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Three strikes and …

August 12, 2010
Last night, I was headed to Washington, D.C. for some client meetings. The meetings were to begin at the friggin’ crack of dawn the following day, so we decided to go the night before and spend the night. On the journey: two coworkers and me. One is a vice president at my company – happily married with two beautiful children who, when I was with my ex fiancée, would often tell me that I didn’t have enough fun for my age. I didn’t go to enough concerts, stay out late enough nights, go to enough bars, yada yada yada. I was an old married woman before I even had the chance to get married (and he was sort of right, I now begrudgingly admit). Now that I’m single, I suspect he thinks I’m maybe having too much fun. Also on the journey, a bright eyed new intern at our company. She cracks me up and I love her pure enthusiasm. I had high hopes the trip would go well.

We left after work, and I was suffering from some pretty terrible heartburn. After almost overdosing on Pepto-Bismal (is that even possible?), Intern and I headed to meet VP at his house, where we were to leave our cars that night. When we got there, VP says to me, “You’re driving, right?” Um, no? I had no plans at all to drive and had truly thought the plan was for him to drive. My heartburn was killing me, and I needed an oil change. VP said he didn’t have any gas, so I agreed that we could take my car. After telling him about the heartburn, he volunteered to drive my car, and I was agreeable.

Almost immediately, VP started joking on my car. It’s not that old: a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am (I should note, however, that the Grand Am logo on the back fell off, so I just say I drive a Pontiac). I have several cracks in the windshield, but hey they aren’t hurting me, and the car still passes inspection. Maybe the rims are a little dented, so it shakes like the alignment is off, and perhaps three out of the four speakers are broken, but that really doesn’t bother me because all I listen to is talk radio anyway. Otherwise, my car has been a trooper. It has served me well. VP makes fun of it for having no pickup, for shaking, for the cracks on the windshield, etc., and then says, “Sure hope your car makes it to DC and doesn’t break down!”

Famous. Last. Words.

Maybe an hour into the journey, we’re chatting it up, and VP looks at me and calmly says, “Catherine, we have a flat tire.” He very capably pulls off to the shoulder (um, if I were driving I would have probably been having a panic attack with a flat tire on a highway going 70 or so). And he is right: It’s like the mother of all flat tires. Strike one.

What’s funny to me is that there was no part of me that was like, “Wow, I gotta change this flat tire now.” My first thoughts were, “Wow, VP has got to change this flat tire now.” And that’s when I knew it: I’m a failure of a feminist. And I felt like an asshole for being an incapable woman (and yes, I know there are many women capable of changing a flat tire. Props to them. I’m just not one of them).

VP goes to town changing my flat tire, and then the jack breaks. Strike two. And yes, I’m positive the jack is broken. I can’t tell you how many people have said “Are you sure? It’s hard to break those!” Yes, I’m sure. The jack was broken.

We called motorist assistance, who assured us they would be there shortly. I proceeded to sit on the side of the highway and observe the random skulls of roadkill strewn about. I guess I have never thought of it, but you know all those dead animals on the side of the road? They eventually decompose. And leave skulls and skeletons behind. These are the things you learn when you are on the side of the road with a flat tire.

A concerned citizen stops and checks on us. We explain that we are waiting on the state police to come out and help. Same concerned citizen then refers to Intern and me as VP’s daughters (this is strike one for VP’s ego, but in all fairness, it was dark. And I look 16.).

Just before the police officer arrives, VP asks me why it looks like my hazard lights are faint. I go to the car to check it out. The battery is now dead. Strike three.

The police officer arrives and helps VP change the tire. He’s a little cocky (read: a lot cocky), and frequently jokes on VP when he doesn’t immediately know how to use the new jack or has troubles getting the bolts off (in case you are keeping track, this is strike two for VP’s ego). I ignore the cockiness, blinded by the hotness of the police officer – blonde hair, blue eyes, decent height, really good skin. Maybe I have a thing for police officers now? Or more generally, men in uniform? From here forward, this police officer is going to be State Police Officer, or SPO. Not to be confused with PO of blogs past.

Intern and I discuss hotness of SPO and I ask if I should get his number. She laughs, probably thinking I’m kidding. Oh, Intern. Yee of little faith. Not only is this the Year of Yes, it’s the Year of Flirting With Reckless Abandon.

