Or, Five Pointless Calls, Four Hours Waiting, Three Women Panicking, Two Tow Trucks Fighting, and a Bribe of Twentyyyy! (Rae and I couldn’t decide which to go with, but I liked hers better so that’s the title post).
I’ve got a bit of a tale for you this holiday season.
As you may or may not have guessed from the time stamps on most of my blog posts, I’m something of a night owl. I prefer to do my writing– and especially my reading– during the night. I’ve been that way as long as I can remember, and it has oft gotten me into trouble.
Also as you may or may not know, I am unemployed. Since graduating in April, I have applied to six different jobs, and so far have not received a single call back. This fact, while extremely hard on my pocketbook (and Christmas shopping, sorry if your gift sucks this year–if you even get one), has led to the most self-indulgent reading period of my life. I can stay up however late I like with essentially no repercussions, unless there’s one of those very rare occasions where I need to do something somewhat early the next day. But those days have been very few and far between. Mostly I’ve been wallowing in reading all night and sleeping late the next day.
So, on the morning of Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9:16am when I heard the angelic voice of Mariah Carey seemingly screaming from my mom’s purse those immortal words “I DON’T WANT A LOT FOR CHRISTMAS, THERE IS JUST ONE THING I NEEEEEEED!!!!!!!!” two, perhaps unsurprising, things were true:
A) I had only been asleep for about two hours, and;
B) The only thing I needed for Christmas at that point was for Mariah to shut her damn mouth and let me sleep
Mere seconds after Mariah finally made my wish come true, unfortunately my phone began vibrating angrily, and I hazily staggered to answer it. Bewildered, I saw that my sister was calling. If she is calling me to make me walk into her room, I thought to myself, I will go in there and bludgeon her unto death with this very phone. And before I answered I stumbled into her bedroom, where I had previously believed her to be tucked up in her bed all fast asleep. But what to my wondering eye should appear but an empty bed, with no sign of Rachel near.
Utterly mystified, and still essentially asleep, I answered my phone, which was now buzzing threateningly. All I got out was a confused hello before my sister informed me that she had wrecked her car and needed us to come pick her up from her meeting at work and we were going to have to find a way to tow said car.
I’ll be honest, Readers. I actually pulled my phone away from ear and stared at it for a few seconds, like it would disappear before my very eyes and this would all suddenly dissolve into a nightmare. My sister was telling me, not only would I have to wake up to answer this call, but I would have to stay awake, dress myself, and then drive to pick her up.
You may not know this about me, but I kind of love sleep. Like… I consider myself to be in a committed relationship with sleep. No, it may not be during the regular hours people usually expect me to sleep, but true love does not concern itself with conventions. Sleep and I are blissfully happy together, spending hours and hours with each other on our own terms.
Now, perhaps I should have mentioned a little background here. Just in case you were living under a rock (a tropical rock) or, you know, in Florida, much of the US was in the grip of an enormous winter storm for a couple of weeks, Oklahoma included.
My sister, who my tired brain finally processed had gone to a meeting at the restaurant where she works, had apparently hit a patch of ice while trying to go around one of those little curve roads that go under the interstate and put you around on the access road on the opposite side, and ramped her car up onto the concrete divider area and almost ran into the cross street. Luckily, the car got stuck on the concrete and stopped before that happened, or this post could have been not very funny at all. Most important of all, my sister was not hurt in any way– but her poor car was. Some nice people had stopped to try and help her push the car off the concrete, but before they got it very far they told her that it looked like it was too damaged to drive anywhere, and so they just gave her a ride to her work, which was perhaps two minutes away. The back end of her car was still already hanging out into the road, and Rae was terrified someone would do the same thing as her and crash into it.
Amongst this beleaguering onslaught of information, I also came to understand that someone was going to have to drive up and retrieve my sister, and wait with her while a tow truck came for her car. After informing me that we needed to be there to pick her up from her meeting by 10:15, my sister hung up on my stunned person.
