car curse, life luck

About my Wednesday-Thursday trip to SF for Nick’s first diabetes follow-up appointment:

I was looking forward to a little road trip with just Nick and myself. Sure, we had
to go to the doctor’s, but we’d get to see our friend K, whose
boyfriend is a big Star Wars guy, and have breakfast at the
Crepevine… fun stuff.

It was all great for the first four hours; we took forever to get out
of town, but once on the road, Nick and I had nice conversations, a
passable dinner (at Applebee’s, which is admittedly icky, but
everything in Hopland was closed) and didn’t hit any traffic or
roadwork at all.

Then, as we were cruising past Santa Rosa about 10 p.m., the battery
light came on. Then the car slowly died, starting with the
headlights, followed by the windshield wipers, finishing with the
engine, so that I was, within seconds, both blind and invisible,
trying to pull to the side of the freeway without coasting off an
embankment. Fortunately, there was just enough shoulder to safely
jump out and shine a flashlight and see just how far off the road I could park.

Thank god for cell phones and Triple A… but it was a long, dark 20
minutes of semi-trucks whizzing by. The driver jumped the car, which
went about another 100 yards before dying again, then towed us to
Motel 6 in Petaluma. At least I had enough money for a room;
considering all the ways in which it could’ve been worse, the
situation wasn’t too bad.

But still. Goddamn car. We missed Nick’s appointment, having no way
to get to SF by 8:15 a.m. Bobby had to borrow M’s truck (he is a
NICE guy) and take off work so he could come rescue us. But he
couldn’t get out of town until 11 a.m. or so, which meant that Nick
and I had to kill several hours wandering Petaluma since the motel
checkout was noon.

Again, though, I have to say, we got lucky. The
Motel 6 is in one of those horrible strip mall/chain store areas
(hello IHOP for breakfast!), and with the rain, I was rather
despairing about what to do. We went to the nearby Starbucks,
thinking we could hang there for a while, and I got talking to the
guy that worked there, asking if any movie theaters were nearby –
figured that would be something to do and use up a couple hours. He
said there was a great theater downtown, but that it was pretty far
to walk, but that he was getting off work in a few minutes and would
be happy to give us a ride. So we cruised into downtown Petaluma,
which is cute and full of character in an Old Town sorta way, and
took in a movie (I opted for Fearless, but Nick picked School for
Scoundrels) in a nice theater, then had Chicago-style
pizza (and a Lagunitas for me) in this cool brick pizza place. Bobby
happened to call right when we finished lunch, saying he’d arrived at
the motel, so it worked out perfectly for him to come pick us up at
that point.

Again, even in distress, fairly lucky, right?

Except the U-Haul people told Bobby they’d reserved a tow dolly in
Petaluma for him, but it was actually in Santa Rosa, so we had to go
back to Santa Rosa, then back to Petaluma (in rush hour traffic both
ways), so that whole ordeal took for-freakin’-ever. Plus I was
rapidly running out of money by this point, not having been prepared
to spend cash on the motel room or another $100 for a tow bar. So
there was some stress there, too. By the time we got back to Petaluma
and hooked up the Honda to the tow dolly, it was after 6 p.m., which
meant we had to drive most of the way home last night in the dark, at
45 mph. That part sucked… but man, Bobby pulled it off without too
much worry. I couldn’t have driven like that, that late at night, on
that road.

So, yeah, anyway. We’re back.

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