The Butterfly Effect. Part 2. You Lost My Car?

This part of an ongoing blog. To read it from the beginning, please read The Butterfly Effect. Part 1.

Remember how I told Frank that I was fine when he dropped me off at my apartment? Well, that was then. When I woke up the next morning I immediately knew that something was very, very wrong. Oh no. No, no, no, tell me this isn’t going to be that bad. I didn’t want to sit up but knew I had to do it. I swung my legs out of the bottom bunk and pain shot up the left side of my rib cage. Oh yeah baby! It’s going to be that bad. I stood up and felt even more pain. I walked slowly across the hall to the bathroom and stood sideways in the mirror with my left side facing the mirror. I pretty much already knew what was there but I just had to see it for myself. I pulled my shirt up and my entire left side was one big bruise. I looked like a blueberry. I hadn’t realized the night before just how hard I had been hit because I was walking around in a blurred state of shock. I can’t go to work like this. I was going to have to call in sick, which believe it or not was not my M.O. I never called in sick. I knew I was putting them in a bad position because I was the only Soda Jerk on duty that day but there was no way in hell I was going to be able to work this particular day or a couple of days after, for that matter.

I needed to get to a doctor and pronto. But I had no car and no insurance. Awesome. So I bummed a ride from my roommate Kristina and went to the Campus Health Center to get myself checked out. That’s when I met Dr. Heyhowzitgoing. He was very young and I was pretty sure he was just some stoner who had snuck into the Campus Health Center to try and cop a feel on the female patients. At this point I really didn’t care. He took me into one of the rooms and I pulled up my top for him when he said, “Wow, you don’t look so good.” And they gave you a medical degree for this? “Okay, I’m going to check your ribs, shoulder, and collarbone and I will do it as gently as I can. I just want to make sure nothing is broken,” he told me. I took a deep breath as I saw his hands reach for my ribs. He then moved towards my back, along my arm, up to my shoulder and then to my collarbone. I was so proud I didn’t scream once.
“I think we need to go ahead and get some X-rays just to be sure, but I think you’re fine. I didn’t feel any broken bones, but you are going to be in a considerable amount of pain for a while. There’s a very good chance that with the speed of the impact you may have some whiplash.” Just cut to the chase Doc, how much is this going to cost me?

After the X-rays he took my blood pressure. “Your blood pressure is amazingly low for someone who has just been in this type of accident.” I didn’t want to tell him that my body was made up of 90% THC. So I opened by big eyes and put on my innocent face and said, “Really, that’s so weird.” He then gave me a prescription for 800 IU of Ibuprofen and I gave the student health center the money I had planned to use to pay off my phone bill. My phone was shut off two weeks later.

On my way home my roommate and I drove into Hillcrest to track down my car so I would have an address to give to the towing company. We found the intersection where my world was rocked. We saw the broken glass still on the street, and saw the red paint on the streetlight that seemed to say, “I’m a Pontiac Firebird and I was here bitches!” Turns out that the intersection was only two streets away from 5th Ave and the Corvette Diner. Just two more streets and I would have been home free. We pulled into the parking lot where I parked my car and Kristina said, ”Where is your car?”
“Where IS my car?”
“Stacy, are you sure this is the parking lot you put it in?”
“I know I was rattled but I’m positive this is where I parked it.”
“Then where is it?” she asked.
“I have no idea.” That’s when Kristina saw the sign.
“I think you’ve been towed.” Fan-freaking-Tastic!!! I wrote down the number of the towing company and we went home.

When we got home I contacted my insurance company to report the accident and told them about my car being towed.
“Did you get a police report, Ma’am?” asked the woman on the other end of the line.
“No, I didn’t.”
“Ma’am, did you know that by law any accident that has over $500 worth of damage must be reported to the police department?”
“No I didn’t.”
“Ma’am,” I really wish she would stop calling me Ma’am. “Will you be reporting this accident or would you like us to?”

“Uh…I will.” Dammit. Now what do I do? I told Frank the cop I wouldn’t report it. I’m stuck between a cop and a hard place. She then told me to call the towing company and they would direct me as to where my car was being held hostage. I called the towing company and they told me that I could come and pick up my car, and that it would only cost me my gas and electric bills, along with some of my rent.

Despite the fact that the driver’s side had been completely caved in (oncoming car) and the passenger’s side was also smashed in (ensuing streetlight), the insurance company decided not to “Total” the car because the engine was not damaged. This was not good news. My love affair with the Firebird had long ago come to an end. It seemed that every time that I had taken it in to get some annoying repair (more often than I would like), it came back needing even more work. I had thought that the only silver lining in this whole wreck was that I could finally put my car out of my misery. But nooooooo. The Firebird had more lives than Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers combined. Thank you Car Gods for saving this piece of shit car. Thank you for saving this car that has caused me nothing but headaches and Lord knows how much money in endless repairs. Lo, though you have seen fit to crush this car from head to toe, you hath saved the engine so that it can continue to die on me when I am late for work. But I’m not bitter. Really I’m not. After I got three new starters and two new alternators the car ran like a dream. Until one day when one of my stupid ex boyfriends parked it illegally and it got impounded. This time I didn’t pay to get it out. I let them keep it and took over my dad’s old Toyota. I’ve bought nothing but Japanese since. Sue me.

So ANYWAY, back to the story. I went down to the garage to reclaim my dented piece of crap only to find that it had never been there in the first place. I called the towing company from the garage and the man on the other end of the phone said, ”Oh it’s not there?”
“No, it’s not,” I told him, doing my very best not to reach through the phone and kill him.
“Um, I’m not really sure where your car is.”
“So what you’re telling me is, you have lost my car.”
“Yes Ma’am.” I am going to kill this man.
“Okay, this is the deal. I’m not paying any more impound fees as of this exact moment. It’s not my problem that you have lost my car. So I will pay the impound fees up until this point and you will cover any fees from here on out. You got that?”
“Yes ma’am.”
“NOW FIND MY DAMN CAR!” I stormed out of the garage, popped one of my Mega-Ibuprofen, and drove my roommate’s car back to the beach where I could lie down and wait for someone to tell me where my zombie car was located.

The towing company called a couple of hours later to inform me of the actual location of my car. They kept their end of the bargain, and didn’t charge me extra impound fees. They also provided a flat-bed truck to carry the Firebird’s carcass back to the dealership. I called the dealership about an hour later and they assured me my car was there and that they would start on the repairs immediately. The drama was over for the time being. But keep in mind the Butterfly Effect had already been started and there was no turning back. It was my journey, but unfortunately I was going to be taking other people down with me. If I had known then what I know now I would have just bought a bus pass and passed my bad luck onto total strangers. But instead I ended up borrowing cars and infecting my friends. And watching my bad luck infect my friends hurt my heart so badly that even Mega-Ibuprofen couldn’t stop the pain.

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