My poor car Judy is so sick!
Yesterday I was almost to Eric’s office, dropping off a smoothie to him on my way to work, when my Blazer started to slow down…fast.
I was able to guide her right into a driveway off the road where she gasped for air — “Check gauges!” — and then died. She started right up again so I could get around the corner to his office, but I knew I shouldn’t get on the highway and drive to work.
So that was where the real breakdown could have happened.
I mean, any time you have car troubles, it sucks. It just does. It’s one of those pain-in-the-ass, wasn’t-planning-on-it-but-sure-I’d-love-to-spend-my-day-making-phone-calls-and-working-out-the-logistics-of-all-this things that you just have to deal with.
Oh, and of course, having a breakdown in a city where you have to drive everywhere — in the most awful traffic — and where you don’t know of a trustworthy mechanic to take your car to is pretty much disastrous.
But in moments like this, I try really hard to not think about all the horrible things that could happen and I don’t let myself get overwhelmed by the possibility of a $500 repair. I just take it one step at a time.
Step 1. Call my boss and let her know I’m going to be late.
Step 2. Call my mom four times. She couldn’t really do anything, but I still call her in situations like these for reassurance.
Step 3. Start Googling mechanics nearby, then realize it’s useless. Ask Eric if I can just drive his car to work so I can deal with the mechanic search from my desk, as opposed to my car. (Even though my fabulous Droid found me four mechanics who were close within seconds!)
Step 4. Get to work, try to get work done while Googling some more, along with asking via Tweet and e-mail. Read some reviews, then call around and straight up tell them, “I’m new to the area and finding a new mechanic sucks. I want to feel comfortable coming to you.”
Step 5. Realize that this whole process is going to take a few days and that being carless in Houston is pretty much impossible.
Step 6. Ask Eric if I can shack up with him and share his car for a few days. Promise a long list of displays of gratitude.
Step 7. Get through the work day, then head home to pack up some of my things and make one of the displays of gratitude.
Pumpkin butterscotch cookies just might have the magical power to keep any breakdown from becoming a true breakdown. I felt like when I picked Eric up from work, the evening had the potential to really go downhill. It was hot (obviously) and we were both tired, plus we had to find the actual mechanic and drop my car off, plus run a bunch of errands. It could have been a total breakdown.
But I just didn’t want that. Yes, I hate when stuff like this goes wrong…but I also hate how I grew up in a household where stressful incidents like this lead everyone to bitch at each other. I understand why people get cranky and start snapping, because it’s easy to get frustrated by a situation. But I’ve also learned that the crankiness and snapping makes everything so much worse. You can’t focus on all the things that are going to happen and use that as a reason to hate on everyone around you. Cars break down every day, but somehow the world keeps on turning.
And in situations like these, it’s important to know that you have an excuse. You know I’m all about not feeling guilty. Well, when you’re dealing with a crappy situation like this that gets in the way of your normal routine, you can’t let the guilt of not being able to go to happy hour or the guilt of not having time to check your e-mail rule your life. When shit like this happens, remember: you have a good excuse. People will understand if you’re not on top of everything as usual.
So I really wanted to have a good night, even though I didn’t have the greatest day. And honestly, I think it was a matter of just deciding that and then acting on it. The pumpkin butterscotch cookies helped, as did the awesome TRX workout we had in the park and the dinner I made. I displayed my gratitude as much as I could because I really was grateful that Eric would make my problem his problem. Anyway, I think the good attitude and the good food helped because at the end of the night, we both agreed that it had actually turned into a pretty nice night.
But don’t get me wrong — this still sucks and the next few days are going to be such a hassle, not to mention rather expensive. It’s going to take everything I have in me not to take one look at the huge back-up of e-mails in my inbox or start thinking about what it’s going to cost to fix my car and not just turn to the pumpkin butterscotch cookies and dive in head first.