Settling Would Be Losing

It’s been a month since the accident.

I still can’t walk properly. I can’t roll through a step like one does when, well, walking. I can’t put 100% weight on my right foot, nor curl my toes all the way, nor put weight on the ball of my foot.  And all of that means that I wouldn’t be able to properly press the accelerator nor brake.

And anyway, my left wrist is still in pain/weak, so I wouldn’t have the best control of the wheel.

I’m close, but I’m not there yet.

In the mean time, I’ve been going through different thoughts regarding a new car.

First, I wanted a used one and then a classic one: come out of this shitty situation with two vehicles I love and say, fuck you, I came out of this better than I went in and you didn’t kill my spirit or love for cars.

Then I realized that dealer trades regarding used vehicles aren’t as easy as with new vehicles, so I’d have to deal with a different MINI dealership. For the sake of ease and time and familiarity, I didn’t want to do that. Plus, a Classic MINI Cooper isn’t going to have the protection and safety that I’ll desperately crave at this point. If I didn’t feel safe driving it, I wouldn’t enjoy driving it, and then it would just sit in the garage. And I didn’t want that.

I reluctantly scrapped that idea.

The 2014/2015 MINI Coopers have this amazingly badass feature of a red start/stop toggle switch a la fighter jets, and as soon as I saw that feature come out, I was in love. So I thought, okay, easy, I’ll just get a 2014 then. Why not?

Upon further review, that’s about the only new feature of the 2014s that I like. I know, I know, blasphemy.

I don’t know. There’s just something about the 2014s and 2015s that don’t even scream MINI to me. They’ve got so many new buttons and features inside and I’d feel like I was in an entirely different car. The window switches and locks are on the doors instead of the center console, the grille is strange, the body of the car has a slope; I don’t know. It just looks and feels too different.

Okay, so I’ll just get a new 2013.

If only it were that simple.

I’ve been to about 200 MINI websites tonight alone – New Inventory, 2013, Manual, S Hardtop. NOT orange or yellow. Not British Racing Green again. How about Ice Blue? Black wheels, please. Moonroof. Plain interior – or at least not some weird plaid cloth upholstery.

As I continue to find nothing (or at least hardly anything), I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just ‘settle’ for a 2014. (Sounds ridiculous). It would be so much easier – every MINI dealer has a ton of new 2014s. Then I take one look at the grille, the body, and the interior and I just can’t.

Maybe if I sat in one, I’d feel differently? But I don’t think so.

It’s just so discouraging. I loathe being in this situation in the first place. I know a few people have been like, “hey, who gets two new cars in a year?” Yeah, okay, if it were my choice to do that, sure. But no. I’ve had two beautiful cars- MY beautiful cars taken away from me. I didn’t choose to be doing this. Again.

I only have a month to get a car back on my insurance policy. Anything I find will be in another state and I’ll have to have it transported here.

The only thing that will keep me from settling will be the fact that I deserve to get everything I want. I can’t let this dumb asshole’s horrible decision to drive drunk keep me from getting a vehicle I’ll be less than perfectly happy with. I was perfectly happy before and I should be that way again.

Sigh. Fuckin’ A.

Disruption, To Say the Least

So, one of the questions I’ve been asked by the driver-at-fault’s insurance company has to do with pain and suffering: “How has this accident and your injuries disrupted your daily life?”

How has it disrupted me? Let me count the ways.

I can’t walk; I can only limp.
I can’t hold anything more than a glass of water with my left hand; it’s too weak.
I can’t shower properly for the same reasons.
I can’t sneeze, laugh, cough, reach, carry, hold, move, stretch, adjust because of the pain in my chest.
I can’t kneel, cross my legs, crouch because of the pain in my knees.
I can hardly sleep because I can only sleep on my back – must keep foot elevated, chest flat, wrist straight.

I can’t drive because I don’t have a car. I can’t drive because I can’t put full weight on my right foot.

I can’t go anywhere because I don’t have a car. I can’t go anywhere unless someone is available to drive me. I can’t get groceries unless someone gets them for me.

I can’t go to the gym or run because I can’t walk. Or use my left hand/wrist. Or lift anything anyway.

