Is this the worst car week ever?

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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.Β Crap.Β 

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.Β 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 πŸ˜€

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 tellingΒ 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:

  1. When a car is deadlocked, you cannot unlock it from the inside either…
  2. 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.
  3. 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.Β 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:Β 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?

18 comments

  1. Oh you poor thing! I most definitely can’t top that one. And even though you broke a window to get out, thank goodness you found a way out. (As we’re awaiting our possible first snow of the season, I have to remember that you are in hot weather now).

    I think the most embarrassing time for me was when I was trying to be quiet about locking my old car. It was a Subaru Outback, and when I would use the key thingy to lock it, the horn would beep twice, at full volume. I don’t remember why I was trying to be quiet, but trying to not only be quiet, but clever, I locked my car door and then shut it, immediately setting off my car alarm. I tried this and that and some more to get the alarm to quiet. Finally, I did the right thing to silence the horn. Meanwhile, I was mortified. (I wish I could remember why I wanted to be quiet, but for the life of me I can’t remember the situation).

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  2. Oh. My! Seriously, oh my. I met my first boyfriend over a seriously stupid car issue. The story is WAY too long, but I come out looking very dumb. The punch line is that he stuck his arm in the car and released the safety brake. I was beet-red, but we were going out by the end of the weekend. πŸ˜‰ So sorry for your Horrible, Terrible, Really Bad Week with cars!

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  3. Your response to the situation sounds heroic to me and your willingness to tell about it even more so. My story is trivial compared to yours. Moving from the city to the suburbs, I loaded the car one night with things that were too fragile to leave to the movers. I drove the 35 miles to my new house and unloaded the trunk. Ready to go home, as I slammed down the lid to the trunk (boot in your terminology), my keys flew out of my hand and into the trunk which was now locked shut as I stared at it in disbelief. I had to call my brother who lived even farther from my new house than I did, but was the person who had an extra set of keys to my car. He drove the eighty mile round trip to rescue me and did it graciously. Good to have good friends and relations. I might have a more embarrassing story, but your explanation tells why I am not the writer in the family. I do not feel compelled to tell it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana, thank you for spying the the three seconds of heroism in my story, I much appreciate it – and thank you for your insight that it took more heroism to share the story, which it did :). I guess I strive for honesty in my communication, and sometimes that’s challenging to do…but I want to do it, because there’s a part of me that thinks it’s important, even when my ego is trying to press the delete button πŸ™‚
      Hey, your story is pretty awesome – getting your brother to do an 80 mile (120km?) round trip sounds like a decent effort πŸ˜‰

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  4. Oh yes, you are definitely a writer both in the need to tell the story and also the quality of its narration – amusing but quite compelling. The Universe is definitely trying to tell you something and not being subtle about it. Brave in the telling, brave in instinctively focussing on the most direct solution and in seeking that message. Had your car had electronic windows that instinct would have been spot on. Overkill in such a situation was far better than otherwise.
    I do have a story… As I mentioned I love my car, but it does have one idiosyncracy, the door locks. Among the various manifestations is if you open & shut any door there’s a interim period then it locks itself. At the mechanic or car wash I’m always saying “don’t leave the keys in the car without the drivers window down, it will lock”. And that is what happened many years ago when my old dog and I were on holidays. My then husband travelling separately because of work wasn’t staying but he met us at the holiday house, went to get something from the passenger seat, and before I could finish the sentence “don’t shut that door”, he did, and locked the dog, the keys to everything, my handbag and phone in the car. He had to very quickly drive a 4 hour round trip back to our house to retrieve the spare car keys. Luckily it was June, and a cool day. The dog slept while I counted the seconds until he got back. She was fine. I was a wreck.

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    • EllaDee, thank you – both for praising my writing, and for sharing your car lock story :). I do wonder about the need to write – on a bad day it’s a bit like a bulimic’s urge to purge – I just feel better without all that stuff in there, rattling around :). I don’t publish those rants :). On a good day I connect with people through honesty and compassion, and that’s what it’s all about.
      Now, see if I was there, I would have broken that damn window…lol πŸ˜€ – probably the 4 hour round trip was a more sensible idea, but man, it was a long four hours for you, I bet!

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  5. That has to be one of the funniest sequence of misadventures I have ever heard. I feel privlledged that I got to hear you recall this story in person. I haven’t laughed so hard for ages. Thank you for that Sara.

    PS: I am tempted to nominate you for the Darwin Awards. You wouldn’t win because you didn’t die, but you might get an honourable mention. http://www.darwinawards.com/

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    • Glen, don’t you dare! Actually, I really enjoyed being stuck in that cafe with you, the storm demolishing the street and you laughing at my ridiculous story πŸ™‚ It brightened my day!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoa! What a couple of weeks! Belated reading of your adventures. I have sorta simliar a few years back where my 1.5 yo pushed the autolock in the car (he was playing in the car whilst I cleaned the car outside!), with the keys inside. I freaked a little, lucky my dad was there to stop me putting a shovel through the window to break it asap and convinced me that a moment or two of lock picking could be a worthy investment. Dad’s wisdom saved the day and babe didnt even seem to notice the difference.

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    • OMG! I’m laughing as I read this – not because it’s a funny story, but because you had the same impulse as me! Smash the window! Get the child out! Lol πŸ˜€
      My partner is good in a crisis too…if only he was there πŸ™‚

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