Thursday, April 1, 2010

How NOT to Spend a Thursday

Today started out just like any other spring day. I stumbled out of bed, checked to see how much snow had fallen, then made sure my neighbors hadn't stolen my car or tried to break into the house. I continued my daily routine by making my pot of inhumanly strong coffee and spilling yesterday's coffee grounds on the floor when I missed the trash can. As I sat on the toilet and read for the next 45 minutes, I began to develop a hunch that today would not go smoothly. Sometimes I marvel at my intuition.

My first appointment--a coffee meeting with a donor--began without event. I drank more coffee and realized I was wearing one brown sock and one black sock. If I've been up for three hours or more and that's all that's gone wrong so far, I'm doing alright. During one of my trips to the bathroom I decided to try going sockless, but after looking at my bare ankles, I decided this wasn't the solution. As I put my mis-matched socks back on my feet, I dropped the second one into the urinal, which had not been flushed. Sockless it is.

About a quarter-mile from the coffee shop on the way to my office, I noticed a Highway Patrol car following me closely with his lights flashing. Cops are always suspicious of those 2007 White Toyota Camrys, I thought to myself as I pulled to the shoulder. I wasn't speeding, but I knew exactly what the problem was. About a week ago, I'd been pulled over for not having a license plate on the front of my car (apparently I didn't buy the nice enough model to get a place to mount a front license plate). Graciously, I was given a warning and told to get that taken care of. I didn't, of course, and received a ticket today, along with a stern scolding from officer Filbert.

My next stop was the dealership for an oil change and an inquiry into how special you have to be to get a car with a license plate mount on the front. I guess it's my fault since I've had the car four years now. Right around the time I finished my third pass through Log Cabin Living magazine, a mechanic with a somber look on his face came to the door and called my name.  He rattled off a handful of things that my car needed, as I'd just passed 60,000 miles and never had a tune-up.  I knew it all had to be done, so I told him to get to work and I poured myself yet another cup of coffee.

After a few minutes, the old lady who had been staring at my lap for a terribly awkward amount of time, finally came clean.  She just nodded and said "I'd like to see that if you don't mind".  Right before I had a chance to say "I get that a lot", I looked down and noticed she was pointing the magazine that I'd long since stopped reading.  Close call.  I turned red for reasons she'll never know and politely handed her the magazine.  As I did, however, I managed to spill my hot coffee on her arm (I'm blaming it on the 8th-cup jitters), which already appeared to be afflicted with leprosy.

She screamed and yelled at me, surely not trying to be mean, just reacting to the newly acquired third-degree burns on her already-diseased arms.  She said something about me keeping my magazine, then she didn't let me help her clean herself up.  "I don't want you touching me!" is something nobody is ever prepared to hear, but especially not out of a sweet little old lady.  The looks of disapproval and, frankly, utter hatred, from the other patrons in the waiting room are something I'll never forget.  I couldn't handle it, so I spent the rest of my time in the showroom reading a pamphlet on the new Prius.

Two hours passed and new people came and went in and out of the waiting room.  I returned shamefully to the scene of the incident and read e-mails on my phone until Lyle came out to tell me my car was finished.  Part of me expected that everything would just get better after I tried to maim the old lady, but I somehow forgot that I'd have to pay for all the work the dealership had been doing on my car.  Maybe I was coming down off the caffeine binge or maybe I wasn't happy about spending $1,237 on my car, but as was looking at the bill, I had to use all of my strength to choke back vomit.  The best option was to swallow what had come up, but after doing so I immediately began to think just throwing up all over Lyle would have been a better idea.  It's not like I was making friends with anybody there anyway.

Sensing my unhappiness, Lyle kindly said, "these are just the things you have to do every few years".

I wanted to swear at him and punch him in the teeth--er, tooth--but I gave a sarcastic smile instead.

"Well, we did wash and vacuum your car for you, free of charge.  Thanks Mr. Creamer, your keys are in the car and it's sitting..."  His pause made me quite uncomfortable, mostly because it was accompanied by a confused look, which was quickly replaced by a terrified look, which followed after a speeding white car as it left the parking lot.

Nothing surprised me at this point, and Lyle went running into the shop area.  He returned to inform me that someone had, indeed driven off with my car.  I let him call the Police.  As he talked to the dispatcher, he started to ask me questions.  Turns out I don't know my license plate number, and I also don't know the policy number on my auto insurance.  When asked if I could get this information, I reported that it was at my house, and my keys were in my car.

Sometimes it is a great idea to buy the most nondescript car on the market.  Sometimes.  When the Police are on the hunt for a white Toyota Camry with unknown license plates, however, you really wish you had bought a yellow stationwagon.

As luck would have it, the Kalispell Police were hot on the trail of my car for a different reason.  Apparently one of our great crime-fighters noticed a car with no license plate on the front and commenced hot pursuit.  The car's driver, obviously not wanting to disclose the location of his meth lab, tried to escape.  He made it quite a ways (the Camry, after all, is one of the sportier vehicles out there today) before he lost control of the car and collided with an empty school bus.

About this time, Kalispell's finest were connecting the dots and realizing that this was, indeed, the vehicle that went missing from Kalispell Toyota only 15 minutes earlier.  We piled into a dealership car and drove about 10 miles to the scene of the accident.  When we arrived, the officer asked for my insurance information, due to the fact that the driver of the vehicle was "at-large".  This was my fault.  Awesome.

The good news is that, while my car gets fixed (on my insurance, for now), Kalispell Toyota has loaned me a white 2009 Toyota Camry.  Gotta love an upgrade!


  1. Oh man, I am so sorry. You rough day made my rough week sound much much better. Did you happen to get out of paying the $1200 car bill?

  2. dave, this sounds like a Seinfeld episode :)

    Jamie Myers

  3. Since it's now April 2nd, I can tell you that not one word of this was true. I do own a Toyota Camry, and I do need to get my front license plate mounted. Other than that, completely false. I appreciate the sympathy though Rachael!