Tag Archives: driving

on spin-outs and lies

27 Jan

A few weeks ago, I was on my way to a party when I spun out on the Interstate.

Yes, it had been snowing. But no, the salt trucks hadn’t gotten out yet. And yes, it took me thirty minutes to go two miles.* And no, thankfully, I wasn’t going faster than 25 miles per hour. And yes, it is quite startling to find yourself perpendicularly straddling three lanes of a four-lane highway.

Thankfully neither I nor anyone else was injured when my car shimmied its way across multiple lanes. And double-thankfully I didn’t even think to panic about spinning out, though I did exhibit some confusion about taking my foot off the pedal and steering into the skid when I felt the car start to slide.

I’m not perfect.

It wasn’t until I came to a complete stop on the Tri-State—again, perpendicular to traffic—and saw headlights approaching (slowly, but approaching nonetheless) that a pearl of panic lodged in my stomach and in that moment of stress I uttered the ever-eloquent, “Oh, shit.”

I very slooooowly righted myself and continued on my way to the party without further incidence, the danger of the situation sank in the more I distanced myself, literally, from the expressway. And as often happens in moments of potential danger, it makes you think about your life, about the things that are important. You think about the things you’ve said, or haven’t said; if you’ve really been living the life you want; you know…the things that really matter.

And Interwebers, I realized I had to come clean to you. I try and be as honest as possible in my little corner of the Internets, and as I navigated the slick, snowy roads and thought about the peril I’d just endured, I realized that I must tell you the truth:

I don’t actually hate that Justin Bieber song “Sorry.”

I do, in fact, kind of enjoy it, and find it catchy.

I don’t understand the video, and I don’t think I will ever understand Justin Bieber’s hair or how a kid who looks like he should still be on the Disney Channel gets his own roast on Comedy Central, but these need not be my worry. My concern is always being myself with you, Interwebers, and not rolling my eyes and lambasting the Beebs every time my friend HO mentions how much she likes some song by him, and then blatantly sing along with “Sorry” when it comes on the car radio and no one else is around.

I’m not sorry I like “Sorry” but I am sorry I lied.

And I hope you’ll forgive me.





am rockstar

1 Jul

For about a year now I’ve been having issues with the turn signal bulb on the driver’s side of my car. Bulbs seem to burn out left and right, and it makes me think that the problem is probably not actually the bulbs – seeing as how they’d been fine for the four years I’d previously been driving the car – rather the wiring to the turn signal bulb. It was actually my mutherrr who pointed this out, and though the woman has little to no overall knowledge of cars other than she knows she likes to drive her huge-ass Lincoln that my dad refers to as The Cloud and that my mother likes because it makes her feel safe, I think she may be right.

I’m hesitant to take the car to a dealer or other mechanic to find out if the wiring is the problem because I’m afraid they’re going to be all, “Yeah, replacing that wiring, you’re looking at about $700 bucks.” And then they’ll give dirty looks when I reply back “Yeah, I think I’ll just continue replacing the bulbs for $5 for a pack of two every four months.” I’d rather just avoid a confrontation with people I fear might try and swindle me. Not that I feel I’ve ever been swindled by a mechanic. I actually have had very good experiences with mechanics. I just don’t want to risk a meeting/confrontation unless it’s something major, like my transmission spontaneously combusted. At which point I’d probably just get rid of the car and embrace public transpo.

ANYSHOES, so I went to get my oil changed today, and while I was there I asked if they could possibly replace the bulb in the turn signal, because it had gone out again. I brought a bulb with me and everything, I just didn’t know how to actually replace it. I’d tried before, but couldn’t figure it out, and I’d had numerous other people try as well who also could not figure it out, including a former coworker of mine who struggled for an hour in 90 degree heat to change the bulb to no avail. But the guys at Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys were always able to figure it out, so how convenient was it that my bulb needed replacing AND I needed and oil change. TOTES! I know! And the nice guys at Jiffy Lube said sure, but it will cost you $5. I said that’s fine, because the dealer wanted to charge me $22 for the same thing so steal of a deal from my POV, you know what I’m sayin’? He just sort of looked at me and said the car would be ready in five minutes.

