Tag Archives: driving

A Construction Zone Tragedy

Jana: They say that tragedy + time = comedy. In the case of the story I’m about to tell you, I’m hopeful that the saying holds up. This story is a tragedy. This is the story of a tragedy that occurred in my life last spring at around midnight on a Wednesday.

It was April. At the time, I had a boyfriend who had been living in LA for about three months, and was returning to Boston to graduate from college and hang out with me for a month or two, and he was arriving on this very night. In what we thought was just an annoying thing but turned out to be a fatefully awful thing, his plane was getting in at midnight. Would I pick him up at the airport? Of course I would pick him up at the airport. I was his girlfriend, and I was very excited to see him, and I even bought him a flower and drank coffee at 10 PM.

Picture it: I had coffee. I put on makeup. At 11:30 or so, I walked to my car and felt the spring air alive around me. I turned on the radio and drove through Allston, energized by the city lights. Things were going well.

I kept driving. I got on the highway. I entered the tunnel.

Before I continue, I should say that I am really, really bad at directions. I don’t mean that I am ok at directions; I mean that my sense of direction is about as sharp as my sense of smell, which is essentially non-functioning. I’m an idiot. So, even though I’ve driven to Logan approximately 15 times MINIMUM, I was using the GPS on my phone. And when I use the GPS, I like to really stick to it, because when I don’t I generally end up alone and crying and lost in Revere without money to get past the tolls to make it home (I’ve had some bad experiences with fast pass so I don’t use it anymore, and I always forget to keep quarters in my car – it’s a frightful combination of failures). With memories like that, I really try to go by the GPS and do whatever it tells me, always.

So, I’m in the car. I enter the tunnel. My GPS tells me that I’m two exits away from the exit I should take. Cool, cool, I think, as I sing along to the radio and feel good about my life. But wait, why am I taking this exit? Somehow, it seemed like I’d been manipulated to get off the highway too early? What? This is wrong, but I’m gonna fix it before it gets worse! I thought proudly as I swerved back onto the highway.

And then I heard the sirens.

You see, I’d swerved through cones. THROUGH CONES, my friends. Listen to me: under no circumstances should you swerve through cones. You should never do that. Cones indicate a construction zone, and you are NOT SUPPOSED TO DRIVE IN THOSE.

The cops who pulled me over were NOT KIND. They assumed I had to be wasted, because WHY ELSE WOULD ANYONE DO WHAT I’D DONE, and they treated me like I’d just murdered all of their children. I was sobbing, and apologizing, and they were like, this is gonna cost you a thousand dollars, you could have killed someone, etc etc. Then they left me alone to shake with fear and gasp out tears while they conferred about what to do with me.

When they came back to my window, they handed me a $600 ticket. And then they told me I was lucky they weren’t towing my car, and that I should back up out of the tunnel.

Which I did, somehow. I BACKED UP OUT OF THE TUNNEL. I don’t even know how I did it. I thought I had maybe already died. It was fucking horrific.

So, then I went to the airport to get my boyfriend! It was a really joyous reunion in that I couldn’t even look at him because I was so freaked out and he was like, cool, it’s great to see you, and I was like, you have to drive home I have PTSD and will never drive again.

This is me and my car around the time of the incident. It's not the same day, which you can tell because I'm not sobbing.

This is me and my car around the time of the incident. It’s not the same day, which you can tell because I’m not sobbing.

The icing on the top of this tragedy cake is that, a few months later, I received a citation alerting me that I’d need to take a full-day, $150 class to re-learn about driving or my license would be revoked. And you guys – I went to the class. OH I WENT. It was awesome and I’m thinking about writing a “A Chorus Line”-esque musical based on the experience, but I’ll save that story for another day.

Catherine: If I had my old phone, I would have to go in there and retrieve the string of texts I woke up to from Jana that chronicled the incident. I was nervous by the time I texted her back, because I thought that there was real good possibility that she had killed herself. Luckily for BOTH OF US, that was not the case.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vehicle-Related Misfortune: Part 1 of One Million

Jana: Alright, guys. The time has come to talk about my cars.

I’ve been avoiding this post because there is just SO MUCH to say. I would think about writing it and suddenly become overwhelmed with memories of all the terrible things that have happened to cars I have owned, and think, how could that ever work? Think of the subheadings! There’s just no way.

