So my car broke down this Saturday.
Well, it didn’t so much break down as start shuddering like crazy and need an absurd amount of acceleration to climb the hill to my apartment complex with my roommate and I cheering it along the whole way. I got it into a parking spot, turned it off a little more violently than I probably needed to, and promptly dragged my boyfriend out to look at it. He couldn’t find an obvious problem besides, well, the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light on the dash, but we obtained a sensor thingy that informed us a cylinder was misfiring. Which can apparently mean several things. But it’s a start.
So then it was Sunday, and I called my dad, who will actually pay for the repairs because I am a broke college student and the vehicle is not actually in my name, and there were no mechanics open because it was Sunday, so I just caught a ride to church and sort of pushed it to the back of my brain.
So then today came, and I realized several things. One was that I had to walk to work for the first time this year, a feat which ended up only taking me 20 minutes and was actually probably the most peaceful part of my day.
Another realization was that I now had to select a mechanic, get someone to tow my car to said mechanic, and inform the lovely people at the mechanic’s of what was going on. Somehow.
My natural instinct was to ask advice. Normally I would defer to my dad, who would take the car in wherever he chose and return it to me in a few days good as new. But he is on the other side of the state. So I asked my boyfriend, and my friend who’s good with cars, and my boyfriend’s brother, and our neighbor who had given me a ride to church. They all had varying levels of expertise, of course, but I trust their judgment and knew that they would genuinely care about whether or not my car continued to function.
The problem is that every time I came up with what I thought was a workable solution based on the information I had, and then shared it, someone would pipe up, “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” No, I didn’t know what I was doing, but everyone seemed to have a different opinion on how I should resolve the problem, and since I had asked for their advice, I felt like I had to take those opinions into account.
I have spent today in this weird chasm of conflicting feelings. As much as I told myself I am a 20-year-old woman who can navigate situations like these just fine on her own, I was, in fact, dependent on other people’s advice. Ultimately my dad had to call our insurance company to get a tow truck for me (because yes, I legitimately never thought of calling them to deal with this) and even then Lightning ended up being the one who told the guys at the shop what was going on with my car. Not that I really minded, but I hated being the stereotypical girl who needed to be rescued from car troubles. Despite my desire for independence, I couldn’t seem to stick with the choices I kept making.
This is the first time my car’s ever been undriveable, so I suppose I should just look at this as a learning experience. Hopefully the next time this happens, if I’m interning somewhere on the other side of the country, I’ll have the presence of mind to call a damn tow truck, arrange my own transportation, and inform the mechanics myself of what’s happening with my own car.