Houston, we have a problem: you eff-ed up my car.

The past 6 days I would not wish upon anyone.

The Death of the C-Class, a.k.a, Corey the Corolla (1992 – 2006)

On Tuesday, I got into a fender-bender with an SUV coming back home from work. Well, since her car sits higher than mine our fenders never met, but I did manage to rub some paint off my hood onto her bumper while it was obliterating the top of my radiator. In fact, my radiator and hood latch assembly got shoved about a foot into the engine. After I tied the hood to the bumper with rope, the car miraculously still drove to the shop (granted, it was leaking radiator fluid the whole time). The estimate to fix it was about $1400 dollars, which is about $1325 more than someone was willing to pay for the car. Unable to sell it off, and only needing a vehicle to transport me and my essentials to Boston, I decided to donate the car and hire a rental instead. The car should be picked up today and gutted for parts. I’m sure the new clutch, alternator, battery and exhaust system will make someone very happy. Good night my white prince, you were too beautiful for this world.

Rental Car Razzmatazz

First came Hertz. I got a deal there because my car was at the shop at the same time (of course, I left the part about not fixing it out of the conversation). I hired a Saturn Ion with the agreement that the next day I would trade it for an SUV or truck — I needed a high-capacity vehicle to help transport my things into storage, an activity I hadn’t yet begun. ETD of Houston was still Friday.

(By the way, as I write this, there’s a mouse running around the floor in my corner of the coffee shop. I’d be a little creeped out, but I’ve propped my feet onto another chair, and it’s rather entertaining.)

The next evening I traded the Saturn for a Chevy Equinox SUV, and began taking my things to storage. The day after that, on Thursday, I realized that leaving Friday morning was looking worse and worse, so the plan was to trade the SUV in for a one-way-trip-to-Boston car and shoot for the afternoon. Then the ETD changed to Saturday morning and on Friday evening I went to pick up the only car I could get on short notice, a Chrysler Pacifica. The Pacifica had plenty of room to make a run to the storage locker on Saturday morning and fit my essentials for the trip to Boston.

After three different cars and several hundreds of dollars, I left Houston at 8:30 Saturday morning.

A Heart-to-Heart with the Louisiana Highway Patrol

The speed limit on I-12 around Hammond, LA is 70 and I was going just that (exactly that, in fact — yay cruise control!). After I passed him, I thought I was in the clear until I saw the cruiser slowly pull out. The patrolman followed me for about 1/2 mile before he set off the lights and tones. What was even stranger than the fact that he pulled me over was the conversation that followed:

5-0: That’s a lot of stuff you got there!

BG: Yup, I just left Houston and am moving my stuff back home to Boston

5-0: What are you planning on doing?

BG: Well I took a Leave of Absence from my job and am planning on doing some traveling. So I’m taking my things up to my parents house.

5-0: How does that work?

BG: Well, for three months you’re still an active employee, but I’m thinking I’ll be gone for closer to 6 months.

5-0: What did you do?

BG: I worked for Boeing. (What?) Boeing, like the airplanes, but I worked for their space program.

5-0: Where were you coming from?

BG: Houston, heading up to Boston by way of Atlanta.

5-0: (looks at the rental contract and my license) OK, have a good trip, sir.

I’m not sure if he was just lonely and looking for a pen pal, if he thought it was stolen merchandise I was carrying, if he didn’t like my out-of-state tags, or a Chrysler Pacifica killed his Pappy, but I had clearly done nothing wrong to get stopped. Maybe he saw a kid driving an out-of-state car loaded to the brim and wanted to check him out. He certainly wasn’t offensive, angry or unreasonable. A few miles down the road I actually understood — he’s making sure there aren’t any creeps driving through his state. I got no problem with that. Though for the rest of my drive, I never took that fact that I wasn’t speeding to mean I wouldn’t be stopped. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, like you’re not welcome there.

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One comment

  1. I’m sure he was using the following…

    “Profiling checklist:

    1. Male (check)
    2. Dark skin (check)
    3. Driving nice car (check)
    4. Not from ’round these parts (check)
    5. Wearing turbin
    6. Reading Koran

    Pull over if 4 of 6 criteria met. Arrest if 5 of 6 criteria met. Shoot if 6 criteria met.”

    I was pulled over outside of Oklahoma City because I had a military haircut, driving through Oklahoma City at midnight with a truck with the back covered by a tarp. It didn’t help that it was a few days before the first anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

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