Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 313 - "Down That Red Dirt Road"

It seems like I keep having car stories this year.

I was on my way to hell - wait, I mean the job I really don't like and want to quit but I have bills to pay - on Monday morning.  As usual, it was 3:45 in the morning, dark, and all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  I was about a third of the way to work when it all started.

The biggest cat I have ever seen in my entire life ran out of the ditch and I hit the poor soul with my car. 

I don't like hitting animals.  There were one or two crazy kids that I went to high school with that took pleasure in hitting animals as soon as they were able to legally climb behind the wheel without an adult.  I hope they all end up in prison someday.

Anyway, the cat keeps running into the road and I'm gripping the steering wheel, praying that the cat would come to its senses and stop before what was becoming increasingly inevitable happened. 

I tried to stop.  It wasn't soon enough.


I slam on the brakes and hope that, as my car is coming to a stop, I'm not dragging this massive household feline under my car, because I'm already groggy and tired and upset because I am probably going to the evil place for killing someone's beloved pet.  After I sat smack in the middle of the road for a minute or two to calm myself down, I start driving off.

That's when I heard it.  The sound.

It sounded like part of my car was scraping across the pavement, making an awful dragging sound that made me wonder if my car came out of this just as bad as the cat.  I forced my car to limp along until we got to work, the scraping sound haunting me the rest of the way there.  Not a good idea to stop and take a look - it was dark outside and, out here in farm country, we don't believe in street lights!

It wasn't until I had gotten off of work that I saw the damage.  The thick plastic sheet that hangs back under the bumper had been torn off, and a foot long and three or four inch wide portion of the sheet was hanging at an angle and dangerously close to the ground.  I panicked - my car was broken!

I won't lie; my car does have some battle scars.  There's a crack in the front bumper from where, while trying to leave my assigned parking lot when I was in college, bumper met road because the grade of the drive wasn't maintained and resulted in the automotive version of biting it hard.  There's a slight dent in the roof where the back windshield meets the roof.  To be honest, you can't even tell it's there a good 99.9999999 into infinity percent of the time.  I have no clue how it got there.

My little Neon and I limped home, still wounded from kitty cat battle and I waited until my dad got home.  I was hoping that this was not going to require a trip to the repair shop because, well, it would have to wait until I got paid this coming Monday.  Dad tells me to pull my car up, gets a wrench, and tosses me the piece of plastic after a couple of quick turns and a tug.

Then comes the lecture.  "You need to learn to take better care of this car.  You haven't taken care of it at all," he says in his gruff, I-was-in-the-military-and-yes-I-am-quite-upset-with-you.

Let's recap:
  • pulverized plastic - Not my fault.  The cat ran under my car of its own free will / predestination.
  • road burnt bumper - Not my fault.  My school failed to take care of its facilities and not so politely reminded me that it was a risk I took while parking on campus.  (??????????)
  • lightly riddled roof - Once again, not my fault.  Not sure how it got there, but it was another of those "inherit risks of parking on campus."
I'm not sure what I was supposed to learn from all of this.  Don't hit cats?  Don't hit really big cats?  Or don't have your dad fix your car?


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