There was only one solution– Mom. Normally anything relating to cars in our family is handled by our father, but my poor daddy had been called in this particular Saturday to work overtime (he’s a mailman) and there was not the slightest possibility that he could deal with this particular mess. But there was another adult in this house, and she could totally drive– I was saved.
So with this shining exit strategy of promise burning brightly in my mind, I blundered into my mom’s room and told her what happened (probably rather incoherently). But what I did manage to say very clearly was that she needed to go get Rachel, leaving me ready to stumble back to bed, my problems solved. Unfortunately for my state of mind, my mother soon made it clear that she had only had a few hours of sleep, and that I was most certainly coming with her, if only to ensure she didn’t fall asleep on the way up there and wreck herself.
I tried, Readers. I tried so very hard to find a way around this. I utilized every ounce of mental acumen that was available to my fuzzy, sleep-deprived mind–but it was not enough, and my struggles were in vain. This was really happening, and I was really going to have to get ready, get dressed, and go with my mom.
Somehow, somehow, I managed to make myself presentable to the world (I think–details are a little hazy), though I dozed off brushing my teeth and when I laid back on the bed to put my pants on I fell asleep for a minute and didn’t think I was going to be physically capable of getting up. Finally my mother and I managed to cobble ourselves into something resembling functioning members of humanity. But you’re fooling yourself if you think I got into that car without my blanket and pillow. We were on our way–and it was 10:15. The time we were supposed to be picking Rae up. I thought about mentioning this to my mom, but were twenty minutes away and nothing was going to change that. Plus, I literally could not bring myself to care.
Luckily Rachel’s meeting went long, and we picked her up on time. Then we pulled into a gas station next to where Rachel’s poor car sat, like a beached whale upon concrete sands. Let me go ahead and give you this expertly prepared, very accurate, official map of what this all looked like, so you can really get a sense of the story:
Luckily we have AAA, and we were close enough to our house that they would tow Rae’s car for free. So we called the number on our card and were then informed that it would be four hours until one of their drivers could get to us. FOUR HOURS. FOOOOUR HOOOOOOURS.
My sister explained how her car was in a very dangerous place and we feared there would be another accident if we waited that long, and so eventually the AAA person told us that we could contact another towing company to do the job and they would reimburse us. With that settled we googled towing services near our location and found five or six names that would work. Five calls later, and not a single one of the nearby towing place could send a truck any sooner than an hour, most of them closer to two. We called my uncle, who told us about a tower in our actual town, which might not be as busy and which would make it much more convenient for him to tow back to. So we called the guy, who was very kind and told us he could be there in 45 minutes. Perfect!
This settled, we decided to drive to the Starbucks in the shopping center across the street, but abandoned this plan halfway to it when we realized that no one had actually wanted coffee, we just thought that the other person had. We turn around and start driving back towards the gas station, when we realize a cop has stopped at my sister’s car. We panic suddenly, but cannot get over to the gas station in order to flag him down, because we need to cross four lanes of traffic to get to it. Frantically we try to find a gap in the extremely busy intersection, but are unable to. We aren’t sure what the cop is doing, and by the time we finally get over to the gas station and Rachel gets out of the car to walk across the street to the area where her car is at, the cop drives away. We’re now afraid that the cop has written down her license number to possibly call someone to impound her car or who knows what. Shortly after this, the guy from our town calls to tell us that he’s having problems with his truck and he actually can’t come at all.
The guy apologizes profusely, and recommends that we contact the local highway patrol (Fun fact: the number to call them is *55, did you know that? Because we did not know that). Rachel calls back the towing service that had the least amount of time, and for once during this developing debacle luck is on our side, and they tell us that they had a truck just come back and they would send them out immediately, and it would probably be no more than twenty to thirty minutes.
Next, we call the highway patrol and explain the situation, and shortly after a nice policeman arrives and parks his car behind Rachel’s with his lights on, so no one will hit her. Then we settle in for a long winter’s wait, which is interspersed with employees from the gas station coming out and shooting us suspicious looks since we’ve essentially been camping in their parking lot.
