Thursday, August 24, 2006

Breakdown

I had a fairly eventful drive down from Berkeley to LA. On the way up from LA, the car had been wobbling a little bit and I knew it was because of the alignment and old tires. Both my brother and I had been lazy about getting it fixed and kept telling the other one to do it and then finally didn't get around to it. I had just finished some stuff in Berkeley I was a bit tense about and also avoided a parking ticket by a few minutes. Hit a lot of traffic on the way out and so when I finally hit the highway to LA I turned up the radio, the AC was humming away and I felt relaxed. LA was about 4 hours away if I drove fast enough and there wasn't much traffic on the road. Suddenly, the car started wobbling even more and I heard a loud bang and the car almost veered out of control. Thankfully, there was nothing behind me and I managed to pull the car over onto the shoulder. It looked pretty bad. One of the front tires was completely gone and had almost come off.



I had no cellphone and was trying to figure out what to do. Looked around and in the distance saw this. Thankfully, till a few years ago there weren't too many cellphones around and in case of emergencies, things like this existed.



Picked up the phone and got through to an operator who first put me through to my brother in LA. His AAA insurance wouldn't work so he suggested I should get it towed to the closest mechanic and get the tires changed. After more than an hour of waiting a tow truck finally showed up. I didn't want to wait inside the car as it was pretty close to the cars and trucks driving by and each time a truck drove by the whole car would shake. Ended up sitting on the side on the grass in the harsh sunlight staring out across Fresno County. The tow truck guy came and said all the mechanics were closed (it was past 7pm) and I would have to wait till the morning to get it fixed. I had a flight to New York the next day and driving the same day would have made it very tight. Also, the idea of spending the night in a cheap motel in the area wasn't too exciting. He put on the spare tire and since it was a replacement I wasn't sure if it would last all the way to LA. Asked him and he said if I drove around 50 throughout it would probably last. Decided it was worth going ahead than sit around and do nothing till the morning.

Left around 730pm and drove at 50-55 throughout. The car was going fine so I relaxed and put on the AC and turned up the radio. The next 5 hours were excrutiatingly boring and driving so slowly meant I didn't overtake a single car on the way. Trucks, buses and even motorcycles zipped past me and I plodded along. The last 2 hours were a bit tense as it started to wobble again and with trucks all around me (I had to drive in the slow lane) I had to drive on red alert. Since I was driving uphill it seemed to be under quite a bit of strain. Turned off the AC and radio and every sound, bump and wobble made me more tense. If the car went out of control in this situtation it wouldn't be good with those gigantic trucks all around me. Finally managed to reach home at 2 am. It took me almost 10 hours from the time I left Berkeley.

Anyway, I'm in New York right now, sitting comfortably in Deniz's apartment enjoying his fancy home theatre system. Felt completely disoriented this morning so will just spend the day lying around here.

3 comments:

Tabula Rasa said...

these things really happen to you, don't they?! just be glad you're not matta :-D

bandafbab said...

They do. The last time I rented a car it got towed, I got a parking ticket, banged into a car, got a speeding ticket - all in the space of 5 days. Am happy to be car-free again.

fatterbelly said...

are you going to continue with the idiocy of not getting a phone?