March 29th, 2010

coyote drives

In Which Your Obedient Serpent Misses Two Turns But Makes A Very Important Lane Change

Today, I went up to help my sister in the last stages of her move from Berkeley to Vallejo.

Although I've driven to the house in Berkeley several times before, this time, I made the error I've told myself not to make every time before, got in the wrong lane, and wound up heading toward the Bay Bridge with no way to abort. I had to pay the toll and turn around on Treasure Island.

The move itself went off with no hitch, though I did miss ANOTHER turn in Vallejo, and wound up having to do a bit of maneuvering to find Big Sister's new house.

Unpacking went smoothly, with half a dozen people helping. By the time we finished the traditional Moving Day feast of pizza, it was after 9, and time for me to head hom.

I took 680, which was disconcerting. Unlike 880, which passes through that long strip of dense habitation along the coast of the Bay, 680 passes through...nothingness. Mile after mile of blackness, punctuated only occasionally by a community or two, full of exit signs I didn't recognize.

And then, I ran over something. No idea what. My car veered a little, but I steadied it.

And then, there was a rhythmic noise from the back.

Mental activity over the next minute or so:
"Crap, did I knock something loose when I hit that bump?"
"It's just road noise."
"What if it's not? Maybe we should pull over and see."
"It's late, we're tired, and we have no idea where we are."
"Hey, Mission! We know where that is!"
*signal for a lane change, accelerate to pass van that keeps trying to pace me*
*smack hazard light, start lane change*
"This is very bad."

...and then, after the car was more-or-less safely on the shoulder, and after checking the wheel (shreds of rubber clinging to the rim), and getting back in on the passenger side, and picking up the cell phone to call quelonzia to see if our AAA was still active...

...THEN, I lapsed into hysterics, on the phone with Quel. She calmly reminded me that I had a card in my wallet with AAA's number. I called them, and they had a truck out in about 30-45 minutes.

The AAA guy replaced my rim with my emergency donut, and then noticed that the tire had damaged a wiring harness when it blew. So, we checked the lights: Hazards worked, obviously; tail lights worked; brake lights worked; turn signals...didn't.

"Try starting the car."
[[Car turns over but refuses to keep running. Lather, rinse, repeat.]]
"Well, THAT'S interesting."

Current hypothesis: the wiring harness also leads to the fuel pump.

The car is currently in a shop in Milpitas. The tow truck dropped me off at the Denny's on Mission; Quelonzia picked me up and dropped me off at home (thank you, Precious!).

I got home around midnight.

I have now decompressed sufficiently to sleep.

I await phone calls on the morrow.

Eye of the Dragon

Writer's Block: Destined for greatness

Do you believe that a higher power controls our fate or that we choose our own destinies?

Do you believe that a higher power controls our fate or that we choose our own destinies?

Oh, come on! This was the Question of the Day on the same day as yet another "random" automotive crisis.

That's a punch line.

It certainly lends credence to the hypothesis that some Higher Power with a broad and slapstick sense of humor has designated me as his personal Chew Toy.

On the other claw: last night's incident could have been much, much worse, especially since, thanks to the late hour, the long drive, and the featureless road, I had been fighting to remain alert during the whole drive.

I tell you what, there's nothing like a blowout at 70 MPH to wake you up.

As my mother said, long ago, in a similar situation: "For all the bad luck we have, we sure have a lot of good luck."

Getting back to the question, though: does he "control my fate"?

Oh, hell no. I think he's just trying to get my attention.

happy, funny, cute

Moms always know what to say.

When I described last night's adventure to my mother, on the phone, she said, "You had a blowout at 70 miles an hour in the fast lane, and you got over to the shoulder without you or anyone else getting hurt. 'Blowout at 70 miles an hour' usually winds up on the news. You are an awesome driver."

I've got to give some credit to my Saturn station wagon, which is lower-slung and has much better suspension than the Aspire did. Things might not have gone so well if I were still driving the Grape.

That aside, though, I have to say...

...yeah, I am pretty awesome.