above/// That one time I locked my keys in the car at a gas station. They looked so lonely in there, alone and unattended.
How long have all y’all known me? Long enough to know “y’all” does not sound at all natural coming from my lips. In the last few months, we’ve been experiencing let’s say a trying time in our household.
Of our two cars, one new, one rather old, neither one has survived. They have both been through the ringer. One, through an unfortunate accident of nature involving a killer rock with some sort of vendetta and compelling backstory. The other, well, it’s an older vehicle. Time has taken its toll. Something about a death knell on the horizon or some such phrase that I imagine Hemingway constructed. (The door fell off. Sort of. I don’t want to talk about it.)
I have spent a lot of time in car shop waiting rooms mentally eulogizing our small fleet of cars (can it be a fleet with only two? probably not, but if we all agree the answer is yes I think I’ll officially be able to add “small fleet captain” to my business card and that’s something that should probably happen ASAP). I’ve perfected the art of saying, “But that won’t cost too much will it?” to sympathetic mechanics who graciously don’t snort with derision at my wide-eyed pleas.
While not in a waiting room, I’m driving around in the first of the two vehicles, Myrtle the white Prius.
On most days, a Prius is a very quiet vehicle. In fact that is historically one of the complaints with these sorts of cars. They are so quiet that pedestrians and bicyclists can’t hear them coming. A good characteristic in a hide-and-seek aficionado, not so much for a 3,000-pound hunk of mobile metal. But you’re welcome, pedestrians of Denver, because for a time you no longer had to fear when I hurtled down the road, unless somehow you still couldn’t hear my busted Prius because then you may just be legally deaf. I’m sorry you had to find out this way.
The mercenary rock mentioned above — encountered on a mountain highway a few months back and unavoidable to hit without causing even more serious damage to self, vehicle, or bystanders — took out a good-sized portion of our exhaust system. I’m going to estimate roughly half, because why not. Somehow, it was still drivable. A miracle really. A small grace in an otherwise ridiculous situation. But what young Myrtle wasn’t capable of doing was accelerating with any sort of efficiency. And poor Myrtle was no longer quiet. In fact, she sounded a little bit like Death itself attempting to play a Queen rock solo with a buzzsaw. So into the shop she went. Buh-bye, see ya’ later.
Two months and one week later, we finally got our little car up and running and back in pristine order. As bad as it was, and as bad as it sounded traveling around in her, patching up the exhaust system (and hole through the bottom of the car into our floorboards — let me tell you, I’ve lost more than a few brain cells as fumes leaked up through the rear seats) didn’t actually take all that long. What did take some time was fixing hail damage. Hail damage sustained over a year ago when I was caught on a major highway in Colorado as a tornado blew by. For once, I’m not even exaggerating. There really was a tornado.
A photo posted by Anya Semenoff (@anyaelise) on
I sat on that highway for a good 15 minutes waiting for visibility and hail to clear before all of us comrades-in-terror collectively started breathing again and plowed our way through the six inches of hail that had collected around our wheels. We hadn’t planned on getting the damage fixed initially. (1) It didn’t look that bad, (2) the car was still safe to drive, and (3) why go through the trouble of putting her in the shop if more severe weather might just be lurking around the corner?
But then the rock and the hole and the exhaust system — and the corresponding insurance claims — led us to the news that if the car was going into the shop anyway, we could also get that year-old hail damage fixed once and for all. So we did.
It took five weeks, a new hood, a couple of side panels, a windshield and a brand new roof (seriously, they cut away the old roof and welded a new one into place; I mean really), and finally, at long last, our Myrtle returned to us. The reunion was understated but touching. I began driving her with an evil eye ready to be deployed at anyone who looked like they might cause us yet another wreck. Seriously, at least one car’s length between us at all times, people! I’m not messing around here.
Yet, despite all my caution, I had this feeling. I knew, with more certainty than I have every known anything, that a storm was indeed waiting in the wings for us. This fresh new vehicle wouldn’t remain untarnished for long.
— Dan Petty (@danielpetty) June 5, 2015
Thank the high heavens this particular block was not our own…but we absolutely, definitively, and with no remorse from the weather gods got hit by another hail storm. And there was nothing we could do about it.
Our beautiful car was but six days out of the body shop before this monster of a storm hurled down.
above/// Here is Dan dodging the diminishing hail stones to see what our spunky new roof looks like after the most recent storm.
So what is the conclusion we can draw from all this, dear reader? Well, I am 94 percent sure we are cursed. Maybe someone out there has a voodoo doll Myrtle model and is wreaking all this havoc. Perhaps I unintentionally irked the wrong road warrior and they leveled ancient dishonors upon me, my family, and our little Prius. Did Dan or myself unwittingly break a side mirror, crunch a fender, or scratch up a side door and are thus the proud parents of seven years of bad luck? I can only hope none of the above are true, because while we haven’t matched the total worth of the car in payments to our mechanics (yet) we are getting close. And that is just the saddest news of all.
Wish us luck! We are now accepting donations of rabbit feet key chains, fuzzy dice, or any other token of good will.
We will probably need it.