I can’t apply for jobs because I don’t have a car.

I’ve essentially been in bed for two weeks.

I am paranoid.

I’m paranoid when anyone leaves my apartment – must text me when they get home, lest someone decide it’s a good idea to drive drunk.

I’m paranoid when someone calls me while driving – even through their car’s bluetooth. I’m just waiting to hear a loud crash and for the call to drop.

I’m paranoid when it’s the weekend – people will be out drinking/tailgating. Especially Saturday.

I’m paranoid about keeping my doors locked – yeah, the ones at my apartment. Someone physically hurt me and I am terrified that it’ll happen again. Especially when I wouldn’t be able to get away or fight back. I’ve already hobbled around my apartment twice with a flashlight after hearing a strange noise.

I’m paranoid every time I hear squealing tires – which is pretty fucking often, considering I live next to Dodge Street and by two roundabouts. I fell asleep to a movie and was so violently jolted awake by the sound of squealing tires that I probably hurt everything worse.

I’m paranoid when I get in a car with anyone – that night, driving home from the hospital, I wouldn’t even let my dad turn right on red. No, stay out of the intersection, just stay back, please, I’m sorry I’m being like this, but I can’t let you do it.

I’m paranoid about my injuries healing properly.

I’m paranoid when I think about getting behind the wheel again – will I be able to do it? I still had anxiety from when I was rear-ended in February, now what? What if I can never use a center turning lane again? How will I ever go visit my dad’s house again? Will I be able to be out driving past 9pm? Apparently, that was early enough to be wasted, so what’s my curfew?

I was a cautious driver before; what if I turn into a sniveling mess when I’m out and about? What if I have panic attacks? What if this affects me for the rest of my life? I’m not even 26.

So, I don’t know, how has this disrupted my life? Might be better to ask me how it hasn’t.

A Week-long Six-hour Journey

Image

 

Six and a half hours. That’s straight through with no stops. Truck drivers carrying property have driving rules, I know that.
Truck drivers carrying property can drive a maximum of eleven hours after ten hours off-duty (US DOT: FMCSA).
Let’s say there were a few stops along the way. Interstate 80 runs along quite a few potential stops, and this is assuming that the transport truck started at Madison and made its way west. Could have had a stop in Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Des Moines (very likely), and then arrive in Omaha. Maybe even, depending on the route, a stop in Rockport, Davenport, and then Iowa City, Des Moines, and Omaha. Who knows how many dealerships are along the way, and frankly, I’m not about to get into all that. This is frustrating me enough to sit down and be pontificating pedantically about this as it is. 

That being said. So, eleven hours max. Stopping four times along the way bumps the travel time to twelve hours, which would be over the limit, never mind how they measure time when they’re stopped or resting (the US DOT website uses confusing language, so I’m not going to try to understand that). So clearly, this journey would already take more than a day. Got it. Maybe even two or three.

That being said. It’s taken a week.

I called my salesman today because I hadn’t heard anything and was met with the typical I-totally-wasn’t-about-to-call-you-but-I’ll-tell-you-that-because-it-sounds-like-I’m-trying-to-keep-you-in-mind answer of, “I was just about to call you!” (no harm, I used this more often than I’d care to admit when I worked in an office and I’m sure it hasn’t left my lips for the last time). “There were some issues with the transport truck, so we’re looking at tomorrow” (as in Wednesday, as in, a week). 

The point of having the car brought down to Omaha for me was strictly convenience. I worked at a car dealership in Omaha for almost four years, and when I found a car I liked at one of our branches even just a couple hours away, they’d bring it down to Omaha out of convenience for me. Makes total sense. Good customer service. 

Before I decided on this particular MINI, there was one on the east coast that had even more of what I wanted, but was a bit more expensive and would have taken ‘over a week’ to get here. I was trying to drive to Canada (today), so a week wouldn’t cut it – I decided on the one that was closer with fewer of my requests because it would get here ‘this weekend; Monday at the latest.’ 

Honestly, I could have set up a rental return in Madison either last Thursday or Friday (you know, because it was due Friday before I had to start paying for it), and then done the F&I in Madison and driven home in my car. Have I needed it? Not necessarily; it’s just the principle of the thing at this point.

