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Cars are machines: They break down from time to time — even if you take the best care of them.
The fact that I’ve been behind the wheel — or sitting shotgun with my buddies — for considerably more time than the average driver has left me more vulnerable to dealing with car breakdowns. The more time you spend behind the wheel, the more likely you are to deal with a malfunctioning car — it’s as simple as that. Math, or something.
It’s hard to know what it’s like to be stranded on the side of the highway in the middle of the night during a snowstorm unless it’s happened to you. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three times I’ve been stuck on the side of the road, as well as how I got the heck out of there and lived to tell the tale. Ah, the memories:
- The Unforgettable Concert
Back in high school, I was heading to a Five Iron Frenzy concert in Chicago which was three hours away from where we lived at the time. Not just any concert, the last time I would ever see my favorite band ever (well, until they got back together and I saw them last year). On our way there, my brother’s Chevy Blazer died. It had been having trouble with oil and decided this was a great time to poop the bed.
This probably should have deterred our plans, but it didn’t. I had driven 7 hours to see Five Iron the night before, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from their final show.
I ended up jumping a fence, running through a golf course and asking some guy in his garage for some oil. It took some time, but we finally got the Blazer started up again. About a mile down the road, it threw a rod and was toast.
A cop pulled up to help while my brother was on the phone with the tow truck company. What happened next baffles me to this day:
Cop: Can I help you guys?
Brother: (on phone but talking to cop) Yes thanks! Just one second I’m talking to the tow truck people.
Cop: (angrily yelling) Well fine, be that way then, I don’t have all day!
Then he stormed back to his car and drove off, leaving us there. What?? Way to protect and serve, jerk.
The truck eventually arrived and hooked up the Blazer. The guy was every stereotype of tow truck driver put together. He gruffly said he only had room for two passengers though and there were three of us, since my brother’s girlfriend (now wife) was with us. Through some sort of Jedi mind tricks (or maybe my brother’s girlfriend’s puppy eyes) we convinced him to let us all ride anyway and we were off.
We had just passed an exit so we had to go a LONG way to get off the interstate. This ended up costing us a ton of money, but we weren’t thinking about it at the time. We were trying to survive. The tow truck driver blew through a toll booth without paying, and then later ran into a parked car, continuing to drive without even flinching. At this point there was nothing we could do. Plus we were young and stupid and only wanted to get to the concert on time. When I say stupid, I mean we had the two truck driver drop us off at the door and we trusted him to find a place to park the dead truck. I cringe so hard at this today. Yeesh.
We ended up making it to the concert for a fantastic time. Until it was over.
Earlier we had called our dad to come and get us. He was furious about having to drive 3 hours one way to pick us up at 1am. But that anger wasn’t even close to the fury we saw when he finally found us (after trying to call about 50 times during the loud concert) and realized we had no clue where the Blazer was.
After walking around the parking lot for 30 minutes, we finally found it. Dad chugged a few Cokes and drove us home while we slept, and then they went back and sold the Blazer to a junkyard the next day. I’m not sure if my dad ever forgave us for that night, but we sure loved the concert.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 with two more stories (not quite as long as this one, but still good!).