So, today I have decided to start by telling you two little stories. Gradually, as time goes on and I heal from the more recent incidents, I will share those with you as well. Just to pique your interest (PIQUE! That word is spelled cooler than it has a right to be, or perhaps I am spelling it wrong?), here is the list I am working from:

PT Cruiser:

– Tires slashed

– Towed (while on a first date)

– Eventually destroyed by electrical damage (father’s fault)

Honda Fit:

– Rear-ended and pushed into car in front of me (damage to front and back)

– Plow backed into me destroying front of car (plow driver screamed at me)

– Towed

– Towed (one week after first towing)

– Window smashed

– $300 in tickets accumulated from expired parking permit

– $600 ticket acquired after driving into a construction zone, in a tunnel, at midnight

As you can see, my car life has been fraught with tears, near-death experiences, and the expenditure of vast amounts of money. But, let that all go! For now, let’s just focus on the first and third items on the PT Cruiser list.

So, yes! I owned a PT Cruiser. It was black, like all good mini-hearses should be, and it came to be mine when I inherited it from my Aunt, a wonderful woman who was so wackily awesome that when she decided to buy a new car in her 70s, she bought a PT Cruiser because she thought it was weird and cool. And then I got it, and I also thought it was weird and cool, despite what all of my friends said.

Here is a picture of the car that I had! Keep in mind that mine was, just in general, more disgusting-looking. I didn’t clean it much/ever, etc, and I’m certain that the sunset was never able to be reflected in its hatchback.

Anyway, I had it for three years. During its third year, in January of 2010, it was seriously injured for the first time. Here’s what happened: I lived in Allston. I had taken a week off from work for the holidays, and on Monday the 2nd of January I got up to go back to the office and face the world. I was already feeling anxious, like I always do after a vacation from anything – for some reason, it always feels like probably I’ve been fired while I was away and when I get there it will become really clear that I’m not supposed to be there and everything will be terrible. So, I was feeling anxious on this particular morning as I agonized over an outfit, picked something stupid, and got in my car.

I remember that the car definitely felt a little weird, but I was tired and have no common sense, so I kept driving. BUT THEN, suddenly, I was on the highway, and my car was no longer a functioning entity. Strangely, it felt like it had no wheels – like I was now driving a cardboard BOX, with CARDBOARD wheels. It was, essentially, a living nightmare.

So what I did was, I started to cry, because that is my instinct in any situation of nearly any kind. Somehow, I made it to the next exit and managed to pull into the parking lot of a Bertucci’s. There, through my panicked tears, I made the crucial discovery that both of my back tires … had been slashed. Not just cut a little, you guys: SLASHED AS FUCK. It truly looked like someone had gone to town on them with a machete.

So that was that. I cried and waited for Triple A and they came and replaced my tires and I went to work three hours late. And then I continued to live in that Allston apartment for another year, never knowing why someone had chosen to slash my tires. I didn’t really question it, honestly, as it just seemed sort of par for the course, my life-wise. But, to answer your questions, yes there were other cars in the driveway I had been parked in; no, none of them appeared to have slashed tires, and yes it did seem like a very personal attack but like, does someone hate me? I chose to think it was just god reminding me again that I’m not a “winner.”

Time for the second story, in which the PT Cruiser meets its demise.

First, the only picture I could find in which I’m driving the Cruiser. It’s fitting that I look hideous here – obviously, on this day I chose not to wear any makeup, and to wrap a weird thin scarf around my gross dirty-looking head. But there we are! Me and the car.

One Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2010, I was at my parent’s house, and my car was parked in the driveway. The whole family was just hangin out, but then my sister, who has hawk-like car-vision, looked out the window and noticed that my car’s right front headlight was cracked. “Jana, did you get in an accident?” she asked me. I was like, um NO, what the fuck! So we ran outside, all of us: me, my sister, my mom, and my dad. Sure enough, the damn thing was cracked! How could this have happened! I was racking my brain for some kind of collision that I’d potentially blacked out, my mom was saying things, my sister was saying things. It was so weird! This went on for about five minutes before my dad, who had been silent all this time, said simply:

“I did it.”

DADDDD. So yeah, it turned out that my dad had borrowed my car and rammed it into a pole in a parking garage, and then deliberately told no one because he thought he could get away with it. WHICH HE ALMOST DID. Because he KNEW that I would never, ever notice that my headlight was cracked, and he didn’t feel like dealing with it. Honestly, it was a brilliant move.

When I brought the car in to have the headlight replaced, I learned that the crack had let in a whole bunch of water, thus causing very expensive electrical damage throughout the car (or whatever, I have no idea about anything except that it cost a lot). This led me to purchase a brand new car (with the help of my sweet father), which I would later come to systematically destroy.

Catherine: Jana, you forgot about that time we were driving up to Burlington for New Year’s Eve and we hit some ice and did a 180 on the highway. You silly girl… and luckily there were no cars coming otherwise we would have died? And we slowwwwwly got the car going again and turned it around? This all was before we had a terrible time and made resolutions that we of course did not keep.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,