I realize how whiney and bratty this sounds, but I won’t again get into the ridiculousness of how this would be for someone with a family and full-time job to handle while constantly having to add days to their rental for which they are now paying for out-of-pocket because of the ‘insurance guidelines.’ I said I wouldn’t get into it again, didn’t I

I’m sorry that there’s been an almost-daily (more than daily) commentary about this situation, but it’s just the most frustrating thing going on in my life at the moment. While I’m trying to buy a house, do my taxes, plan for company- holy fucking shit, I’m an adult, when the hell did this happen?!

This isn’t all for naught. Luckily. I’m learning a lot from it. Life experience, I guess. If I wasn’t learning from it, it would be wasted on me; so yeah. Nevertheless, I’ll be working on my pout when I hopefully finally go pick up my car tomorrow. I should probably use it when I visit my loan officer as well. Sure we can’t do any better than 4.125%? *insert pout*

Healing

I met with the appraiser on Friday and he told me my MINI was totaled. I had expected that, of course. He was really nice and actually knows the bodyshop guy who’s taken care of my car before. He said he was going to put a rush on the review and I should be hearing something within a few days. Then I can have my car towed away.

I said to dad how pissed off I was about the car. He tried, in his way, to tell me not to be so upset about material things because they’re fleeting in this life. I completely understand that, and I wouldn’t have given a shit if my couches burnt to the ground or if my desk cracked in two. Well, okay, I’d give a shit because it would be an annoyance and I’d have to replace them; however, my MINI is a bit different. In any case, I had hurt feelings.

On the way home, as I approached my exit, I realized I didn’t want to stop. So, I kept on. I continued on Highway 6, onto 275 West, through Fremont, and onto Highway 30. I drove until I hit Columbus, Nebraska – about an hour and fifteen minutes away. I stopped at a laundromat/convenience store called Dickie Doodles and got an iced coffee, took photos of a 1959-ish Stageway Airport Limo, and, much calmer, headed home the same way I came.

The drive was so incredibly needed, I don’t even know how to express it. I had my music up, I sang poorly, I shed a few tears, and by the time I got to Columbus, I had exhausted all the negative energy I’d unknowingly kept pent up. Driving has always been a comfort to me, so there was nothing smarter for me to do after the accident.

I was even shocked at my calmness on two occasions during the trip: Once, I was trying to pass a semi with attached trailer going a few under the speed limit, and for the life of me, I couldn’t see around it. Finally, I thought I had a clear, so I kicked the alright-so-far Mazda 2 into passing gear and got about halfway past the trailer when I realized there was no way in hell I’d make it before this oncoming car smashed into me. I had to abort the mission and regrettably get back behind the semi. No problem.

The next instance was on my way home from Columbus, Highway 30 splits into a four-lane just outside of town. I was behind a car who was staying right as the split happened, so I stayed left as to stay in the passing lane. Up ahead I see a pickup coming toward me in my lane. Yeah, in oncoming traffic, and yeah, right for me. I simply moved over into the ‘slow lane’ and watched the truck go by, apparently completely unaware that it was driving on the wrong side of the road.

I wondered, then, if there is a hit out for me. First the accident, now this pickup. I’ll gladly stay off the highways for a while, if that’s the case.

Now that I’m mostly past the grief and anger part of post-accident recovery, I have come to a few conclusions:

My beloved 2013 MINI Cooper Hardtop Baker Street Limited Edition is lost. Unrecoverable. More importantly, irreplaceable. Sure, I could look for one in the US or even order another from Oxford, but I decided that I don’t want to do any of that. It was my perfect little gem of a car and one just like it won’t make me feel quite like this one did. Does, when I think of it. I went ’round dad’s Saturday to clean out the poor girl and after dad apologized, in his way, for hurting my feelings (he handed me ceramic owl salt and pepper shakers, saying, “I don’t give two hoots about your car, but I do give two hoots about you”), I told him that as extreme as this may sound, I liken getting a replica of my car to getting another Border Collie after we had to put Frisbee to sleep. There will never be another Frisbee no matter how many dogs I own in my lifetime, similar to how there will never be another Baker Street.

