Monday, February 22, 2010


It warmed up to above 40 a day or two ago, but now it's down to about 15, and it's snowing again. The roads are atrocious. Times like this, I almost wish I still lived on campus.

Last week, Monday was a nice "normal" day, but Tuesday, I was on campus for thirteen hours. Wednesday, I was on campus for ten hours. Thursday, I got lucky and was only there for six, and Friday, I went to campus for morning classes, and then Jack, Josi, Fingers, and I left to go to Anchorage for a temple trip.

Part of the reason I was so busy last week was because the juggling club got kicked out of its normal practice area. I'd like to blame the guy who decided to bring a gigantic pogo stick and use it inside even after he was asked to stop, but it's not ENTIRELY his fault. I had missed every practice for over a week, largely because of my wreck, and then got a frantic phone call from my vice president saying we'd been kicked out of the Wood Center and he didn't know what to do. So now I'm trying to find us another practice location, but so far, it's not going well. In the meantime, juggling practice is becoming somewhat spontaneous.

I managed to acquire a new car within 24 hours of wrecking my old one. There's a guy in town who owns seven acres, entirely covered in wrecked Subarus. I traded in my old car plus two thousand bucks, and he gave me a working car of the exact same make and model, but four years older. Also, it runs. That's all I really need for now. I've named the new car Serenity after the spaceship in the TV show Firefly. Good show. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in ages. My friends love to quote it, and half the time, I don't remember what they're talking about.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ah, crap

Today, I was driving downtown to pay some bills. It was five in the evening, and I was running later than I had wanted to (the places closed at six). It was warm today--right around zero--and I was enjoying the radio, the fact that the sun had set, et cetera. I guess I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have, because I noticed way too late that there was a car in front of me stopped in the lane (left lane) waiting to turn left. I hit the brakes, skidded, began fishtailing, and rear-ended the car in front of me going about 40 mph, then spun into the car to our right (thank goodness I didn't spin left into oncoming traffic).

I saw it coming and didn't honk like I guess I should've to let the lady know I was about to rear-end her. Oops. Funny enough, instead of thinking, "Oh no, this is going to hurt," I was thinking, "Oh no, this is going to mess up my car." Or maybe just, "I don't want to deal with the repercussions of this."

I've never seen air bags deploy before. Is that the right word? Deploy? Well, I definitely got a close-up view this time. I didn't even realize that was what happened at first. I guess I just thought the soft thing my face smashed into was what it felt like when you were in shock. Or dead. And I inhaled a lot of dust. Why is there so much dust in with the airbags? Blech.

You know, the Check Airbag light has been on ever since I bought that car. I'm kind of glad now that it was a faulty light instead of faulty airbags. I never got them checked because I never thought I'd need them.

So there I was, sitting in my crumpled car. I don't know how long it took me to recover from the shock of the wreck enough to open my eyes. By the time I did, there were a couple of cars--including the ones I had hit, of course--pulled into the parking lot there on the right and people were standing around talking. Genius that I am, I tried to drive my car over there. It wasn't budging. I tried restarting it. Oh yeah. Duh. Should I be able to see my front license plate from the driver's seat? Probably not. Maybe that was why my car wasn't starting.

Then I realized I was having trouble breathing because the car was so filled with the dust from the airbags. So I rolled down my window. Then it occurred to me that since my car wasn't moving, it might, maybe, be more effective to just get out of the car and walk over there. I don't think I even looked both ways before getting out and staggering over to the parking lot to where people were standing around talking on phones and exchanging information. I took one look at them, said shakily, "I'm really really really sorry..." and then darn near passed out. I was shaking so bad I could hardly stand up.

Since I know you're all wondering: no, nobody got hurt. Well, the lady I rear-ended said she "thought" she was okay, and that she didn't want to be the one to complain. She didn't seem to be in any pain or to have trouble moving around, so I expect she's probably about as shaken and generally sore as I am, but with no real injuries. As for me, well, I got a bruise on the knuckle of my left hand. No idea where that came from. The lady I side-swiped said that although I had knocked off her back bumper, she was fine--her car just got pushed to the side a bit, so nothing too bad there. She was very nice, and let me sit in her car to keep warm (it had gotten down to -10. Go figure).

