One word can really ruin a sentence. Take for example: I almost made it home. The key to the whole sentence is the word “almost.” The word invalidates the rest of the statement. It’s a tiny word that causes a lot of mischief, like that Mayhem guy from the insurance commercials.
Last week, I took off for a social distant vacation in the not-so-distant land of Virginia Beach, Va. A hop, skip and a jump under normal circumstances.
My circumstances weren’t so normal. I was driving a car with over 210,000 miles on it. I was in a rickety go-cart of a machine, a 2009 PT Cruiser. For a few months now, it’s been held together with masking tape and yarn.
Side note: You barely noticed the masking tape. The yarn was noticeable.
But I digress, like I do. I was coming back after several days in the sun. Because of the pandemic, there was little to do but play in the ocean and hang on the beach. I enjoyed every minute of it, but the sun was strong. I got color. I was going for a tan shade best described as Werther’s Original, but I came back the color of a ripened tomato – red with brown spots.
I ALMOST made it home. I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when the “check engine” light came on. The car stalled out two miles before the next exit.
I waited for a tow truck. A car broke down a mile ahead of me, but they got the tow truck I called in. Lucky break for them; not so much for me.
The tow truck driver finally arrived, hooked me up and took me to the mechanic. I was hoping for a quick fix so I could be on my way, but the mechanic pronounced her dead. He said, “As a mechanic, I must aver. I have thoroughly examined her. She’s not only merely dead, she’s really, most sincerely dead,” or something like that.
My car was no more.
I had to rent a car to go the rest of the way, but when I called the rental car company, they told me that they ran out of cars. They couldn’t get me home.
Hint: Don’t put “Rent-A-Car” in your name if you don’t have cars to rent. That’s just bad advertising.
While I waited for my nephew to come get me, I cleaned out my former vehicle. It became an archaeological dig through the glove compartment, trunk and other nooks and crannies of the car. In 10 years of driving the Cruiser, I managed to squirrel away a lot of stuff. I had two umbrellas, four ice scrapers, two bottles of suntan lotion – which I didn’t use on my trip (see above), books (a few copies of “Below Average Genius,” “All I Want for Christmas” and the manuscript for my new book, “Why I Hate My Friends”) and various oddities (a slightly used toothbrush).
Anyone want an Oingo Boingo CD?