This post continues on from here: The Zen of Car Maintenance
This being a week of car
debacles difficulties, it seemed almost expected that on the night of our staff Christmas dinner I should come back to find the lights of the Bear’s ute still switched on, and the battery dead. I don’t normally drive the Bear’s car at all, and never at night – but my car was at home being fixed, so I had no choice. When I turn my car off the headlights go off as well, which has given me some bad habits over the years. Apparently.
So. What to do? Of course, the Bear doesn’t have NRMA membership for his car. I am not ringing the Bear – he is half an hour away with the two kids, plus over the years I have found it better to sort these problems out myself and tell him after the fact. I ring my parents, who live close by. The don’t have any jumper leads. Crap.
Two friends have stayed with me to make sure I get away all right, so I tell them I’m going back to the Star Hotel where we just ate dinner to see if anyone there has any jumper leads. I ask the girl behind the bar, and she quickly asks around the staff if anyone has any. Nobody does. Crap.
Just then an old bloke comes up to me and says that he doesn’t have any jumper leads, but his mate Terrence does.He calls Terrence over, and I tell him what’s happened. I mention that I am driving my partner’s car – at that, the old bloke leans back and says, “Well, he would definitely have helped you before you mentioned your husband, but now…well, you’re on your own missy!” I’m not very good at this sort of Aussie pub humour, so I’m looking at him trying to figure out whether he’s serious or not, when the girl behind the bar starts laughing, giving me leave to jump off my feminist high horse and laugh too 😀
Terrence has to go home to get his jumper leads, so I walk back to my friends who were still waiting and tell them help is on its way. He arrives in a couple of minutes with a jump start battery pack, and in one minute the car has started, I’ve given that kind man a big hug, and I’m strapped in, ready to drive home.
I wish that was all, I really do. Don’t worry, I get home safely, with a minimum of cussing by the Bear.
While I was out flattening the battery of the Bear’s car my car was indeed fixed, so today, my daughter and I drive into town for our Saturday morning dance, cafe and swimming lesson outing. The first thing I do upon arriving is accidentally deadlock the car. I decide to leave it and sort it out when we go home.
Now. There’s a big part of me that does not want to tell you the next part of my story, and if I wasn’t a writer and driven compulsively to share my experiences, I would refrain from telling anyone, so completely does it refute the image I have of myself as calm, competent and intelligent.
We’ve done everything we came in town to do. The car is only accessible by the rear, vertically opening station wagon door because it doesn’t lock for some reason – all the other doors are deadlocked. So we make a dignified entrance to the car via the boot and over the back seat, closing the door behind us. I try to unlock the car from the inside, and quickly realise three things:
- When a car is deadlocked, you cannot unlock it from the inside either…
- There is no way to open the back door of the station wagon from the inside, so we are effectively trapped inside a hot, airless car.
- My daughter and I are going to die in this car unless I do something to get us out.
My response to these insights? To panic, completely. I’m talking blind panic, the kind that empties my mind of all thoughts except I have to get us out of here, now, now, now, now. I see my metal drink bottle, pick it up, break the back passenger window of the car, clear the shattered glass from the window with my hands, scramble out and haul my now distraught daughter out. Of course, these actions attract people, two of whom I know, one of whom I work with, and they set to work comforting me and cleaning up the glass. I stand there, my hands dripping with blood from glass scratches, and it dawns on me: why didn’t I just wind the fucking window down?
So now, not only is my self esteem shattered, I’m exhausted and defeated, the back window is smashed and the car remains stubbornly deadlocked. I really feel as if the universe is trying to tell me something, yes? If you know, please tell me.
Comfort me, friends – what is your most ridiculous car story?