Defeated Part II

Best if read after Part I

I’m not certain at what exact time the car decided to break as the clock in the dashboard had been reset nine months ago when the alternator had gone out and my aunt and uncle paid for the costly repairs. After the alternator had been replaced, I never bothered to set the clock to the correct time. This was mainly due to the combination that I never have a watch on me and that I rarely drive unless I have an appointment for the vet or something equally as pressing and far away. By the time I usually jump in the car, I only have so many minutes to avoid the decelerating rush-hour roads, not to mention make it to my destination at the designated time. I have become quite adept at looking at my awkwardly placed alarm clock before dashing out the door and then calculating that when my car says “9:45” it really means “3:16”.

According to my car, it was about 4:32 when- without warning- it decided to ruin an otherwise good day. Granted, I had to sit idle for over an hour while I waited in line for emissions testing, but the car had passed with flying colors and I found my excursion a good excuse to stop by Home Depot and find a solution for keeping crows out of my tomatoes. Armed with my giant roll of “BirdBlock”, I found myself to be so happy that I didn’t mind the sluggish late morning Saturday traffic. As I came to a busy intersection and braked for a light, the car gave a split-second shiver and was then silent. Trying to restart the engine while in the drive gear only resulted in the “service engine” light blinking. “Thanks you little bitch,” I said to the car. “It’s not like you couldn’t have given me a warning before you die, is it?” I set the gears into park and turned the key, rejoicing as the engine jumped to life, only to return to my former state of annoyance when the engine died as soon as I shifted the gears into drive. I tried this over an over again with different gears. Every gear but drive worked. I had no way of powering the car to the side of the road as I was on a slight incline and far from the curb. I momentarily considered attempting to push the car myself as I had done once before when my friend’s shoes were too slippery to grip the black top of Home Depot’s parking lot when my alternator had first given out. However, I soon realized that it would be too dangerous to push the car as everyone around me seemed manically bent on zooming past as they honked and shouted curses out their open windows.

Once traffic stopped around me to wait for the light, I jumped out of the car and ran to the gas station I was in front of. After trying a number of different towing companies that wouldn’t be able to move me for two hours, I finally found one nearby my scene of misfortune who assured me they would be by in a couple of minutes. The small old Asian woman who worked as the gas station attendant asked me where my car was a couple of times. I kept pointing to the street, surprised she couldn’t make out the static white car that everyone cursed and honked at as they drove around it. She squinted her eyes and said nothing, probably still not able to make it out but taking my word that it was out there. In a terribly thick accent that I had a hard time deciphering, she told me that “no ficking tow companany will come for forty-fie minute.” Even if I had known she was right, there was nothing else I could do but wait for them.

As I was assured someone would tow me in a matter of minutes, I stood outside the gas station waiting with relief. When it became clear that they weren’t coming in two minutes and that a surprising majority of drivers couldn’t figure out there was a reason why I had my flashers on, I ran to the car and opened the hood to signify it as broken. Perching myself on the small plastic space in front of the hood, I then continued to wait for the tardy towing company while doing my best to ignore the honks and screams of angry and impatient drivers.

Twenty minutes later, a cop came around to the front of my car where I was perched and peered at me from the side of the open hood. “Waiting for someone?” he asked me in a tone that noted him as sarcastic and disenchanted with the world. He was a relatively tall man with a buzz cut of short, stubbly gray hairs. His skin was a deep red from the Seattle elements and he looked at me with brightly hardened blue eyes. He stood inside what I consider the space bubble that only my boyfriend and good friends are allowed in. I figured as he was a cop I should refrain from giving him a hard time.

“Hi!” I said, happy that someone finally stopped by to see how I was faring rather than screaming a curse at me. “Yeah, I called a towing company. They said they’d be here about twenty minutes ago.”

“Hmmm…” was his reply, as he thought for a moment about something that he was no doubt trained to think over. “Well, I’ll wait here with you for a little bit and if they still don’t show up I’ll help you push your car into that gas station lot as you’re blocking traffic.”

“Thanks a lot,” was all I knew to say. Then, trying to make small talk, I asked, “Did someone report me?”

“Yup. So nice of them to stop by and help you out, wasn’t it?” he said, clearly not excited about North Seattle’s lack of eagerness to be good citizens.

We waited for a minute longer and the cop began to grow increasingly antsy and started to dance around from one foot to the other. If my mind hadn’t been concentrating on how awkward it was to be waiting in the middle of the street with a cop next to me, I might have laughed at how this serious older man was hopping about. “Okay, I’m going to push you in that lot. Just put your car in neutral and let it slid back into mine. I’ll hook you up with that black thing in the front and push you,” he told me after a minute or so of more hopping.

I did as instructed, riding my breaks and letting the car slowly slid towards his. He stood off to the side, red and blue lights painting his face and hands with changing and unnatural colors. His raised hands were held clearly in my view as he coaxed me backwards. He gave me the signal to stop and I felt the car reverberate from impact. Traffic stopped instantly at a wave from his hand, and he jumped effortlessly into his car and started it up. It was only a matter of a minute before he had pushed me completely out of the road and into a niche in the gas station lot that seemed to be made specifically for a broken car. Jumping out to thank him, I noticed how my car seemed like a child that had been yelled and was forced to face the wall for its offence of high mileage.

I must admit, I felt a pang of regret that I was now out of everyone’s hair. The drivers had been so upset with me and my car being in their way, I was disappointed that I wasn’t making their lives miserable any longer. It seemed fitting that I should take the yuppie populated traffic down with me if I was to suffer and not a single cell-phone owning bastard would jump out of their car and help me push mine out of their way or even offer to call a towing company. But at the same time, I was relieved not to have a constant string of curses and honks thrown in my direction. I knew I should have dressed sexy that morning, but little did I know it was for a reason other than so the emissions guys would let me through if I barely passed.