Like I said, it may sound extreme, but that should put into perspective how much that car meant means to me. It was one of a kind, to me; a one-off. So it’ll be my Only One.

Dad understood after that.

Because I feel that way and because I have come to the conclusion that not only would it be difficult to replace it, but that I don’t want to replace it, I’m going to get something different entirely.

Well, still a MINI, of course; how could I possibly own anything else?

But, I’m thinking a MINI Clubman. I know I was mostly alone in that I loved the barn doors, but I’m used to being the solitary member of many clubs (ahem, John Watson’s Mournstache in Sherlock Season Three). It’s different enough, it’s still MINI-sized, but has more cargo space, and it has some fantastic customizations (which are paramount, in my opinion). So when the time comes, a Clubman it is.

In other news, I may have found the house. I know I’ve gone on about whether or not I should buy a house when I hope to be moving soon, but who the hell knows when that’ll be. Plus, if I do end up having to move shortly after buying this house, it’s a good enough re-sale/rental opportunity, that it would almost be stupid not to buy it. I’m tired of renting, it’s getting pointless to rent, and my neighbors are annoying AF. Not much cop, this renting lark.

This house is seriously perfect for me. I know the owner, she designed it and built it herself five years ago, she turned the third bedroom upstairs into a closet – hello; and it’s seriously two minutes from my apartment, so it would be the easiest move ever.

Mom, dad, and Conor are going to come look at it tomorrow. Conor might love it enough that he’d rent it if I had to move. I think I need to do this. It’ll be a tax write-off, it’ll build equity; I’m not sure why I’m trying to convince anyone because I’m completely convinced, anyway.

I have a feeling I’m going to get into this house and then get a job offer simply because I love the house. I wouldn’t complain. Much.

Almost October

I feel like I finally have a moment. That’s not true, I’ve had plenty.

I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since I’ve left London. It doesn’t seem like that long. It’s all been a blur, really. It’s strange.

The whole coming home experience was strange. I think I did myself a service by stopping in Toronto on the way back – it definitely eased me into the idea of returning.

TIFF was there, and my friend Jo, so I booked a hotel for a week and a flight back to Omaha. Since I was flying into the States on Labor Day (I just typed that with a ‘u’… sigh), there weren’t really any decent flights (or at least flights I thought I could make with a layover) either to Omaha or to Toronto. I was flying into Boston and I thought about staying the night and just flying out in the morning. Then I thought back to being in Boston in June before London and I really didn’t feel like lugging my FOUR large suitcases to a hotel and then back to the airport the next day, only to have to recheck them (and pay up the ass for that). I Google-mapped the distance from Boston to Toronto. Not bad.

I decided on renting a car once I got into Boston and then driving straight to Toronto. Seven hour flight, followed by an eight hour drive: putting me into Toronto at about 4am the following morning. I admit, it wasn’t the best timeframe, but either I would get tired along the way and have to check into a hotel or I would get to my hotel in Toronto and sleep most of the next day.

I had all of my bags packed and lined up by the flat’s door. I had checked and re-checked every nook and cranny of that place to make sure I had everything. The laundry was done, the dishes were clean; I logged out of Apple TV. Everything was ready to go. Except me. I couldn’t sleep. I was going to get up around 8am to finalize everything and get to the post office. Had to ship a box and a small suitcase home (mugs and shoes). At around 4 or 5am, I was still up and everything was ready to go. I decided to get a few hours of sleep, couldn’t hurt; I’ll sleep on the plane anyway. Woke up on time, got the box and suitcase shipped, made my last Kilburn High Road Starbucks trip. Essentially, I spent the morning trying not to cry and neurotically checking and further re-checking everything.

I was going to have a cabbie friend take me to the airport, but his cab broke down a day or two before. I was planning on being distracted on the journey to Heathrow – chatting away and probably shedding a few tears in the comfortable presence of a friend. Now I was stuck with a stranger and didn’t feel like talking at all. He was very nice, though. He had stylish sunnies and a die-cast model of a London taxi on his dash. We chatted a little bit, but mostly I stared wistfully out the windows, watching familiar streets slip away. As we got on the M4, I couldn’t help but think that I like the view from the opposite lane – the one heading into London.