As SPO is helping get us on our way, we have some small talk. Where you from? How do you like it? I’m from Richmond. Oh, you used to live there too? Want to come visit me sometime? OK, so I didn’t ask him to come visit me sometime. But I thought it.

Me to SPO: So, are you single?

SPO (surprised at the question): Yes.

Me: Well, let me give you my card then.

SPO: Let me get one for you too.

[Cue exchanging of cards. Mine has my cell phone number on it, and his is very official and only alludes to his first name with an initial: N. Nick? Nathan? Napoleon? (I hope not!) Neil? Nelson? Newton? Nigel? Noah? Noel? (I hope so!! Cue Felicity fantasy, where my favorite character was named Noel.) The suspense is killing me. Must. Know. His. Name. Now.]

SPO: Well, definitely give me a call.

Me: Oh, no, don’t you do that. I gave you my card. You give me a call.

SPO: I definitely will.

We get back in the car, and are on our way. After a short stop to fill up the tire with air. And for me to laugh giddily with Intern about the randomness of the behavior I just exhibited.

VP, Intern and I all go out for a beer. VP really needs it after the two strikes against his ego and the manual labor of changing the tire. He did all the heavy lifting tonight. I just looked (mildly) cute, apologized profusely for how terrible my car is, gave my card to a stranger and took random pictures of roadkill skulls.

After the beer, we pull into the parking lot at the hotel. VP is still driving. He accidentally pulls up too far and hits my car on a wall. Just a flesh wound, really. Some new scratches on my bumper. Builds character. It would be another strike, but we are already out.

I wonder if SPO will actually call? That would definitely be making lemonade out of a roadtrip where lemons were being thrown at us left and right. And if he does call, fingers crossed his name is Noel.

Oh, and just for fun, here are some pictures of one of the skulls we found on the side of the road. Any guesses on what the hell this animal used to be?

Actual skull found on the side of the road - sorry for blurriness, damn Blackberry camera phone

Actual skull found on the side of the road


29 Comments leave one →
  1. Dawn permalink
    August 12, 2010 11:16 am

    Wow honey, one more strike agaist VP’s ego and one more out, your team is done, lol. -I’ll pray for a safer trip home…maybe you should drive!! Oh yea and for a Noel 🙂

    • August 12, 2010 1:24 pm

      Haha thanks Dawn. We’ll be driving nice and slow on the way home!! I’ll keep you updated if I learn his name!

  2. natasha permalink
    August 12, 2010 2:24 pm

    Hopefully I draw your name in secret santa this year!! You’ll be getting a new jack and a class on how to change a tire 🙂 fingers crossed!!!

    • August 12, 2010 7:00 pm

      That sounds like an AMAZING gift! Not sure if I should wait for Christmas though! LOL

  3. mary permalink
    August 12, 2010 3:11 pm

    This is worth commenting on! I am glad yall finally made it – and at least it put some fun in yalls trip. Goodluck on the way home 😉

  4. August 12, 2010 4:43 pm

    I’ll bet VP is wishing he had just manned up and driven his car. Also, I think that is probably the skull of a deer.


    • August 12, 2010 6:59 pm

      Haha, thanks for helping me identify the animal. I agree, this all could have been avoided if VP had driven! But alas, he had no gas. It’s not like we live in a world where there are gas stations EVERYWHERE or anything. LOL, JK. VP was amazing and I’m pretty sure if he hadn’t been there, I would have been crying and this would have been a much different blog post!

  5. Melanie permalink
    August 12, 2010 4:54 pm

    When will people learn not to joke about the car breaking down, getting a ticket, etc. before a trip?? One time (in band camp) when I was leaving the house to drop Sam off at the dogsitter, Tom said, “Don’t get a ticket!” Well, while I was waiting for the officer to write my ticket, you’d better believe I called Tom and let him have it. It was his fault after all, right? Glad you guys were safe and able to get a laugh out of it. And thanks for passing that laugh on to us. 🙂

    • August 12, 2010 6:57 pm

      TOTALLY Tom’s fault. He should have paid for the ticket. Just like VP should pay for my new tire. Hahaha 🙂

  6. Sam permalink
    August 12, 2010 6:15 pm

    Great first business trip for me! haha this perfectly captures the craziness that was our night. Poor VP…we are useless 🙂

