Amoeba and I enjoyed out cross country drive. There seemed to be a lot of big rigs on the road. Every time a rig would pass us, or we would pass a rig, Amoeba would say, “What recession?” Apparently trucking companies still have plenty of goods to haul. Almost every rig that went by advertised Trucking Jobs on it’s tail gate. Need a job? learn to drive an 18 wheeler!
So I leave work, I have plenty of time, I’m not in a hurry, and I’m driving down McCully Street. The traffic light turns red so I stop. That’s what you’re supposed to do at a red light, right? Stop. [Nods head.]
I did. I stopped. I looked right. I looked left. I looked right again, and then I went. About halfway through the intersection it dawned on me that that is not what one is suposed to do at a red light. Thank heavens there were no pedestrians. No cars speeding down the side-street barreling toward the intersection, and no cops.
I am in serious need of a new attention span. I wonder if Santa could deliver it before Christmas — or the next intersection — whichever comes first?!
I went into Honolulu yesterday afternoon to join OC for a team potluck. It was raining when I left home — and pouring by the time I hit the freeway. Traffic was moving at about 35mph, and there were cars pulled to the side of the road. I was considering doing the same, for fear of being rear-ended by the jerks in the SUVs who were still driving 60 mph and weaving in and out of the rest of us, when I saw the storm line about a half-mile ahead. Clouds on one side, bright, shiny, blue sky on the other.
When I drove into blue sky and safe diving conditions, traffic stopped all but completely! The next 4 miles or so we moved at about seven miles an hour. This was the freeway, three lanes of traffic bumper-to-bumper, and behind me I heard sirens, then I saw flashing lights, then two police cars, a firetruck and the ambulance passed us using the grass meridian as their road. Finally I came to the scene of the accident. One vehicle — a dry van — was on it’s side and blocking all three lanes of traffic. We slowly rolled past on the shoulder of the road. I could see that the jaws of life were used to open the top of the cab. The ambulance screamed away from the wreck about three cars ahead of me. We were on open, dry freeway and moving again.
In another 10 miles traffic once again came to a stand-still as cars tried to leave the freeway in droves for local city streets. This is a common occurrence and happens daily at about this time. OC called to see where I was. It looked like we were probably going to miss the potluck I’d come to town to join him for. At this point my hands were permanently tension welded to the steering wheel. I was exhausted from an hour and a half of stop, go, stop, go, stop, go and the accompanying nastiness. NOBODY was moving, so what’s up with the people who were honking horns and waving fingers?
I finally drove out of the highest congestion area. Two more exits and I’d be off the freeway and safe. I moved right one lane. I moved right another lane — and I safely made my off ramp. Yay! Only a couple more blocks to the college. At the foot of the off-ramp a pedestrian waited to cross the street. A line of cars was coming from the left. I stopped at the merging traffic sign — and the guy behind me didn’t.
Pow! My car moved forward about two feet and my forehead almost bounced off the steering wheel. It took me a few moments to figure out how to unbuckle my seat belt and get out of the car. The guy who hit me was waving his arms frantically. I looked up and realized the exit ramp was full of cars and backing up onto the freeway. I got back in my car and drove around the corner.
There is nowhere to stop on University Avenue, so I turned right onto Dole Street. There is nowhere to park there, either, but the college parking lot is just a half block away. I looked in my rear view mirror. The guy who rear-ended me came around the corner behind me, but he switched lanes and was headed for a forced right turn onto a one-way street leading back downtown. He motioned to me that he was turning. I had passed the traffic divider and couldn’t. I got his license plate number and drove to the college campus. Once there I called OC, then I called the cops, then I called my insurance agent.
I am fine. I wasn’t so certain last night because my shoulders and back were tense and I had a screaming headache, but like I told OC — I had most of that from the stress of driving before the guy ever hit me! This afternoon my shoulders are still a bit tender, but I am not in any pain, I have complete mobility in my back, neck, and arms. My head doesn’t hurt — well, my sinuses do, but I didn’t remember to take my allergy pill last night (wonder why?).
My bumper looks like it has a few cosmetic problems, the trunk is sprung (it will latch but there is a gap where none used to be), but the biggest deal is that the tires rub when the car takes a sharp corner. we’re having a damage estimate done tomorrow. Afterward I would very much like to take it to Mike, my favorite mechanic at the Chevy dealership. I hope they will let me. He knows my car was in excellent condition before the accident.
bent out of shape
When the police officer arrived to take my statement, he ran the license plate number I gave him and it turns out the guy who hit me only lives a couple of blocks down that street he turned on. I explained to the cop that I was NOT reporting the guy as hit and run. He had tried to signal me to take the corner, but it was too late for me to follow. The cop said that if the guy was waiting for them at his home, good and well, otherwise, he would be considered to have fled the scene.
So, we never made it to the potluck, and I can no longer tell people that my car is 5 years old and in almost perfect condition. However, I am uninjured. That’s the important part.
Anna, of Anna Carson’s Photography, hosts Project Black
check out her website for the links to other players.
The last week before school dismissed for the summer, I found my car in the school parking lot with a flat tire from a nail puncture — the nail in plain view for me to see. I called road service and they changed my tire and had the car ready to run a full hour before quitting time.
After work I took the “nailed” tire straight to our local Goodyear Tire Service Center. I asked the guy at the front desk to fix the flat, and told him we’d been having trouble with a slow leak on another tire for a couple of weeks. I said I suspected the valve stem, and asked him to check it out.
When I returned to get my car the young man at the front desk told me that they’d patched my tire, but I shouldn’t expect it to hold. He said, “Your tires are old, bald, and no longer legal. You need to buy new ones.” I said, “These tires are only a year old, and if they’re in that bad of shape, I’ll be returning them to the place that holds their warranty.”
I asked about the second tire. He told me the valve stem was fine, and if I was losing air, I was losing it through the worn tread. He assured me that my life was in jeopardy driving home.
That evening when OC came home, I told him all this tire talk. He said, “There’s nothing wrong with your tires, but next week when you take it in to Mike (at the Chevy dealership) for the oil change, ask him to take a look.
Well, all week I worried about those dang tires. I fussed. I fumed. I put air in the rear tire three more times (it never went flat, just low), then finally came my Thursday appointment with Mike. “Oil change and check the tires,” I said. Then I left.
Twenty minutes later my phone rang, it was Mike. He said, “About your rear tire on the passenger side — no wonder it won’t hold air — did you know it has a big honkin’ nail in it?” I’d picked up nails in both tires, probably at the same time in the same place, but only one tire went flat. I asked Mike if the tire was worth patching. He responded, “Hell, these tires are almost brand new. Yes, patch it.” I told him what the Goodyear Sales guy had said, “See, that’s the thing about commission sales, they make people lie. You come in here, I can talk you into 20 extra things you don’t need, but why? They aren’t gonna pay me any more for it. Never go to commission shops if you want an honest answer.”
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You know, I love this island. I’ve been here almost a month — my car has been here almost a month — I drive it almost every day, and I have never once put gas in it. When I bring it home and park it, the gage often indicates that it is low on gas, but the next time I sit in the driver’s seat a miracle has occurred and the tank is full! If this is the norm for everybody, I wonder why there are so many gas stations?