My car is a silver 2001 Ford Taurus. When my dad graciously
offered agreed to get me a car during my second year of university, I was just so thrilled and grateful that I didn’t care what kind of car. One day, he took me to a Ford dealership where a shiny used Taurus awaited us in the lot. It was actually the first car I ever drove since my family loves minivans. Getting into this teeny little car was life-changing. It was so small and compact! The salesman must have never seen a 20-year-old’s eyes light up at the sight of a Taurus. It was an easy sell. We my dad purchased it in 2005, and I promised to make monthly payments to pay him back. As a student living away from home and working part-time at a floundering gift shop in the mall, I had over-estimated my budgeting skills. I kinda sorta stopped making payments to him after the first couple…..but shhhhhhhh! Don’t remind him!
In retrospect, I probably could have gotten something cooler. My dad must have been strumming his fingers like Mr. Burns and thinking “excellent” to put his daughter in a giant, safe, grandpa car. But you know what? It has grown on me. I am now proud to say that I drive a Taurus. It’s unique! How many people under 70 do you know who drives one? I’m special.
My Taurus is actually pretty bad-ass. A few years ago, a friend of mine thought it would be funny to place a decal on the back windshield without telling me. I didn’t notice it until I was walking up to the car in my apartment building’s parking garage the next day. At first, I thought I was tagged by a gang (Back story: My car’s front window had been recently smashed in to steal my iPod. Oops). So I thought the decal was the thieving thug’s way of saying, “I own you, bitch.” I quizzed my friends until one finally admitted to sneaking it on. I’ve left it there ever since and, for obvious reasons, named my car The Skeletaurus.
Another reason my car is bad-ass, is that it’s now pretty beat-up. It’s no secret that perhaps I’ve abused this car a little (remember my frequent habit of running on empty, which bit me in the ass in My Gas Problem?) It also has a big dent in the side from another car secretly swiping it while it sat in the mall parking lot during a blizzard. They did not leave a note (THAT is a note I would have loved to receive). Rust has taken over the area surrounding my back wheels and is slowing working to outline the entire car. The A/C stopped working two summers ago. Even the birds know what it’s worth:
I really need to stop feeding the birds that live in the tree I park my car under.
Last summer, The Skeletaurus’ brakes needed to be replaced. I had been putting it off because it’s quite the costly undertaking. It lasted some time with no highway driving and no speeds over 50km/hr and braking years ahead of an upcoming stop. But after a harrowing ride home from work when the brakes started making funnier noises than usual, I finally drove it straight to the mechanic. He shamed me. Then he said it would take a couple of days.
Don’t judge me. I’m a woman. We aren’t supposed to know anything about these car thingys.
With my car out of commission, I asked my neighbour who lives across the street from me, and happens to work next to my work, if she could drive me for a couple of days. She had done this for me occasionally in the past when my car needed to go in for minor fixes. She graciously agreed.
Our arrangement was that she’d drop me off in the same place she’d pick me up, which was along the lane way leading up to her work and a short walk across the parking lot to my work.
This was working quite well! Until one day.
Sidenote: She told me if I were to ever write about this to make sure the readers know she’s very responsible and to not make her look stupid. Readers, she’s very responsible and she is not stupid.
But now, I’ll let you be the judge.
She dropped me off in the usual spot and I said thank you and see you back here after work! Towards the end of the day, I did the usual email reminder we agreed on as part of the routine.
We finish working at 4:00pm, so I left my work at 3:45pm so to not risk keeping her waiting. I was standing in the spot before 3:50pm.
Something to note about the location of the spot: As you may have noticed in the diagram above, it’s pretty wide open. A person standing on the sidewalk sticks out like a sore thumb. Know the scene from North by Northwest where Cary Grant is chased down by a crop duster in the middle of nowhere?
So I’m Cary Grant, and you just can’t miss me.
Just after 4:00pm, I saw my neighbour’s car coming down the hill towards me like the crop duster. She was the only car on the road. But she was moving faster than usual, and not slowing down. Hmmm. I gave a smooth little wave because surely she could see me. But she wasn’t slowing down. My wave became more aggressive. She still wasn’t slowing down. As she drove right past me, I shouted her name and jumped up and down waving my arms. I ran after her with my lunchbox and purse in tow flapping my arms frantically like a crazy person, hoping she’d see me in the rearview mirror and clue in. Nope. She turned the corner and was gone. I watched as she stopped at a light down the road, and temporarily considered making a run for it. But with my luck, that would just result in me tripping and falling into traffic and getting my head smushed by monster truck (because, of course, that would be the day a monster truck decides to cruise through London, Ontario). I kept watching as she drove away, hoping I’d see her do a sudden U-turn and race back to me. But it didn’t happen. She was gone.
Well. This is inconvenient.
I called her cell a couple of times and texted her. I gave her the approximate time it takes to get home before looking for other options. I figured pulling into her driveway and seeing my place across the street might trigger something and she’d call me and come back. That didn’t happen.
I had been texting another friend of mine during this whole ordeal. As I explained the situation, she kept saying things like, “This would happen to you. What did you expect? This is you we’re taking about here.” Since my neighbour didn’t appear to be coming back, I asked my friend to come pick me up. I had walked to a shadier spot, because, remember, I had NOTHING surrounding me and the sun was hot. When my friend came to my rescue, I waved my arms frantically to make sure she saw me and banged on the car when she stopped.
Later that evening, I received a string of apologetic messages from my neighbour who was clearly distraught by her mistake. In my life, when bizarre things happen to me, it’s just another day. No biggie. I assured her it was fine but she was persistent in her apologies. Turns out, she didn’t have the cell phone that I was calling and texting with her, and she didn’t go straight home after work, hence being distracted by her plans and not being triggered by the sight of my apartment building until she returned home much later.
I got my car back that evening, so I didn’t need her to drive me anymore. And I haven’t needed her to since (if she’s reading this–I swear it’s not because I no longer trust you!).
Say what you will about The Skeletaurus, but it hasn’t failed me yet!