    • August 12, 2010 6:56 pm

      Agreed, very fun trip (considering!). I’m in the market for a class on how to stop being so unbelievably useless, btw. 🙂

  7. Millie Turner (Mom) permalink
    August 12, 2010 9:41 pm

    To funny thank god you dident tell me this story when you called I wouldhave been up laughing all night.. Ya I think its a deer, thought it was Jordan but he’s here

    • August 13, 2010 12:43 pm

      Haha, it does look a little like a Jordan skull. Thank goodness he’s OK. 🙂

  8. August 13, 2010 2:19 pm

    Don’t feel like an asshole for being an incapable woman. I got a flat en route to the gym. When the guy from AAA never showed up and I proved that no matter how much weight lifting I do I still can’t unscrew those damn bolts, I burst into tears. My personal trainer and the gym manager changed the tire for me. How’s THAT for being an asshole?

    • August 15, 2010 11:00 am

      Haha! I don’t think you are an asshole at all in your situation. At least you were resourceful enough to have purchased AAA – although it’s disturbing that they never showed. You also attempted to change the tire, totally wasn’t your fault that the bolts were on too tight. I, on the other hand, was like “not my problem, wonder who’s going to fix this?!” LOL.

      Thanks for reading and commenting :).

  9. August 13, 2010 2:32 pm

    Scissors jack may be fixable. Otherwise you must look for one soon, as you could get another flat and have to call the SPO (horrors!). Must also look at the famous Grand Am owners site: I like that you are now including actual dialogue instead of just your inner dialogue about what the actual dialogue could be in a given situation! 🙂

    • August 15, 2010 10:57 am

      Good point. I definitely need to get a new jack or work on fixing the old one. Thanks for sharing the site! Now I have a place to complain about how my Grand Am is slowly starting to fall apart! haha jk

      I’m working on the dialogue… hard thing is that I’m not taking notes during my dates/encounters (haha, but would be funny if I did!). So it’s hard to actually quote someone, I don’ t want to misquote them and I often have a hard time remembering exactly what they said, just the gist. But, working on it definitely!

  10. Ramon permalink
    August 14, 2010 11:30 pm

    Hey thats one awesome adventure!! It went from flat tire to VP cant man up and change a tire. Yeah i guess my soul would hurt to if I were in his shoes.. However it sounds like you had a great time! Keep on writing you have my attention..

    • August 15, 2010 10:52 am

      Haha, thanks! It was quite the adventure. Still working on getting the tire fixed … turns out the wheel/rim is cracked as well. This became a very EXPENSIVE adventure!

      Appreciate your reading 🙂

  11. August 15, 2010 10:01 am

    Catherine… are an inspiration! I don’t subscribe to the feminist thing anyway, strong and capable – yes..feminist -no. Dammit, we carry all the nahor burdens of life and existence already (we are blamed for “original sin”…we have the monthly visits for the majority of our lives, *just* so we can then distort or minds and bodies to carry on the human race in the most uncomfortable, degrading, and painful way imaginable…umm..change a tire? I think NOT! I refuse to learn on principle alone..for gawd’s sake, there has to be *some* benefit to being born female..why on earth would I not want to graciously accept the few and meager perks we’re still given? …ahhhh..but I rant…
    WHOAAAAA and WOOHOOO on getting SPO’s number…
    that. is. freakin’. FABULOUS!

    • August 15, 2010 11:03 am

      Thank you so much! You make a really good point here … perhaps we’ve done enough for humanity that we can take the back seat in tire-changing. I buy it! 🙂

    • August 15, 2010 11:08 am

      Pressed reply too soon…

      Oh, and I was quite proud of myself for getting his number as well, I should add. I doubt he’s going to call me, so I’m thinking of doing something else I’ve never done: calling a guy first. We’ll see 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Loving your site as well!

  12. August 15, 2010 3:33 pm

    Just started reading your blog and I like the way you write – especially the Plenty Of Fish posts. Here’s hoping there’s more from SPO to come!

    • August 15, 2010 11:40 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m enjoying your blog too – just added it to my Google Reader! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  13. August 24, 2010 9:36 pm

    Ummm… yeah, so did we hear from SPO?????

    • August 24, 2010 9:51 pm

      Boo, no I did not. At first I was disappointed, but now I’m less worried about it. If I’d never tried, there wouldn’t have been the possibility. Next!


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