Home > Star Trek > I. Am. Such. An. Idiot.

I. Am. Such. An. Idiot.

The last day of Shore Leave went fine — more later.  The drive home, not so much.  Here is the chain of decisions that led to my current, entirely avoidable predicament:

About an hour out from Hunt Valley, just south of Harrisburg, I’m hit by severe rainfall that reduces visibility almost to zero.  Traffic crawls along.  I keep going slowly, looking out for exit signs.  I see indications of an exit 2 miles ahead.

I see other cars pulled over in emergency pull-offs to wait out the storm.  I decide to keep going to the exit.

Once I get near the exit, the rain starts to abate.  I think about continuing, but I decide to pull off and stop for a while just in case it gets worse again.

After I get off the Turnpike, I have two ways to go, north toward Harrisburg or south toward Carlisle.  I choose south.

Before very long at all, I see I’ve made the wrong choice; there’s nothing but road ahead of me, and I don’t know where it goes.  I turn around and head back to get on the turnpike.

Just before getting back on the turnpike, I see a sign for a Wendy’s a bit further ahead.  I veer out of the on-ramp and keep going straight.

I look for the entrance to the lot — a combined lot for Wendy’s and a convenience store/service station called Love’s — and spot it a bit late.  I make the turn at the last possible instant….

And it’s actually a bit after that.  My rear-view mirror hits the sign and my driver-side wheels go up on the curb.

As I pull in to a parking space, I feel the left side of the car is all bumpy, and I begin to realize what happened.

I get out and see that both driver-side tires are completely flat and off the rims, and at least the front rim is bent.  (This is getting ahead of the story; I didn’t get told this until later.  I don’t know from rims.)

So (shifting to past tense now) I tried calling my insurance company’s emergency assistance number.  The first  connection was almost inaudible and I didn’t get any help; she couldn’t even find my account.  I accidentally disconnected the call, and called again.  Got a better connection this time, and it turned out my account was still in my father’s name (I inherited his car) — and the roadside assistance had expired months ago.  Still, the operator did his best to help me find a towing service or a tire shop.  He found one practically next door to where I was (once I got the address from the store clerk), but they and everyone else were closed on Sunday afternoon, except for one rather pricey service.

By the time I was done with the insurance guy, the store manager and staff had come out to watch, and the manager tried to find a tire service for me, with a similar lack of luck, though I appreciate his effort.  He agreed it would be okay to leave the car parked there overnight, not that we really had a choice.

So it seemed I’d have to spend the night here in Carlisle.  I thought I’d have to schlep (or drive on my rims) over half a mile to the motels I’d seen in the other direction from the turnpike, but — the first stroke of good luck in this whole tale — I noticed a Hampton Inn right across the street.  So I got a sandwich to go from the Wendy’s, schlepped my luggage over here and checked in.  The clerk was sympathetic and got me a room at a discount, and is going to help me find a repair service for the morning.  I hope they can get me fixed up and back on the road reasonably quickly, but considering I only made it about 1 hour’s worth out of a 10 to 11-hour trip, I probably won’t be able to get home until Tuesday.  Luckily I set the DVR to record my Monday night shows just in case I was delayed.

So I’m feeling pretty rotten right now.  This was such a stupid, avoidable accident, and the irony is that it only happened because I was trying to be safe by not driving in the rain.

But I’m reminding myself that the good news is, only the car was damaged.  Neither I nor anybody else got hurt.  This is an inconvenience, it will be expensive to fix, and it’s the end of what’s hitherto been an accident-free driving record, but it’s not a tragedy and it should be reparable.  At worst I’ll be delayed an extra night or so.  And at least I have a nice hotel room to stay in tonight — and I don’t have to wait until I get home to watch tonight’s Leverage episode.  So there’s an upside.

Still… there were so many moments when I almost made a different decision.  And it was such a little thing.  I survived the worst downpour I’ve ever driven through, then got my car hobbled because I took a turn a little too fast.  So yeah, I’m feeling pretty dumb.

Categories: Star Trek Tags: , ,
  1. Sho
    August 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Sucks, but don’t beat yourself up too much. At least you have a net connection, so you can distract yourself with our favorite BBS I guess :).

  2. John Edgeworth
    August 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm


    We have all been there. You will get home, the vehicle will get fixed, and NO one was hurt. I am started to look forward to your posting. I enjoy hearing from a writer I enjoy reading, He shows that he’s a human, not some super god who thinks he knows everything, and that we want to hear from him on everything. Thanks for talking to all, and responding when we write to ya, and best of all, thanks for the books!

    John E.

  1. March 27, 2015 at 9:31 am

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