Checking in was painless, even the part where I had to pay for my fourth bag. I had my last London Pride with a sandwich and headed for my gate. On the plane, I had a couple glasses of champagne and texted my family to let them know we were about to taxi. The steward, David, was pretty confused when I asked him to help me turn my seat into a sleeping bench (as it was a 230pm flight, after all). I popped a sleeping pill and hoped to wake up to the landing announcement. Somehow, with three alcoholic beverages and an herbal sleep aide, I woke after just a few hours. I spent the rest of the flight attempting to sleep and watching Star Trek Into Darkness.

When we landed in Boston, David asked if I got enough rest and if I need anything to eat – I had told him I was about to get a rental car and drive eight hours and he was concerned. “No wonder you wanted to sleep!” Whoever unloaded the baggage put all four of mine in a row, so that was fun. Getting them onto a trolley was even more fun. Had to ask a fellow passenger for assistance getting the fourth bag on top of the heap. Then the real fun began. Unfortunately, Boston Logan Airport is separate from the car rental places, so you have to take a shuttle. It was humid – which I was not happy about, nor ready for – and the shuttles were across the street and down the way. Really?

After more struggling with my bags (I realize I’ve only myself to blame for having so many and for them being so heavy) and about an hour at Hertz, I was in my piece of shit Nissan. With about 100bhp, an automatic gearbox, and interior reminiscent of a ’99 Pontiac Sunfire, I set off out of the parking lot. My left foot didn’t know what to do at first – wanting to be on the brake pedal instead of at rest. Jesus, I thought, I have driven an automatic for ten years, I have a manual for under a year – and at that, I don’t drive for three months of it – and I’m already forgetting how to just let the car drive itself. Stopping at all of the goddamn east coast toll booths resulted in the same sort of confusion. Oh my God! I can idle and then just drive off without doing anything!

I wasn’t tired, oddly enough. I was excited to be behind the wheel of a car again – even if it was a piece of shit. I hadn’t realized how much I missed driving: turning the music up and rolling the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs and tapping the steering wheel along with the beat. I was so ready to have a break from driving, what, with all the idiot drivers in Omaha. Three months is a long time, though. It felt good. I only stopped once for gas and once for food; otherwise, it was straight on til Boston.

I think I did the drive in about seven hours. I don’t know what Google Maps thinks people are going to do – maybe, obey the speed limit or fuss with antsy kids – but I knew for sure I wasn’t going to take close to nine hours. Bitch, please. I love driving at night when hardly anyone is on the road. Driving up to downtown Toronto at night was also a treat: seeing the CN Tower all lit up amongst the skyscrapers. Found the hotel, parked the car, took a shower, and fell asleep as the sun came up.

For the first few days, I didn’t really do anything. You could say I was a bit jet lagged and utterly drained. I got lots of sleep, room service, and ingested many hours of Netflix. (Finally got around to watching The Office UK – LOVE). My friend Jo came to stay a night in the hotel and surprised me with a couple tall boys of London Pride from her shop. That’s a true friend.

Finally, when I was rested enough to venture out, TIFF had officially started. I made my way to the harbourfront (there I go again), as it was only about a mile from my hotel. It was such a beautiful day – perfect weather. Down at the water, there was a strip of sand with lawn chairs (or should I say, ‘beach chairs’) and big, yellow umbrellas. How the hell could I not sit there a while. Across the water was a landing strip for one of Toronto’s airports, so I watched a few planes land. Soon enough, it was almost time for The Fifth Estate to premiere. Unfortunately, the tickets were sold out, but I wandered over to where the gala was to be held. Right away, I spotted a gal in an ‘I Am SHERlocked’ shirt and knew I was among friends.