So I’m driving home from the Jiffy Lube and happy that my left turn signal is now working.

Except it’s not.

I realize this because it’s still doing that quick tick-tick-tick-tick-tick when I flick the signal, as compared to the right turn signal which has a slower, steadier beat.

Needless to say: BLARRRRGGGHHH

I park the car outside my building and get out of the car to confirm what I already suspect. Yes. Turn signal still not working, but my head is, overtime. Did they replace the wrong bulb? Has the wire completely fritzed out? Do I now have to bust my ass through Connecticut Avenue traffic again so I can go get my $5 back for the unsuccessful outcome of Jiffy Lube’s work?

This is ridiculous, I decided then and there. I grabbed the car’s manual from my glove compartment and flipped to the page on replacing the bulb. If Jiffy Lube could do this I could do this. Determination coursed through my veins. And for those who are wondering, Determination coursing through your veins feels a lot like “MOTHERFUCKER I AM GOING TO FIGURE THIS OUT IF IT KILLS ME.” I popped open the trunk and peered at the area where I thought I should be loosening screws and wingnuts and such as directed by the manual, but I couldn’t see anything.

And then I did.

I pulled the fabric covering of the trunk back a little to see if I could gander at what was underneath. And right there were the two screwy things I was supposed to unscrew to get the tail lamp to pop out in its entirety. And I realized that the hook that held the nets on either side of the trunk (to keep groceries from rolling around, presumably? Except that 99% of the time I put my groceries in the backseat. So those nets are really keeping random objects like broken umbrellas, the lid to an old crockery pot, and some newspapers from 2007 from rolling around my trunk.) was actually covering another screw that needed undoing to move the fabric to get to the other two screws. There was also another screw on the outside that couldn’t be undone without the aid of a screwdriver, but thanks to a Yankee Swap a few years ago I landed a sweet tool kit that my Uncle Mark had brought as his swap gift, that was not an issue. Within minutes I had the lamp out, the bulb changed, and was putting it all back together again.

I put my key in the ignition to check to see if it worked.

It worked!


I felt like the smartest girl in the world as I put my screwdriver away and packed the manual back in the glove compartment among 1,276 Wendy’s napkins. I locked up the car, grabbed my toolkit and headed inside, happy.

And then I walked into a tree.

To be fair, I had a baseball hat on, pulled down low and impairing my vision, and I’d like to blame it on that except I walked into the same tree last night as I was coming home from work, so really I can’t blame anyone except my own short-term memory that Hey! The trees outside my apartment! They have bloomed! Their branches hang low now and are covered with flowers! And now you are too! Because you just walked into it. Moron.

Good times.

But at least my turn signal works again. And I did it myself. And I could do it again. Totally worth the tree branch in the face.

15 Minutes

22 Jun

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to finally, FINALLY learn how to drive stick shift. And I was taught by a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, no less.

It was an adventure, to say the least, one I will write about in more depth soon, but for now, you can check out what Gene wrote for his column in the Washington Post magazine (and, I guess, for all the other Sunday magazines and papers where his column appears as well.)

Enjoy. And if you ever find yourself in labor and only a stick shift car in your midst, well, now you know who to call.

Disturbing Something, Alright.

27 May

At the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Jones Bridge Road, I sat in the middle lane at a red light. On either side of me, perfectly parallel to my car, was a Montgomery County police officer. They each sat stoically in their patrol cars, one a man, the other a woman, looking straight ahead, very serious in their duties.

And then there was me.

My arms whipped around dramatically as I sang along loudly with Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, that I, too, had no air when they weren’t around. My face scrunched up, my shoulders swayed from side to side, I Was The Music and The Music Was Me.

I wondered if the officers could hear me singing, even though my windows were rolled up. Probably not. If they could, though, they were doing a very good job of ignoring a woman disturbing the peace and driving while under the influence of pop music.