Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Car Trouble

When I went to start my car this morning, it was dead. I had left an interior light on overnight. I hate me. The only neighbors that I know were all gone for the day. I called my grandparents who live just a few blocks away from me but they weren't home either. I saw a couple people driving out of the parking lot, but I didn't have the guts to flag them down. I also didn't dare knock on random doors of my complex until I found someone home with time and jumper cables.

With nowhere left to turn, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I took a little fifteen minute walk to Lowe's. I bought one of those car battery jump starters on the hope that there would be just enough charge in it immediately after purchase to get my car going. The package said "Ideal for roadside emergencies." I would suggest they add "and people who feel too stupid and insecure to ask a stranger for help."

Unfortunately for me my new contraption didn't have quite enough juice to crank the engine. It just turned over a few measly times. In desperation I called my dad. He's a problem solver. He called my grandpa's cell phone who was just driving past, as it happened. He rescued me from my predicament and saved the day.

When I finally got to work an hour and a half late, the ladies I work with suggested I sign up for Triple A. I guess after all my incidents with locking my keys in my car (which has happened more times than I will ever admit), flat tires and dead batteries, they've decided I need intervention. "You're an idiot and a disaster when it comes to your vehicle" intervention. I think they're right.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Credibility

Not too long ago I took my car to a certain drive through car wash. I was enjoying all the brightly colored soaps squirting on my windshield and strips of felt swirling around and around, when I heard a brief scraping noise. "That didn't sound good," I thought. But then more soap and swishy things instantly grabbed my attention and I forgot all about the scraping sound until I got back to work. I got out of my car to inspect its cleanliness. I noticed two little chips of paint that had been taken off the roof! Lame!

The ladies at work convinced to go back there with guns blazing and demand they make it right! I'm not a big one for confrontation. It's the worst. So the whole way back to the car wash I was trying to talk myself into a real lather, you know, getting all pumped up for the big fight. I got there and quietly requested to see a manager. This like 21 year old kid named York comes out. How do you get mad at a 21 year old kid named York? I found myself being extra discreet and kind instead. My weakness was exposed.

I showed him the two paint chips. And this is where the whole operation started falling apart. He goes up the paint chips and runs his finger over them. Then he scrapes one of them off with his fingernail. It was a smudge of something white. Ouch! Major blow to the credibility! Strike one.

He goes on to explain all the reasons why their machinery couldn't possibly have caused the other real paint chip. "It's possible, though, that the car had been hit by a rock or something and chipped the paint and then the cleaning process took it off. You know, things happen to cars all the time. Maybe it's been there for a while and you just never noticed it before." He starts walking around my car looking for other chips and flaws with which he can prove his point. He goes to the front of my car where there's a big crack in the bumper. My best friend's sister-in-law had backed into it on my friend's wedding day. I hadn't gotten it fixed yet. He kind of points to it and looks at me and raises his eyebrows. Strike two.

He continues around the car. My case is looking really bad. He's walking towards my car's fuel door. It's ajar! I must not have closed it all the way when I gassed up! Maybe he won't notice... As he walks past it he looks at me again, and very deliberately shuts the door. My heart sinks within me. Strike three.

Any credibility I had left was destroyed. I accepted the outcome. I said thank you to York and got in my car to drive back to work. My pitiful attempt at speaking my mind and getting what I wanted was a major bust. In fact it left my ego a humbled, crumpled mess. How do I even live with myself? But I had to chuckle. I guess I just wasn't made for battle. So the chip stays. As a simile of my soul.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The (Ahem) Adult Photo Shoot

I've mentioned on this blog before how my friend Jared and I always have the craziest adventures together. Remember the gang violence? Yeah. Good times. Well there was this other time when we weren't so much in danger physically, but our minds and spirits could have been utterly destroyed!

I went to college in Logan, Utah which is the best place in the world in spring, summer and fall. Winters are hideous, but the other three seasons more than make up for it. There are mountains and caves and forests and lakes and rivers, and they're all right at your fingertips. One of my greatest pleasures on Sunday afternoons was to jump in my car and take solo drives into the unknown. I'd go a different direction every time and take strange roads until I found something interesting.

On one such occasion, I had found my way into the little town of Wellsville which is right up against a small mountain range of the same name. I meandered down backroads until I was right at the foot. There was a little trail leading uphill into the trees. Even though I was alone, I deemed it necessary to see where the trail led. I had walked for just a minute or two when I came into the most amazing forest I have ever laid eyes on! The ground was thickly carpeted with wild ivy as far as the eye could see. The ivy cascaded from tree branches like lush green curtains. It was exactly like Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest! I named it Enchanted Fairy Land. But evening was drawing near. I needed to leave, but i would return with a friend to enjoy the spectacle with me!

The next week, my go-to man Jared and I headed back to the mountain. As we drove to the trail head, we noticed another car parked there. "Ah well," I thought. "There's room for everybody in glorious Nature! Besides, they're probably hiking way up the trail and we won't even see them."

It was wonderful seeing Jared's face as we turned the bend in the trail and Enchanted Fairy Land opened up before us! "Isn't it incredible?" I asked. We were awe-stricken. Just then we noticed a gentleman standing in the ivy quite a way off the trail with a fancy camera set up. He appeared to be taking photos of one of those great curtains of ivy hanging from a branch of a tree. When he noticed us he kind of stopped and looked at us like a deer in the headlights for a moment, then went on, nervously clicking. Being the friendly hiker that I am, I raised my hand and waved with a, "Hello there!" He politely acknowledged me, and Jared and I continued silently down the trail.

Once we had passed the curtain that he had been photographing, I turned around once again as if to say, "I hope we didn't ruin any of your photos." From this new angle, I realized he wasn't photographing ivy. There was a woman standing there. She had blonde hair swept into an up-do. She had on glamour makeup. She wore no clothing. She had a length of sheer black lace draped across her. I made eye contact with her. A laugh caught in my chest. I shot my gaze forward, grabbed Jared's elbow and not so subtly quickened my pace. Once we were around the next bend in the trail and out of eyeshot of the er... photo shoot, my pent up laughter exploded out of me!

"Oh my gosh! Did you see that?!" I tried to whisper. "What?" Jared looked at me confusedly. He hadn't seen her! He was spared the horror and embarrassment of intruding on such an "intimate" situation. Well, it was embarrassing for me anyway. I won't say it would've been horrifying and embarrassing for everyone in that same circumstance...

An hour or so later on our way back down the trail I made sure the coast was clear before walking through Enchanted Fairy Land again. It's beauty wasn't tarnished by the strange occurrence. In fact, it's so beautiful I would totally use it as a location for a cool film or photography sesh myself... In a different genre, of course.