I didn’t have the best spot for the red carpet, but I did get to see Benedict Cumberbatch arrive, as well as Laura Linney and a few other costars. It had cooled down and gotten very windy at that point, so I started back to the hotel. On my way, I noticed a pub called The Elephant & Castle. I almost kept walking, but I was drawn to it with its English name and red phone booth out front. I especially had to go in because Elephant & Castle was the last stop on my Bakerloo line in London – couldn’t have been more appropriate. Ended up sinking about six pints with this guy who owns a film company – he was in town to interview the stars at The Ritz. Said he’d look into a runner job for me in the next couple days, but they were likely already sorted. Turns out, they were, but I figured as much. Nice guy, anyway. He was married with a little girl, so we talked a lot about how important it is for fathers to make their daughters know how beautiful and special they are, as well as teach them what to expect from men as far as treatment and respect. As soon as I realized just how much I am my father’s daughter, I started to tear up and got homesick for the very first time since leaving three months ago.

The next few days, I ventured out with Jo and her friend, Lucie, for lunch at The Windsor Arms and drinks at The Ritz-Carlton. Jo spent the night in my hotel room the night before I had to go on to Omaha. I had a right time lugging my suitcases, yet again, to a taxi and through the airport. My arms were so sore from lifting and pulling and moving those damn things when I got home that it felt like I had done a strenuous workout. I guess I had. Much like I had felt when I got to Toronto. That, and a hoarse voice from all that singing…

Home. Mom and dad greeted me at the airport and I got to hang out at my brother’s new apartment that night. It was instantly normal to be back, or like I’d been there for so long already when it had only been a couple hours. Still surreal, I guess – especially because my brother had only just moved out of my dad’s and it was weird to see him in his own environment. I won’t get into that because I’ll just have a breakdown about how grown up he is, much like the one I had in London on his 21st birthday.

When I got back, I had about a week to do my twenty-page masters capstone paper, along with media accompaniment. I had my topic and about twelve books, but needed journal articles as references, too. Naturally, I started doing all of that on Thursday. The project is due Sunday. Friday was highlighting information I could use. Saturday, I typed up everything I highlighted. Sunday, I started cutting things down and actually writing. I’ll admit that I underestimated labor time a tad, but from the sounds of it, a couple of my classmates weren’t going to finish on time either. I emailed my professor and she said I could turn it in by Wednesday and be fine. There was no way in hell I was going to A: need that long, or B: let it take that long anyway. I had it in by Monday at 5pm. Nineteen pages, thirty references, and a 25-slide PowerPoint to go with it. I was done. Thank the Lord.

Now I just had to wait and see if I needed to make any revisions. In the meantime, it was Operation: Apartment Overhaul. Starting in my bedroom, I went through every single thing in my closet and got rid of two trashbags worth, rearranged my furniture, oh, and unpacked all four of my suitcases; from there, I bought a new entertainment center that would hold all of my movies, reorganized my bookcases, moved around some more furniture, and decluttered enough to fill four large tubs. Tubs are in the garage along with my luggage, apartment is clean and organized (save for my desk area, just a tad), and my life was almost in order.

I still hadn’t heard back about my damn capstone. My other classmates heard either Saturday or Sunday. I emailed my professor to see if she was able to access the PowerPoint, you know, to maybe spark her into saying ‘oh yeah, by the way, you passed.’ All I got back was, yep, I could; thanks for checking! Then I thought, great – everyone else has heard back, but she’s probably getting ready to tell me that I have all these revisions to make or that I missed the mark completely and I’d have to redo the entire thing. I even dreamt about it that night – I got an email from (who I recognized as) the dean and he said that I got an A- and then proceeded to tell me what everyone else got. I woke up wishing that were the case. Finally, that night, I emailed the professor asking, as politely as I could, when I should expect to hear back. I just wanted to buy a frame for my goddamn degree and get that motherfucker on the wall, next to my bachelors degree, my notary, and my warrant.

She emailed back saying that all grades were out, degrees were complete, and that I got an A-.

I got in my car that minute and went to Target for a frame. Found the perfect frame, on sale, and my masters degree now hangs proudly among my other accolades. Dreams really do come true.

Now. My apartment is almost perfect, I officially hold a masters in media psychology, and I’m jobless. My goals? To get back into the gym, to start writing (something, anything), to find a job in TV/film/media (particularly something to do with British TV/film); mainly, I want to be free. I want to be free to- to do what I want to do. I want to get loaded, and I want to have a good time. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to have a good time.

%d bloggers like this: