By now we all know that I have no idea what’s going on in my car. I barely know how to drive the thing, but I also refuse to stop driving until it becomes clear that my engine is about to fall out and/or explode. If the problem cannot be sufficiently ignored by turning up the radio, I call my dad, who patiently listens to my description of the situation, which usually goes something like this: “There’s this light, and it says ‘HOT,’ and it’s on. Like, really bright. And the Hot-Cold thingie is all the way in the red, like the needle is vibrating in the red. Where am I right now? Driving on the freeway. Why do you ask?” Panic tends to bring out my inner valley girl.
Since my father and I have trouble communicating in the same language even when I am not short a few IQ points, and since he does not have the magical ability to fix my car telephonically (which is what I always sort of hope will happen), he tells me to bring my car in to a mechanic. Then I tell him I will call him when I know something.
Then this happens: He calls me and asks what’s wrong with the car, and I tell him I don’t know yet, and he acts surprised and tells me to call him when I know, which I assure him I will do, and then we hang up, and then he calls me again an hour later and we have the same conversation all over again.
This does not end until I hear from the mechanic and can finally call my father and tell him what’s going on: “It’s gonna be twelve hundred dollars. Something with the…engine. Something’s wrong with it. It’s gonna cost twelve hundred dollars.”
“Is it the head gasket?” Dad asks.
“Could be,” I say, because this sounds like a real thing. “Twelve hundred dollars.”
Then dad says something like, okay, we’ll figure it out, and we hang up, and five minutes later my mom calls. She only comes in to play when I cannot reach my father or when money gets involved.
“The head gasket, huh?” she says. “That’s what dad thought it was.” It’s not always the head gasket and 1200 dollars (that’s just the current and most depressing example), but it is always whatever dad “thought it was.” He is magic that way.
So I’m temporarily carless and soon to be semi-homeless. All attempts at self-sufficiency are failing miserably. So what do I do? Run to my parents for help, and book a weekend vacation to L.A. Either I’m mentally-challenged, or I’m a terrible person, or both. I think I’m going to fit right in in L.A.