We play this really fun game in our family. It's called Automobile Russian Roulette. Because we are students living on one income, we are not in the position to make car payments. Instead, we buy and sell used vehicles every few months in the hopes that we will one day end up with a keeper.
Oh so fun.
Just last week we traveled a couple of hundred miles to get a Honda Odyssey. A really sweet deal.
However, Friday night on our way home from a birthday party, the wheel bearing broke. And we had to have it towed to our mechanic, who was, of course, closed for the holiday weekend. So we left it there for them to discover this morning and, hopefully, repair today.
So we are down to one car. One very old, very large Lincoln Town car, belonging to my husband. It is like steering an ocean liner. Had it not belonged to his father, it would have been long gone, but we keep resuscitating the poor beast. Joy of joys, I get to drive it to school today.
Allow me to switch gears and tell you about my Tuesday and Thursday morning ritual. I meet a couple of friends for coffee at 8 a.m.-ish and we chat until I have to leave for class at 9 to get there at 9:30. It's a very short little burst of socializing to get me through till my next fix. Not to mention the butt-kicking caffeine shot.
This morning I'm feeling way behind and dog-tired and my head is heavy and allergy-laden. I have so much homework and I only got about 3/4 of the way through it. My Brit Lit assignment was reading "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", translated from the Old English, but still pretty wordy and quite long at 50-some pages. I have about 14 left to go.
Now, I actually like Sir Gawain and have enjoyed the story itself immensely. But that nagging little troll called Time has been elbowing me in the ribs and reminding me I will never get through it in time for class, not to mention the mind-numbing, excruciatingly painful Algebra homework weighing on me like a ton of bricks. And, oh yeah, those other two classes I'm taking.
But that's another post altogether.
I'm really very sad that I haven't finished Sir Gawain. I sincerely want to and I feel cheated.
I get to my coffee appointment around 10 after 8, and I'm grumbling about those precious 10 minutes I lose with my homies, but glad to sit and chat with them and a cup of super strong coffee and pretend like I'm going to read 14 pages of Old English poetry in the next 50 minutes.
I have about 20 minutes left of my morning solace when I realize my husband has been trying call me and I've missed him. 3 times. I call him back only to find he has forgotten to leave the key for the mechanic and needs me to take it by.
I have to leave my friends and my cup half full and drive all the way back to the mechanic's shop which is by my house about 10 minutes away, the opposite direction of my class. However, I should have just enough time.
But I'm not happy.
So, off I go, to be a responsible adult and do what has to be done, begrudgingly, all the while trying to cheer myself up by telling myself what a good wife I was for not whining and complaining to my husband or berating him for forgetting the key, even though I really wanted to. I arrive to find two other men waiting in front of the shop for them to open. One is a very friendly, little elderly man, who greets me with a warm "Good Morning!" I return it and think to myself how very sweet he is and how he actually made me feel better with his smile. I place the Honda keys in the key drop and head back to the Beast.
I get in.
I turn the key.
The Beast is dead.
This can not be happening.
I try again.
I remember that we had a little problem like this earlier and my husband showed me a neat little trick under the hood to rectify it. I pop the hood and try the trick.
It doesn't work.
The sweet, little man comes to me to try to help, but he cannot. I call my husband and tell him the good news, even though I know he can't do anything because he his home with the kids, without a car. But I need him to be the voice of reason before I have a nervous breakdown right there in the parking lot and ruin this sweet, little man's day.
He walks me through a couple of other tricks, but alas, nothing works. He talks to me calmly and helps me understand that being late to class in this case is not equivalent to murder and it will not throw the universe into a catastrophic state of supernova proportions.
I am frantically searching my book bag for my syllabus with my instructor's number to alert her to my situation. I do not want to be lumped in with the slackers who can't drag their hungover selves out of bed for class.
I know this would not be the case, but one must remember I am not thinking rationally.
Just in the nick of time, Ward, our mechanic, saunters up to unlock and sweet, little elderly gentlemen tells him of my situation and he comes over to take a look.
He uses that trick. You know, the one I tried?
And it works.
Apparently I needed the car in park, not neutral, in order to perform the trick successfully.
I thank him and my elderly friend quickly, but sincerely, and speed away to try and make the half hour trek in 18 minutes.
Hubby finds my instructor's number online and I call her from the car. Of course, she doesn't answer, but I leave a very apologetic voice mail and decide I've done all I can do. I will go to class late and homework incomplete. I will face the music. I will survive.
But I still drive fast.
And I still want to cry.
Several times I blink back the tears and wish I could start this semester over. I feel overwhelmed and disorganized. Instead of having certain blocks of time I can devote to school, I feel as though I've been forced to squeeze in a little here and there between the cracks and I HATE it. It has to even out. The madness has to stop.
I call a friend I left at the coffee shop and tell her what has happened and ask her to say a prayer for me.
If I can make it through the day without crying, it will be a miracle.
And miracles do happen, as I made it to school with about 30 seconds to spare, but not a minute late. I breathe a little easier and rush to class, only to find the door locked and the light out.
And a little sign posted:
"Brit Lit II NO CLASS TUESDAY, SEPT 4
Labor Day Holiday"
I thought I might actually collapse with relief.
So I have an hour and a half before my next class. Time to do homework. Time to blog.
And what makes me most happy?
Time to finish Sir Gawain properly, without being rushed.
I'm such a nerd.