"Motherfucker." I said after calmly collecting myself from furiously punching, screaming at and shaking the steering wheel.
Since embarking on our adventure to California we have experienced nothing but car trouble. The SUV we drove from the chilly east coast died almost immediately upon arrival here in sunny California. She served her purpose, got us here safely and then gave up the ghost like a good soldier. It's all I asked of her. We lucked out when our friends Greg and Rick drove my other car out west from Philadelphia giving us another shot at LA traffic bliss...but now we have another problem (see picture above).
My 2004 Ford Focus, with all manual features standard, has been a godsend. She has taken me all over the east coast and now out west to tackle what this terrain has to offer. Sure her ignition sticks and you have to hit the steering column with a hammer every once in a while...sure the radio will just cut out for no reason sometimes ruining your chance at harmonizing the chorus of your favorite song...sure that passenger side mirror has never worked and makes merging a fun game of life or death...but overall...she's a gem.
When I got the call from Jamie stating she couldn't get the key to turn I thought she was full of shit. We have been through this exact scenario a million times. The ignition just sticks and will get stuck now and then. Once you give the steering column a good love tap with a handy-dandy hammer it loosens up. "Jamie, my cousin who I never see is visiting and we are grabbing a drink. If I leave to travel across town to try and fix this it had better be officially stuck." Immoral words I wished I never used in retrospect. When I arrived at the scene like the knight in shining armor I think I am I arrogantly jumped into the driver's seat. Jamie was in the passenger and looked at me like I was the world's biggest dickhead. Which I am. "We'll be out of here in a minute and then we are heading back to catch my family for a drink." I state as I try to turn the key confidently. Stuck. A worried slightly embarrassed "Haha" Shot out of my mouth. "Uh, must give it a little more muscle." I try again as Jamie's eyebrows cock and a smirk creeped across her face.
After about an hour of punching, hair pulling, screaming, yelling and explicitly expelling every curse I know (and some I made up) trying to turn the key with no success we decided to call roadside assistance. "Motherfucker." I say under my breath and let out a deep sigh. This thing was like the fucking Sword in the Stone, only the chosen one could get this thing to move. I have no idea how something like this happens. Imagine the key to your car ignition would not turn and get back to me. Don't take it for granted the next time you get in the car to zip off to the mall, corner store or...to grab drinks with your family...which at this point after trying to turn a key for two hours...were surely cancelled.
We called roadside assistance, found the closest Ford service station, found a ride home and were quoted 60 minutes for the tow truck to come get us...which gave us plenty of time to get the car to Ford to be fixed. When we realized we only had 10 minutes to get to the garage and we were still on the side of the road, long past our 60 minute rescue quote time, we got worried. I called the tow company, our insurance company and Ford. No one has ever heard of a "Matt" before. Fucking fantastic. Hearing "Who are you again?" is never a good response. Evidently the fax had never went through from our insurance company to the tow company to come get us. Make sense right? "What the fuck? Who uses a fax in the first place? What the fuck even is a fax?" Echoed in my head, that was currently on fire with fury, when they told me this.
Jamie told me to calm down as I ferociously confiscated her phone and started dialing all parties numbers. I had our insurance company and tow company on 3 way on my phone and Ford on Jamie's "Mr. Bates we apologize for the inconvenience, Ford has a parking lot you can get the car towed to tonight after hours and they will look at the car first thing in the morning." Said the representative from our insurance company in a monotoned voice. "Uhhh, no we don't" responded the 20 year old valley girl receptionist from Ford. All parties were on speakerphone to hear each other. I stared at the phones, sat for a minute and responded quietly with "Guys. Do you see why I hate you all." Calmly like a serial killer and I paused "None of you have your shit together. Please communicate with each other before you present me a house of lies." My voice escalating. "Get me and my girlfriend off the goddamn side of the road immediately and somebody get my fucking car fixed" Now screaming every word. Another pause and a breath "Please." Trying to force my manners. I am not a total asshole but I think this specific scenario warrants a curse here or there. Jamie was mortified.
At the end of the day the car was finally towed...another hour later. Our tow truck operator Caesar didn't know who we were or where the car was going. We had to make another call to his boss to get it straightened out again...but he was at least a nice guy. I didn't give him shit and we laughed. It's not his fault his company is run by a bunch of motherfuckers. At this point I just gave up...signed the papers...and prayed I would see my car again someday.