Walking on Broken Glass, by L. Liwag
What happens if you break a mirror while walking under a ladder on Friday the 13th while throwing salt over the wrong shoulder?
Bad luck happens in direct proportion to the amount of money you do not have ~ L. Liwag
Well, kiddies, this is how the fun began: We thought that we ran out of gas in Hagerstown, Maryland. Pushed the car through an intersection, Corey did, that is. Then we had to push the it down and around to get into the Exxon station, Corey and I and a man who looked as if he might have a heart attack.
Now, several things are wrong with this picture: Me, helping to push the Trooper. The car stopping when the gas gauge did not ready fully empty.
We should have known that it was but a prelude . . .
Half an hour out of Hagerstown, on I68 going west, chugging (literally) up a mountain, cresting it, and then coming down, Izzie the Trooper died. Just died. Stopped. Dead. On a mountain.
We are kind of midway between Norfolk and Lima, Ohio. On the side of the road. On a mountain.
It is literally, hot as Hades. I am perspiring like a sweat hog. The hood of the Trooper is up to indicate to passersby: “Hey, look at us. We haven’t just stopped here to rest. Something is wrong.”
Passersby ignore us. We debate. Make telephone calls. Devise a plan of action: Corey’s brothers are going to come and get us, using Steve’s Suburban, towing the ginormous landscaping trailer.
We call roadside assistance and get towed to just outside a place called Flintstone, I kid you not.
It’s 7:20 p.m. on a Friday. Our insurance has arranged to tow us to a small repair shop called J&J’s Repair Shop. Dubious name as I do not even see a bay. Or there might be a bay, can’t really tell. Lots of broken down cars and a purple bus like The Partridge Family.
A man with no shirt on asks Corey to turn the key. Corey does. The man with no shirt pronounces that the engine is gone.
Gone? As in gone gone? Dead? Why did we just go into hock to spend money we didn’t have to get something major done to the engine when it was going to die? Why didn’t the mechanics in Norfolk notice this other problem.
Gone? Are you serious?
For $1600 they’ll fix the car and take us to a motel. Sure. We’ll write you a check. I don’t think so. Man with no shirt leaves. We are stranded in the dirt. Literally.
It will take Corey’s brothers about six hours to get to us. I told you, we were midway. Somewhere in Maryland, 96 miles from Morgantown, West Virginia (that’s what the sign says). It’s a twelve-hour trip from our house to Corey’s parent’s house.
Canceled the hotel room in Sidney and were actually able to get a refund. Hallelujah.
We decide to go to sleep for the duration: Corey in the driver’s seat. Brett in the passenger seat. Tillie in the backseat. And I decide to sleep all the way in the back on top of the luggage. I figure this is the part of the Trooper with the most room in it.
I am wrong.
I take as many muscle relaxers and pain pills as is safely allowable and fall dead asleep. At least the temperature outside is cool.
Around 5 in the morning Corey’s brothers arrive. Izzie is ceremoniously put onto the trailer.
Steve’s Suburban has leather seats. The better part of valor: We decide not to put Tillie’s dog nails on the leather seats. Corey rides in the Suburban with his brothers. Brett, Tillie, and I stay in Izzie.
We pass out from exhaustion. Depression. Tension.
Brett comments that so far, this has not been a great trip. Understatement.
It is hard to be charming when you smell like a wildebeest. ~ L. Liwag
I’m not really sure at what time we arrive in Lima. At least Corey’s dad is surprised. Surprise!
We came all the way from Norfolk to surprise you on your birthday! He’s happy. At least that part of the plan worked . . .
It’s raining. Indian Lake plans have been canceled. Regroup. I don’t want to hug anyone because I stink. Truly. I am covered in sweat, grime, and dog hair. I feel as if my eyeballs are covered with fine hair. I am trying not to act as horrible as I feel.
I’m not sure that it is working.
A shower and a toothbrush. This is all that I can concentrate on. I just ended my sentence in a preposition. I don’t care. That’s how bad it is.
The migraine sets in around 5 p.m. I’m clean now, but I cannot move. Everything hurts. Please, someone just bring an elephant to stomp on my back so that it will feel better.
Corey’s sister is in a play, Grease. She is playing Marty.
I was in Grease a million years ago. Corey and his mom go to the play. I wish that I could go to the play. I love Grease.
I stay home and whimper to myself.
Tillie has a new friend: Alana’s Yorkshire Terrier Jake. I’m glad that someone is happy.
Corey gets home from the play around 11 p.m. I know that he is running on pure adrenaline at this point. They have pizza. I cannot climb the stairs from the basement to join the family for pizza. I feel like a boor, a rude boor. I’m praying that everyone understands and doesn’t think that I’m a boor.
Why does the word grease look funny? Is that how it’s spelled? How about boor? That looks funny too.
Tenacity is a great motto—for other people. ~ L. Liwag
So the good news is that Corey’s family is awesome: They will come and get you when you are broken down two states away.
Other good things: We have one of our dogs. I have most of my medicines with me. We have clothes for four days. The coffee is good. Brett has his PSP and several games. There are Twizzlers. No Pepsi, but Coke. And three computers.
One problem, though. I only brought one book with me, and I finished it last night.
Like Miss Scarlett, I will think about everything tomorrow. Today is Sunday, and we can’t take care of anything today anyway. Actually, I may never think about any of this. My brain might explode.
I’m seriously thinking of hiring a witch doctor or an exorcist when we finally make it back to Norfolk. No one’s luck can be this bad.
And so ends part one of the continuing saga: Why we should fly to Ohio the next time that we come . . .
And now, a song. More later. Peace.