I am a traveler. I like to say, I do it for a living. When I was a child, I wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up, so that I could sleep in the cab. I thought those cabs were so cool. I'm not a truck driver. I'm an actress, a gypsy. In all my travels, I have never really gotten that "check the oil" thing. I mean I do check the oil...occasionally.
When I think of road trip horror stories, many eventful trips come to mind. However, there is one particular road trip that stands out above all the others. Let's call it: "The Day I Had To Sell My Traveling Home."
I was alone, traveling from Center Barnstead, NH to Silver Spring, MD. I was in my mini-van, which I inherited from my mom, upon graduation from college. For the sake of full disclosure, I must tell you, before this trying moment, I had already blown the engine in this van once. I also have to tell you, I have a fetish for driving I-95 South, straight through New York City. I love the skyline.
I arrive in the good old Bronx, USA. It's hot as all get out, and I have no air conditioning. However, I'm listening to some pretty jamming music, so I'm okay. I sit in stop and go traffic for well over an hour. My car overheats, starts to smoke, and promptly dies. Somehow, I manage to pull over, crying my eyes out. I call home, crying my eyes out. I must get some sort of thrill out of stressing my mother out. What can she do for me? She's in NC, and I'm in NYC.
Well, she is the voice of reason. She calmly reminds me to call AAA.
The next day, the car of my travels, actually starts. So, I find a mechanic, only to discover that my only recourse is to sell my home on wheels to this man for one hundred measly bucks.
After I have accepted this tragedy,the mechanic gets me a cab to the airport. My goal is to obtain a rental car. No go. No one is going to lease a car to a woman under 25. This is when my true colors really begin to shine through. I'm a bit of a Drama Queen. I yell at the sales clerk. She yells back. Can she not see that I am crying? I am desperate. Whatever happened to the customer is always right? I'm crying, so I call my mom. It's, apparently, good for her stress levels, for me to call her every time I'm freaking out.
I do finally get a rental, somewhere else. I go back to the mechanic, to clean out my car, and am quickly back on the road to Silver Spring, MD. Drama over. Right? Wrong. I have not collected payment yet on my home on wheels. I have to retrieve the title and pass it on to the mechanic, before payment can be remitted. I'm a starving artist. I mail the Title the day I get home, and two months later, after a long wait and a frustrated phone call, I finally receive my check.
Could I have done anything to avoid this disaster? Of course. I could have checked the oil. I could have even sprung for an oil change. And, I could have bought a map, studied it, and circumvented the inevitable stop and go traffic that is the Bronx, USA.