Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh What a Night

So I had kind of a NIGHT last night.

As you may know, I planned to drive to Charlotte yesterday. Kirk and Liz are getting married on Saturday night, and Friday night, some friends are going out in Raleigh for Mike's birthday. Well, I wanted to get the seven-hour drive to Charlotte over with and then just drive the short 2.5-hour drive to Raleigh on Friday.

Well, I went to my interview yesterday morning, which I think went pretty well. I got home afterward and packed a few bags. I left my apartment around 3 p.m.

It was raining, so there was more traffic than usual. Just a miserable day, of course. But I got through the beltway and got to 95 without issue. I ended up making it to Richmond in 2.5 hours, which is a pretty good time -- it's typically a two-hour drive if you can hit it with no traffic.

It rained off and on, not particularly hard, but enough to be an irritant. I passed through Richmond and made it 85 in pretty good time.

A little while later, I was approximately 15 miles from the North Carolina border on I-85 south in Virginia. If you don't know, that stretch of highway is practically desolate. There are no lights, no gas stations, no restaurants, no hotels, nothing. If there aren't other cars around, it's difficult to see too far in any direction around you.

But it had stopped raining, so I didn't think anything of it. I was finally able to set my cruise control and relax a little. The only other car around me was several hundred yards ahead in the right lane. I was driving in the left lane.

All of a sudden, I saw something in the road. Because of the darkness and lack of lights or cars, it was too late by the time I saw it.


Oh good. I knew immediately the front right tire was done. I managed to pull over to the shoulder to assess the damage. Not only was the right front tire done, but the rim of the wheel itself more closely resembled Pac-man with his mouth open than a complete circle.

I looked toward the back. The back right tire also looked a little worse than I would have liked.

I called my parents to let them know what happened. I called AAA to get a tow truck. Then, not knowing what else to do, I called my friend Mike. To reiterate, Mike and I have hung out in person exactly twice, and neither of us particularly remembers the first time all that well. The other time? The insanity in Raleigh last month.

Our friendship prior to last month was entirely over Gchat. Lulz. And yet, he was the first person I thought to call haha.

I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know where I was. I knew I was still about an hour, maybe an hour and a half from Raleigh. I figured I'd get towed to some nowhere town in Virginia, and Mike would have to pick me up there.

Oh, also, I had Allie with me. So the poor dog is lying down in the backseat, super confused about everything. What a mess.

I waited on the side of the road for 30 minutes before the tow truck arrived. He hopped down and asked where I wanted to go. I said I didn't know because, again, I had no idea where I was. He said, well we can go to Bracey, but there aren't any hotels there, so I'll take us back to South Hill, just a few miles back north and you can find something there.

I told him it didn't matter, because I had a friend in Raleigh who agreed to pick me up.

Thankfully, the driver -- Roger, God love him -- was quick on his feet. "Well, if you want to go to Raleigh, AAA allows for free towing if it's less than 100 miles away."

I had no idea. So I did the math in my head quickly: 15 miles to the state line, probably another 40 or 50 miles to the exit I typically used, then maybe another 15 or 20 to where Mike lived. It would be close, but it seemed doable.

OK, let's do it. He loaded up the car -- thankfully, it was a flatbed, because the cab only had two seats and Allie is too big for that. I opened the windows in the car, and she must have figured it was just a normal car ride, because she ducked down and went to sleep after a few minutes.

I swear. That dog. I need to write a post about her. I've never known such a chill, laid-back dog before. She's the best. She rolls with it better than most people I know.

Anyway, Mike was relieved not to have to drive to the middle of nowhere last night. I was relieved the car was at least going to be in Raleigh, where I was familiar with the area, and where it's a manageable trip to/from Charlotte in case I need my parents to give me a ride so I don't miss the wedding.

Plus, holy hell. It could have been truly disastrous and tragic. I blew out two tires on one side of the car and somehow managed to keep control of the vehicle. Not only that, but if there had been cars around me? My God. Even when shit happens, I continue to be extraordinarily lucky.

So there you go. What a night. Mike met me at the car place where I left my car for the night, and he let me drive him to work today so I could use his car to go back to the car place to deal with this nonsense.

I'm not angry or annoyed. I'm a little inconvenienced, to be sure. But what can you do? Shit happens, man. C'est la vie. Keep calm, and carry on. And other sayings.

The car guy called me a while ago and said he ordered two tires and a new wheel. The tires are available today, but the wheel won't come in until tomorrow. All told, tomorrow is considerably better than I was expecting.

It's going to end up costing more than $550 for parts, labor and tax, but hey. Shit happens. Neither the dog nor I got hurt despite a situation that, in retrospect, could have easily led to serious injury.

Like I said, what can you do? We'll deal with it, and keep moving. I'm still looking forward to a fun weekend both here in Raleigh and in Charlotte! It's going to get nuts. CAN'T WAIT.

This will probably be the last post for the week, so I'll see you back here on Monday!



  1. Damn dude, what was in the road?? Glad you & the pup were safe - at least the drinks at the reception come cheap!

  2. Yeah it could have been so much worse. It looked to be a huge tree branch. Like I said, by the time I saw it, it was too late. It was too big to swerve around.

    Can't wait for the wedding and reception though!