This is one of those traditional “blog” style posts, where I talk about my life in an amusing way, instead of one of the more “Indian film news and analysis website” posts, where I am all professional and stuff. Be warned!
The plan for today was already a bit complicated. I was going to drive to work with Dog Hazel and luggage, leave in the middle of the morning to go see Grandpa and Mom and Dad and my sister when they had coffee near me in downtown, then go back to work for the rest of the day, and then leave work and drive straight to the family vacation home and have two days off in the middle of the week to spend with my sister and my parents.
(This was supposed to be my day. Joyous happy leaving for vacation)
So, I left for work in the car, with 4 bags and a dog. And I left early so I would have time to stop off and get coffee. I didn’t have quite as much time as I thought, so I needed a drive through, and instead of doing the Starbucks drive through where there was already a massive line, I decided to do the McDonald’s one where the coffee is worse but the line is faster (these things are probably related).
(If I had been at this McDonalds, I am sure the hockey team would have helped me)
As I was pulling up to the speaker at the drive through, I noticed I was having a hard time using the button to roll down my window, and also my music was suddenly playing really staticy from the radio. So I ignored it and opened the door to talk to the speaker and figured I would figure it out later. I got my coffee, paid, got to the exit of the drive through right before the turn onto the busy road to work, and my car suddenly blinked frantically in all its lights and then completely died.
(Very similar to Shahrukh here)
My first thought was that I was out of gas. Because I remembered the gauge had been a little low, although it seemed as though I would have noticed if it dropped below a quarter tank. And now of course the car was just a mass of dead metal, so no way to check. Working on the gas assumption, I jumped out of the car and ran in front of the honking chain of cars backed up behind me to the service station next door. Who were mildly sympathetic, but said they didn’t have a gas can I could borrow. So then I ran to the second service station, which was closed. So then I ran to the third one, where the nice older lady and the nice older garage attendant were both very sympathetic and gently reminded me that I should always have at least a quarter tank of gas, and then sent the young guy back with me with a can of gas.
(He did not look like Prithviraj, unfortunately)
Back to the car where, thank goodness, the folks behind me had started to madly veer around up onto the curb in order to get out of the drive through lane and on to the road without running me over. Gas in the tank (as I said “thank you thank you thank you” over and over again), and then I started it up, it ran for 5 seconds, and immediately died again. Thank goodness, the young guy from the garage was still there, told me I probably needed a jump, wait (what else was I going to do?) and he would get the jumper from the garage. So I wait, he comes back shockingly fast, gives me a jump, it runs for 10 seconds and dies. He gives me another jump and instructions on how to ease onto the gas and so on, and I finally am able to hit the road.
(He did not do a little song and dance for me. American mechanics don’t have half the flare that desi ones do)
Feeling cocky, I drive to work. I can see the gas is now at a quarter tank (should have been a warning sign, because that is definitely not how much he put in, which means it WASN’T the gas after all. But I’m dumb and didn’t realize that). I figure, I just need to drive for a bit and recharge the battery, all will be good. I get to the parking garage at work, position the car to pull into a space, and it completely dies on me again. Thereby blocking the entire half of the garage as it is positioned exactly across the center of the aisle.
(Like Dev reaching just to Paro’s door step and then dying, so was my car, reaching the very entrance to the parking spot, and dying just before entering it)
So then I wake up Dog Hazel (who has slept through this whole thing, sitting in the back seat), run into work and beg my friend for help pushing the car at least into a space. She suggests I knock on my boss’s door, he is the nicest man in the world and goes out immediately to help me push and I get all nice into a space. And also grab all my bags from the car in a massive messy heap since I am a little worried about the power door locks not working and never being able to get them out again.
(Carrying my sad little possessions with me)
Then, I call up my father and say “Dad? I need help!” Luckily, we were already going to meet for coffee. So half an hour later, I meet up with Dad and explain the whole thing. And then there is a mini discussion of the real name for the starter, not the trademark name, which goes completely over my head, and finally a suggestion that I call my car insurance company and see if I have road side assistance. Again, I am dumb, this never occurred to me. So I call them and they are super super nice and tell me I just have to get my insurance card (which is of course in the car) and call back with that information and I can get some nice person to come and take it off my hands.
(Some heroic person to come save me)
So, Dad (for moral support) and I go back to the parking garage. And realize that this garage would be a nightmare for a tow truck, because it has a steep ramp and low roof. So if possible, we should get the car out and on to the road. Before I get the insurance card, Dad wants to try starting it up. Which he does, and it goes! Yay! And then he starts driving out of the garage, which makes sense, to get it back down to the road. And then he gets to the road and turns and keeps going. Maybe to look for a space? But then he just keeps going and going and is gone!
(Very similar to this)
So, I am a bit perplexed. And decide to go back to the coffee shop where Grandpa and Mom and my sister still are. And I come in and say I need advice again. Mom is a bit unsure because she doesn’t know about cars. But then I explain I don’t need car advice, I need Dad advice. And she is completely confident with that! Tells me definitely, once he got the car going, he would just want to take it to the nearest service station and not stop. So I should just sit here and drink water and wait for his call. Which is, in fact, what he had done. And he called 5 minutes later to say he had delivered it to the service station and was walking back. Phew!
(So no need for an elaborate chase scene to get my car back)
So then I went back to work, to discover Dog Hazel had turned into a nervous wreck in the meantime, what with all my in and out and in the car and out of the car and so on. Pretty sure she thought I was never coming back and this was just her life now.
(Like Paro waiting for Dev)
And then Dad had to drive by the service station on the way home and tell them that he is the father of the girl they helped that morning and insist on giving them money.
(He is not the terrible Anupam Kher in Laage Chunari Main Daag kind of father, who just assumes his daughters will be fine and never worries about things, he is the other kind of father who is constantly worrying about things)
I am still coming down a little bit from the adrenaline high, and also dreading the eventual garage bill/need to buy a new car. And a bit emotional at the thought of getting a new car eventually, since this one is a family heirloom, the last car my grandfather bought 19 years ago right before he died. And then my grandmother drove it to the grocery store once a week for 12 years until she got over 90 and gave it to my parents. Who drove it for another 3 years before giving it to me. How can I give it up??? Even if it randomly dies sometimes? We all have our little problems!
(It’s my car! By right of birth and inheritance! Why should I fear?)
To calm myself, I am trying to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Think how much worse if I had gone through Starbucks instead where the exit is much smaller and there would have been no way around me! Or if it had died in the middle of the busy street!
And, wasn’t it lucky that it died exactly between THREE separate service stations? So I was guaranteed a nice person to help?
And, if I have to be young and foolish with no idea how to jump a car, isn’t it nice that I am also blessed with a pleasant demeanor and smiling face so random strangers helped me?
And aren’t I lucky to have a nice boss who will help me push my car into a space when it dies?
And wasn’t it lucky that my parents were already going to be having coffee nearby so they could give me advice and support?
And the miracle of it actually starting when my father tried it!
And most of all, isn’t it nice that it died in the middle of a busy Chicago neighborhood, instead of in the literal middle of nowhere with no cell service where I was going to be driving it tonight around sunset tonight? I’m sure Dog Hazel wouldn’t have minded walking through a mile of cornfields and then knocking on random house and hoping a nice person helped out, but it might have bothered me a bit.
(Like this, only cornfields instead of deserts, and a young woman and a little dog instead of two adorable children)