It took me several minutes to stop shaking enough to call someone. Since one of the ladies had already called the police, I opted to call Jack, who was at work. He had to work a 24-hour shift today, and I had promised to bring him dinner that evening. So I called him to tell him that I wouldn't be able to make it... you know, what with no longer having a working car and all. He went straight to his commander, told him about the situation, and left work to come help me. We also called up Kitty, Fingers, and Josi, since Jack had to go back to work as soon as he made sure I was okay and got me home.

The lady I rear-ended was really frustrated. Apparently, she got rear-ended by someone just four days ago (presumably in another car).

Both the other cars will need the bumpers and lights fixed. Not too terrible, though. The rear of my car was a bit dented and battered from swiping the second lady, and the engine had folded like an accordion. I guess you could say that now the engine is "Fun Size!" The windshield cracked (looked like a bullethole right... well, right where my head would have hit it if I hadn't been wearing a seatbelt and hadn't had airbags), and there was some kind of liquid all over the road. No idea if it was coolant or oil or what. Basically, though, my car is dead. Almost the entire thing would have to be rebuilt if I wanted to put the money into it to fix it. Well, at least I don't have to fix the CV joints anymore.

Naturally, I got cited, but the officer was really nice, and gave me as few points as possible (two) since I've never had a moving violation before. He also said if I go in to court and say I want to take a defensive driving class, the two points will be taken off. Of course, there are still the problems I have to throw money and paperwork at--calling the insurance companies, getting the other two cars fixed, and of course, my ticket. Not to mention I need a vehicle for the next three months. Blah.

Oh yeah, so I was telling the officer my phone number, and he recognized 540 as a Virginia number. I was surprised, and he said, "Yeah, I'm from Lynchburg." Heh. Cool.

After an hour of standing around outside in -10 degree weather, we finally finished all the paperwork and everything, and the officer let Jack and me go. Jack took me to his apartment, where Kitty, Fingers, and Josi were waiting. Josi and Kitty pounced on me and hugged me. They pulled away, and I wordlessly held up the broken rear-view mirror, which Jack had apparently picked up from the seat of my car when he jumped in to grab whatever he thought I might need.

"Is that all that's left?" Josi asked. It doesn't seem as funny now that I'm writing it, but at the time, it was pretty much the funniest thing in the world.

So here I am, sitting at home, wishing I hadn't ever gone downtown to pay those stupid bills. I hate bills. And now I have more reason than you do to hate them.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Running late

This morning, I ignored my alarm for an hour and a half. At 9:30, I suddenly snapped awake with the sudden horrible realization, "Oh crap, I'm going to be late for my 10:00 class!" I rocketed out of bed (to Stormy's chagrin) and flew around in a whirlwind, shoving everything into my backpack before flying into my car and speeding down the road. I skidded into the parking lot, gliding perfectly into a conveniently empty parking space, and sprinted up the icy hill to class while my lungs protested, "I don't like breathing -30 degree air this fast! Make it stop!" So I stopped breathing as I ran. I practically flew up six flights of stairs and ran down the hall, reaching the classroom door with thirty seconds left before 10:00. I flung the door open so I could scramble over a couple desks to get to my seat... and a bunch of Asian kids turned and stared at me like I was insane. I froze. They kept staring. I looked at the teacher. He was a short little Asian guy. He might have been 20 or 60. I can never tell with Asians. But he was definitely giving me a "look." It said, "Who are you and what are you doing in my classroom?" His hand was still holding a marker, frozen in the act of writing an unfinished equation on the whiteboard. I crawled into my jacket to try and hide, then wormed my way out of the room, quietly pulling the door closed behind me. I heard another two seconds of awkward silence in the room before class started right back up where it had left off, as if I had never been there.

But it was now past time for class to start. What were a bunch of Asian geniuses doing in my English classroom? What on Earth? Where was the teacher? Where was Natay, the girl who covers for me when I have to miss class to save the world? Had I done my homework for nothing?

And then realization dawned.

It's Friday. Class doesn't start until ten thirty.