cellphone is MIA, you see, so I couldn't actually call AAA from where I was stopped. So I walked to the nearest station and called AAA, and the very nice rep assured me a tow truck would be there in an hour or so.
So I drank some coffee and read the paper and then peeked out the window to check on my car and saw that there was a cop car outside the station and another one way down the road next to my car. My car was sort of blocking the entire morning commute on this particular street, you see, and was causing a bit of a backup. So I went out to talk to the cop and it turned out they'd already run my plates and were about ready to tow my abandoned vehicle. But I explained that the car was mine and then the cop said in this menacing voice, "Okay, but who's Dan Tobin?" I explained that he was my huband and then the cop relaxed a bit and said, "Okay, well it's a good thing HE wasn't driving.... ", a comment I decided to let go because I didn't know what to make of it. So then the cop invited me to get in the back of the cruiser so he could drive me back to my car and wait for AAA with me; I acquiesced and climbed into the back and looked up front at the cop's computer and saw a photo of my college-aged husband staring back at me, ponytail, earring and all; apparently the cop had determined that Dan's Massachustts license had expired in 2002 but not that he actually was legally licensed in another state.
So we got to the car and I waited for a half-hour for the tow truck; then I got towed to the nearest garage and settled into the waiting room for what turned into a three-hour wait for a diagnosis. To kill time I watched a "Price Is Right" episode in which a French grandmother who spoke almost no English managed to win a Ford Focus by guessing its exact price on her very first time; turned out she had gone shopping with her grandson for a Ford Focus just a day earlier and so was pretty familiar with its price points. Later she made it to the Showcase Showdown, passed on the speedboat showcase, ended up with a showcase featuring a bathtub, a day bed and an electric moke, and bid $30,000, overbidding by $14,000.
So eventually, having exhausted morning television and every Family Circle
magazine that the waiting room had to offer, I got lunch, came back, got caught in a rainstorm on the way, and learned that it would cost more than $700 to replace the de-something-or-other in our 12-year-old car.
I'd love to say this was the first time my car has broken down on the way to work. I'd love to say this is the first time my car has broken down and my cellphone has been AWOL. I'd love to say this is the first time my car has broken down at the peak hour of a daily commute. I'd love to say this is the first time I've had to abandon a stalled vehicle only to come back to it a short time later and find a cop parked alongside it, about ready to tow the damn thing. I'd love to say this is the first time I've been forced to get a ride in the back of a cop car because of car trouble. I'd love to say that this was the first time I've had to shell out $700-plus just to get my car running again. Yep, I'd really, really, really love to say all that.
No worries though: three beers and three Tivo'ed episodes of 90210
have calmed my nerves considerably.