warning: this story is kind of long and probably not all that interesting, but I will write it down either way.
Fact number 1: Although I am generally functional, I often do things that are inexcusably stupid. “But you learn from your mistakes,” is a popular anecdote to counteract these incidents, yet I usually know that my bad ideas are, in fact, bad ideas. Of course, there are also accidents… those errors I could have prevented if only I weren’t so dense. This recollection is about a pretty dim-witted accident.
It all began on Tuesday when I got home from being a respectable nanny (harharhar) and was feeling especially anxious. Usually when I am hit with this feeling I just ride my bike until my legs are sufficiently tired and I no longer feel so restless. But this day was different. I needed to GO SOMEWHERE. (note: this is most likely a side effect of the melodrama associated with not having any REAL problems. Nonetheless, I was feeling oh-so stagnant)
…. So I went somewhere. When my roommate, Amy, got home from work I declared, “We’re going to Asheville.”
And we did, and it was nice and it reminded me that you don’t have to be stuck in one place if you don’t want to be and it provided that overall reassurance I was hoping to find and all of that “meaning of life”-related twaddle
. …. And after aimlessly roaming the downtown Asheville streets and driving on the wonderfully eerie, winding Blue Ridge roads in order to reach the top of a mountain and see the city below, we decided it was time to return to our standard lives back in Columbia.
It was on our way back that my accident occurred.
Fact number 2: Diesel fuel will not fly in the engine of my Honda Accord.
I stopped for gas at a Spinx Station in Spartanburg at around 12:30 a.m. and was very alarmed when I turned my key after filling the tank and my engine began rumbling in a "not so fast, you silly girl" kind of way. The car would not drive. It was at this point that I realized I’d done something stupid. I’d accidentally filled my tank with diesel fuel. Naturally, the only thing you can do following a stupid mistake is blurt out some obscenity and marvel about how you may very well be screwed. This is exactly what I did.
An SUV full of guys that smelled of Axe and sported Ducks Unlimited-style clothing noticed that Amy and I were in distress. One of these fellows happened to be an auto mechanic and he reassured us that we were screwed and we would not be going anywhere that night. He proceeded to invite us to his “get together” for “some beer pong” at his “house down the road.” Um, hospitality’s a fine thing and all, but no thank-you.
So, I walked into the brightly lit Spinx Station, hoping that the gas station attendant may be able assist me in some way. I asked the woman if she had a directory. The shapeless, stringy haired night attendant gazed at me vacantly for about 15 seconds as she sucked on a potato chip. It seemed as though she was processing each word in my question while simultaneously registering all aspects of the potato chip’s flavor.
“Ya mean like’a…… phonebook or summmthin’?” she asked.
“Yes, a phonebook.”
“Oh, weeyellllll, lemme check….. Hmmmm….. Here ya go.”
Sadly, there were no instant-fixes to be found in the phonebook. AAA could not fix the car until the morning, and it would be very pricy. I tried calling the local police, and they laughed at me (literally) and told me to call my parents. So I said, “My parents are dead you no good, heartless scoundrels.” (Just kidding)
Anyway, at around 1:30 a.m., that seemed like the only option left: to call my mom and confirm to her that I am still incompetent. It kind of breaks my heart, because she never seems to get too angry or frustrated with me, even though I really do deserve that reaction. She just told me that there wasn’t anything I could do until morning, and that she’d help me take care of it in the morning.
Fact Number 3: I am grateful for my mother.
So there we were at 1:30 a.m… stuck at a gas station on the outskirts of Spartanburg. It was now time to find somewhere to stay. This is the part where Amy and I began walking (and walking, and walking.) We chose the direction that appeared to be the most well-lit. Sprinkler systems sprayed the grassy knolls that surrounded the deserted parking lots of the mass-chain retailers and street lights buzzed and the occasional truck swooshed by, but other than that, there were no signs of life. It almost felt as though we were in a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. After about a half mile of trekking through the nearly empty streets of suburbia central, we saw a Hampton Inn sign looming over the parking lot wasteland. When we finally made it to the Hampton Inn we found that the doors were locked and there was no concierge on duty. Aren’t hotels supposed to have 24 hour service? A number of similar midlevel hotels were within a one mile radius of the Hampton Inn, although we found that there was no concierge available until we reached the Holiday Inn.
To my dismay, Holiday Inn rooms are pricey these days, at a whomping $120 per night. The amiable concierge hooked us up with some water bottles and snacks and pointed us in the direction of the coveted Super 8 (which meant another 2 miles of walking past Red Lobsters and TJ Maxxes and Home Depots and sub developments and womp womp womp.)
….. And then Amy and I saw the light! …. The yellow light that is, beaming from the block letters of a Waffle House sign, which meant the Super 8 was near, according to the Holiday Inn concierge. We crossed over a highway overpass, and there it was, SUPER 8. And a Sleep Inn. And a Dennys.
After nearly 4 or 5 miles of walking, we were hooooongry, so we enjoyed some fantastically greasy Denny’s cuisine, while taking note of the fact that at least 1/3 of the Spartanburg police force was relaxing in Denny’s. (Way to go, guys… and way to help us out earlier when we called!) We also noticed a book of hotel rates/coupons and discovered that it would be cheaper to stay at the Sleep Inn… so that was our next order of business.
Let me tell you, the Sleep Inn was my kind of place. There were no locked doors or quiet hours. The elderly, Hindi desk attendant was not too keen on his English skills, and he pressed each computer key individually with his index finger when he entered data into the computer, but he provided us with a room at a cost efficient price. It must have taken at least 20 minutes for him to issue us our room, due to his unpolished computer skills, but we were able to enjoy the peculiar chanting in the Indian music that played in the background and the generic Thomas Kincaid-esque paintings in the lobby.
When I found myself inhaling the scent of chlorine and stale air that clings to hotel beds, I don’t think I could’ve been happier. Amy and I watched (and giggled at) horrible 4 a.m. infomercials about vegetable cutters and fitness contraptions and fell fast asleep.
The car was fixed the next morning/afternoon, and both of our bosses were
understanding and nothing terrible happened and blah blah blah.
We ended up taking advantage of the fact that we would not be making it to work that day. We explored downtown Hendersonville and hiked through waterfalls at Duponte State Forrest and it all reaffirmed my suspicion that life is good.
Fact Number 4: Misadventures never really suck. They help you forget about absolutely everything else that is supposed to be important and they remind you that plans are for suckers.
Sure, I may be even more broke and feel even more stupid, but that doesn’t matter. There was something strangely wonderful and semi-surreal about this experience.
and here are some piccckchas:
To my utter astonmishment, there is a restaurant (an upscale one!) called the Chop House.. which is funny, because chop is also a sexual term that I use jokingly (and I even made a small drawing about it in my sketchbook once.)
.. so I was amused.
mountain pictures (extended shutter.. it was very very very dark up in the mountains)
this is my car on a tow truck from the window of a cheap automotive repair shop:
tales from a strip mall (we had a lot of time to kill while my car was being fixed.)