Now, if you follow college football in America, you might be familiar with two of the major teams in Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys. As you might guess (or know), there is something of a rivalry between these two teams, and when they play it’s known as Bedlam because things can get just a tad bit crazy. Well, it just so happens that December 7, 2013, was the date of Bedlam. And in all the madness, we had forgotten the game was even on–not that we could have watched. But we were able to occupy ourselves during this time at least by listening to the radio broadcast (BOOMER SOONER SUCKAS).
Suddenly, Rachel’s phone rings again; AAA was calling. And do you know what they had to tell us? One of their drivers would be arriving to tow our car in about three minutes.
As Rachel is on the phone receiving this news, into our sight drives the tow truck driver from the other place we called. He drives through the parking lot we’re sitting in, in fact, headed straight for our car. In a sudden frenzy of confusion, my sister starts asking what we’re supposed to do, and my mom–who was trying to call the non-AAA tow truck to cancel– hangs up. The AAA lady tells my sister that if we use this tow truck now, they probably won’t be able to reimburse us and we need to wait for their tow truck. Just as my sister is relaying this to us, the non-AAA tow truck pulls up to the exit to cross the street and begin to hook my sister’s car up.
Suddenly my mother, in an Olympian feat of athleticism, springs out of the car and begins sprint-hopping her way across the icy, slushy parking lot in furry snow boots, waving her arms and shouting, in an attempt to flag him down. Simultaneously my sister and I feel our jaws drop as she races over to it and begins banging on the sides of the back of the truck to try and stop him. He is immune to her cries, however, and pulls over behind the police officer, who proceeds to back his car up and block off the curve ramp. My mom, in a continuing stunning display, goes darting through traffic like a figure skater in the winter Olympics, and begins gesturing and talking to both the police officer and the tow truck.
And suddenly into this bizarre, incredible scene, the AAA approved tow truck comes bursting in like an avenging angel, cutting off the other tow truck and backing up to my sister’s car with complete disregard to the one-way nature of the road, and then proceeds to load it onto his tow truck without speaking a word to anyone.
Throughout this entire exchange, I am trying harder than I have ever tried to sink into my chair and let it swallow me whole in order to deliver myself from this embarrassment. I am now grateful that I brought my pillow, because I am able to use it to bury my face in. My sister is in the back seat just murmuring expressions of disbelief. We are actually witnessing a tow truck standoff.
Let me give you a hint– this was, in fact, happening. In less than five minutes, Rachel’s car was loaded onto the second tow truck, and my mom directs him to pull in over by where Rachel and I were slowly, agonizingly dying of embarrassment.
She then goes over to explain the situation to the policeman (yep, he was still there) and the first tow truck driver, before hurrying back over to the car. We, of course, don’t actually have any idea what is going on at the time, and my mom opens the door but only briefly to pull a twenty out of her purse and mumble something about paying the other driver for his time. It’s then that I realize…. “Rachel… is she… is she bribing him?!”
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My mother bribed a tow truck driver.
Finally she comes back after the policeman and the first tow truck driver drive away, and goes to speak with the AAA driver. After extensive conversation, she gets back in the car, but before we can say anything she starts telling us how the AAA driver was freaking out and in such a huge hurry because, quote “I’m not even supposed to be over here, this is another towing company’s territory! I have to hurry because I’m not supposed to be in this area!”
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My mother bribing someone was not even the strangest part of the day. Oh no. Instead, it was the revelation that apparently towing truck companies are gangs.
We didn’t witness the equivalent of a tow truck standoff, folks, oh no. Instead, we witnessed a RUMBLE.
Really, the bribe was perfectly in character considering.
So we make our way home, and the tow truck that won the rumble deposits Rachel’s poor car in our driveway. Finally, we stumble into our house at about half past noon, I’m not sure if I was more dazed when I left or when I came back, and all I can think is……
You know, some people talk about how sometimes their lives feel like a movie. Well, guys, mine isn’t like a movie– my life is a farce.
So be careful out there this holiday season, Readers. You never know what kind of shady situation you might find yourself accidentally mixed up in.