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day 55: the curse

October 31, 2010

I’ve mentioned a few times before that 5 is my unlucky number. For reasons unknown to me, most of the predicaments I find myself in – substantial and insubstantial – originate around the number 5 in some way, shape, or form. So it doesn’t really surprise me that I’m writing this post today.

Yesterday morning while changing lanes from center to right, I was significantly side-swiped. As in my right side mirror, headlight cover, and the shape of the right front end are now a long forgotten memory. It was definitely partially my fault. As noted in the accident report: I made an unsafe lane change. But it was partially the other guy’s fault, since he was flying along too quickly for me to even see him coming.

Since I’m an out of state driver in the middle of Texas, this was automatically my fault. The police officer who reported to the scene was nice enough to let me know that if I didn’t have insurance he would have to arrest me and take me to jail whether the accident was my fault or not, just because I’m an out of state driver who hit a Texas driver.

Thanks for the warm welcome, Texas.

After that I went to Starbucks and sat in the parking lot. It was kind of the default location my autopilot settings brought me to. I called my parents and calmly explained what happened…for about 5 seconds. Then I lost it. I felt so, so horrible about damaging the vehicle they are letting me borrow and parade around the country. They, as expected, were unfazed.

Until I told them I was on my way home so I could get it fixed as soon as possible.

Then they freaked out.

“What?! Why?!”

I thought it would be a foregone conclusion that I would come home for a variety of reasons – I only have 2 weeks to go, I would save some extra money that would go towards repairs, and the small matter of not having the right side of the car in tact. It was the only option that made sense.

Not to my parents. They brought up two valid points: we have insurance for a reason, and the car is going to be broken and in need of repair whether that happens now or two weeks from now. Then they basically told me that I was not allowed to come home. That they would lock me out of the house if I tried to come home. That I had no other choice because they had already chosen for me.

Basically, they gave me a no-nonsense dose of tough love.

All of this made me cry even more. Not only were they overly gracious and unconcerned about the state of their vehicle, they were completely ungracious about my retreat and adamantly concerned that I finish what I started, and with no regrets.

They win the parents of century award. Mom and Dad, you guys are literally the best. I am so, so grateful for you and love you so much.

I went into Starbucks looking like a cat dragged out of a gutter. A cat that had spent the past hour bawling in the gutter. This continued as I reflected over the morning’s events and cried into my oatmeal and coffee. The poor patrons of Starbucks averted their eyes and quickly shuffled past the young woman openly weeping in a public place.

You’d think the day could only go up from here.

After taping up what remained of the mirror, I got into the van to plug the next location into my GPS, only to find that my fully charged GPS would not turn on.

Dead. Gone. Kaput.

I then turned to my phone for directional assistance, which worked for about a half an hour until I lost reception. And once I got reception back, my phone decided to join ranks with my GPS and shut down completely. This kind of made me laugh. I was surrounded by cotton fields and cacti, but I figured as long as I kept driving east I would hit Dallas eventually. And good news, my phone came back to life! Just in time for me to sit in traffic for an hour, give up on making it all the way to Dallas, and see an oasis in the distance: a Motel 6. It had been a day, and I felt justified in springing for a room instead of spending the night in the car.

I should have known this was not going to go well when I went into the office and a guy with a live bird stuffed into his shirt was waiting in line ahead of me. Avian creatures were really the least of my concerns at this point, so I didn’t really care. I just went to my room, locked the door, and exhaled that the end of a very long day had finally arrived.

Nope! Not yet.

A guy had watched me go into my room. I watched him watch me and made a mental note to be on high alert when I was done being exhausted. I called my parents, turned on the World Series, and started in on my second round of oatmeal comfort.

About 15 minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Of course it was the Creepy Joe. It just went with the theme of the day. Because I don’t have a death wish, I didn’t answer the door. I was starting to consider other overnight options when my phone rang. Creepy Joe! Great to hear from you again. Am I the owner of the blue van outside? No, sir, I’m not.

The search for other options catapulted into full swing at this point since I doubted I was going to get much sleep under the current circumstances. When my phone rang again I didn’t answer. When it rang a third time I finally picked up, thinking it may be the front desk calling to tell me that Creepy Joe had driven away in my van. It was the front desk, and they were calling to let me know that one of my neighbors had called them to let someone know that my lights were on.

I could have been an ewe for Halloween, since I immediately felt quite sheepish. Talk about paranoid. I got my keys and went out to my car to turn off my lights…which were not on.

I didn’t waste any time going back to my room. I just got in and drove to the front desk, got a refund, and was escorted back to my room by a wonderful man whom I hope is eternally blessed. In Creepy Joe’s defense, one of my interior lights may have been on. When I got into the car I turned them all off and on just to make sure they were all off and I have no way of knowing whether one had been on or not. But since I could already see the episode of Dateline unraveling before my eyes, I figured it was better to be safe than sorry and left.

I had every intention of just driving to a well lit parking lot in Dallas and calling it a DAY. Oh, what a day. But when looking up locations on my phone I saw a promotion for my favorite hotel chain: book two nights, get one free. I could have said no, but I didn’t. Fifteen hours of eventful events swayed my usually rational decision making. I had recently been given a very generous gift and decided to make good use of it by staying somewhere safe and warm for the night. At that point, the woman at the front desk could have said, “Your total is a lifetime of indentured servanthood,” and I would have said, “Point me in the direction of the shackles.”

But she didn’t say that. She instead pointed me in the direction of the continental breakfast, fitness, and laundry rooms. Breakfast! Treadmill! LAUNDRY ROOMS!!! Praise. The. Lord.

I took the longest, hottest shower of my life and watched Iron Chef and Sports Center and Home Improvement before falling asleep. At the end of the day I was overwhelmingly thankful for my parents, for the gift of a beyond beautiful hotel room, and for a day that wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

But still…is there any way I can start a petition to erase 5’s from all of the world’s numerical systems?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. nancy permalink
    October 31, 2010 2:37 pm

    oh, friend.

    OH, FRIEND.

    mylanta. that’s all i have to really say. and your parents ARE rockstars, and i definitely agree with them. finish strong. you can so do this. you’re extremely close the finish line, and i know you will not regret it.

    xoxoxoxoxoxo times a million.
    n

  2. November 1, 2010 9:59 am

    I am proud of you dear friend, for many reasons.

    1. You are persevering in the midst of a hard set of circumstances, and that makes you one of the most beautiful women I know.
    2. You didn’t give up on your adventure (with some help from your parents), and that means that you’ll never look back with regrets.
    3. You ate oatmeal 2 times. There are no words. I’m beaming with pride.

    Side note: Got your card and absolutely loved it, thank you for letting me be a recipient of one of your Hobby Lobby creations! It’s beautiful and I love the squirrel! Also, I always imagine myself on dateline when something weird happens. We are kindred spirits :)

  3. November 1, 2010 12:24 pm

    thanks for the encouragement, friends :) love you both!!!

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