The first time I found myself stranded on the side of the road was when Betsy, my first vehicle who happened to be a mini van, had broken down in a very dramatic billowing of smoke. I was on the right side of Interstate 5 going north and all I could see were barren mountains and speeding cars for miles around.
I called my mom, AAA, and then waited inside of the car for help. I slid over to the passenger side and tried to quiet the rising panic in my chest. However, about a minute after I got off the phone with AAA my door quickly opened in a way that made me nearly fall out.
A highway patrolman greeted me and asked if everything was okay. Despite the mini heart attack I had from our encounter I responded with an, “everything’s okay. I just called AAA and they’re on their way to pick up my car and give me a ride. Thank you though.”
“Okay, just making sure everything was okay.” The highway patrolman sort of waited around for a bit and then took off as the tow truck came, and I eventually made it back to Bakersfield.
Less than a month later I was introduced to Susan, an almost new bright red Chevy Cobalt. I jumped in to the car and haven’t given it a rest since. Susan has climbed mountains, attempted to swim in flash floods on the highway, drove the entirety of the state of California, and accidentally ran into something in the middle of nowhere at night when I didn’t have glasses and couldn’t see at all. Until very recently, despite her recall, her lack of power locks, and strange smell that I’m assuming was from some animal that crawled in to her undercarriage sometime while I was camping, she has never let me down.
On a cold and very rainy night a few seconds after exiting the highway into downtown LA, Susan gave up on life and decided to take an immediate nap on the side of the street. She crashed in to the curb unable to steer.
Panicked that I was now stranded in the rain on skid row, I called my mom and freaked her out, and then called AAA for the second time in my life. I managed to flag down a friend to come pick me up while I towed my car to safety, but all I could think about for hours was being car-less and possibly losing Susan.
I relied on that car for everything, and even though public transportation existed, and I have amazing friends and family who has let me borrow their cars and give me rides, I can’t help but think about the car that has been there with me through so much.