Sam's Space

Random thoughts and experiences about navigating life in New York City.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


I'm not sure if other bloggers out there are like me, but whenever I get on a blogging role I find myself thinking about all the different things I could blog about while I am out and about during the day. And it's not just the topics that run through my head, but I actually draft the blog while in my head. The hard part is remembering all of the things and finding the time to sit down and post. However, I also find it interesting how throughout the day the blog can completely change. For instance, you could be blogging in your head about some great experience and then something can happen and you have to change the blog to something not as positive. Well today's blog in my head definitely took a turn for the worse.

Whenever I am home, I think a lot about the past and a lot about what makes home so special. In fact, I was blogging in my head all about it. I was trying to analyze all the things home means to me-- getting the best night's sleep, food, family and of course driving.

In case you don't know, I never really liked driving. That's part of the reason I love living in the city so much-- no daily driving necessary. Over the years I've gotten much better. I find my way around, are less anxious at the wheel and actually started driving on highways, lol. When I had to drive on a daily basis, even if it was just to and from the train station, I hated it. I hated how if I wanted to go anywhere on LI I had to get in the car. And the fact that I have an old car wasn't very helpful either. I mean who wants to plan a road trip with a car that may not make it to your destination.

So I was thinking about driving-- specifically how I never used to like it but really look forward to it now when I am home. I love to blast the radio. And I love my car. It's old and nothing special, but it's mine. It's a luxury I love. I definitely don't need a car, but it makes it so much easier when I come home to see people and get errands done, etc.

With that said, I still worry about my car. I recently passed the 120K mile marker and for the last 3 years my check engine soon light has come on every now and then for no reason. Plus, my biggest fear is what happens when the car breaks down and it's not worth it to fix it. One of the main reasons I have the car is because financially it's worth it. I got the car from my step-mother when I graduated from high school and passed my road test. It's 13 years old and has a lot of miles. I know it won't be around forever. My dad pays for gas and my insurance for a full year is less than I pay for one month of rent. It just makes sense to have it so when I come home (which seems to be very often lately) I have something to drive and am not housebound and reliant on others. But I've always known, once this car is dead for good, I won't ever have enough money to buy another one.

I drove my car last night and had no problems. I went to the store and a graduation party and it ran as smooth as possible. Today, I was going to my twin cousins' bowling birthday party. I thought it would be fun to see all the kids bowl and I hadn't been home for their actual birthday. Plus, I'd get to see my grandma and my aunt and uncle. Since I was just in the area of the bowling alley yesterday for the other party I went to, I knew the main road would be closed so I had to find a detour. Essentially what should have been a 20 minute ride, turned into a 45 minute trip. I made a stop at 7-11 for a Slurpee and it wasn't until about the 25 minute mark that my car started to act up a little bit. I shut off the A/C and kept on my way. It looked like the battery light kept going on and off. At this point, I figured I just needed to get to my destination and then figure something out. It didn't really pay to turn around and go all the way back home. Well, lucky for me I did make it to my destination. The last 5 minutes of the trip scared me a bit. My car was having trouble accelerating and making some funny sounds. But at last, I arrived at my destination and let my parents know they may be picking me up later.

Ironically enough, as the party was ending, one of the mothers' cars wouldn't start so my uncle was going to try and jump it. I walk over to my car-- hoping I wouldn't have the same problems-- and my car starts without any problem. So I get in and drive away. Soon after though, my car is really making some bad sounds. And I feel like I am going very slowly and can't get enough power. I decide maybe I need more gas and I pull into the first gas station I see.

I fill up and when I go to start the car again-- NOTHING. I tried not to panic. I called my parents who weren't very helpful. I asked the non-English speaking man to help me. He jumped my car and I prayed I'd make it home. I call my parents again, who essential say-- try to make it home and call us if it dies again. So I go back out on the main road and take my chances. (In retrospect, I should have called the toe truck right after it wouldn't start.)

So now I am on a main road with lots of stopping at lights (my car seemed to fine when I was going a normal speed, but when I stopped and needed to start again it just wouldn't go fast). I put my hazards on but as my car started to go slower, the hazard lights started ticking slower as well. Eventually, they stopped altogether. All the while, I am freaking out and white knuckling the steering wheel just hoping to make it home. It wouldn't have been so bad if I was on a side road, but the main road was really making me nervous. What sealed the deal was when I was at a major intersection stopped at a light and I started to think about my car stalling out right there. I was lucky once more and it didn't, but now I was sick of pushing my luck and taking chances. I decided if I could just get to my aunt's house, then I would be okay.

And I almost did. I made it about a block away from my aunt's when it was done altogether. I let myself roll to the side of the road and the car wouldn't start again. I walked to my aunt's house and we tried to jump the car but nothing happened. My uncle insisted on pushing the car to their house until the tow truck people could come. Then I sadly watched as the man with the ponytail (who my little cousin couldn't help loudly asking me if that was a man or a woman) loaded Barbie* on to the flatbed to take her away. Now I have to wait until tomorrow to find out the dreaded fate of my car.

So what started in my head as a great blog about all the wonderful things about home has turned into a horror story about my broken down car. As my family typically says "no good deed goes unpunished".

*the name of my car. She's named Barbie because Saturns are plastic and plastic cars make me think of the Barbie corvette I had when I was younger.


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