The password for the last month, but especially for the last forty-eight-ish hours, was car, of course. Naturally this was the case, what with the car accident a month ago Friday in Pittsburgh, the slew of telephone conversations with various persons in the insurance industry as a result of said accident, and the set of rented vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of driving since.
It is the past forty-eight-ish hours, as I mentioned, that really is of particular note, though. I’d been required by my own insurance company to surrender my rental vehicle, the car which so expertly carried my banged-up self back home with a snow advisory in every county between Pittsburgh and Chicago. It served me well, but off it went. So, I acquired another (details of no consquence).
Upon driving away in the newly rented vehicle, I noticed a burned-copy of a CD in the player, and pressed play. Imagine my shock/delight to find it was Chinese adult contemporary pop music! One track in particular is stuck nicely in my mind, with the catchy phrase “a peen-peen hey fonay” figuring prominently. Unless I learn otherwise, “a peen-peen hey fonay” is just going to have to mean something extremly auspicious. No really, the way things had been going for the last couple of months, I was ready for some auspiciousness around here, so I decided, just decided that the CD was going to have to serve as a favorable omen. Period. So, a peen-peen hey fonay to you.
Then, I became aware that my car, my car that was, apparently, not totaled out in the end, was repaired and would be, at long last, transported back to Chicago.
Also, yesterday, I ran a minor errand to a north suburb of Chicago. The errand, mind you, is of zero importance, but the details which are relevant are that I drove approximately 34.2 miles, and according to Google Maps, this should take all of forty-eight minutes (there’s that umber again). Noticing the snow storm moving into town, I completed my biznass in the area and headed out. Specifically, I hopped into the car and noticed the dashboard clock read 2:22pm.
The snow swirled in, in a giant white wall, and although it was rather interesting to watch, the highways were not getting plowed nearly fast enough, people were leaving work early, and things got rather interesting. I drove the most direct route possible from my errand to my apartment, and the 34.2 mile journey took exactly five hours and two minutes. Take a moment with that if you must.
The following italicized statements are a series of messages I posted to Twitter from my car, while stopped in traffic, and my own notes for a general timeline. Mind you, I accept that I do live in Chicago, and winter weather is serious busines here. I also know, however, that five hours in a car with a radio and CD of Chinese adult contemporary pop music is enough to get twitchy:
- 2:20pm: Call casually placed to MommasBoy, announcing ETA of, oh, and hour-ish due to the weather. No big whoop.
- 2:38pm: Secretly am hoping for a big dumping of snow tonight. I’d really like to stay in and work on stuff tomorrow.
- 2:44pm: Phone call from parents. CNN was watched, they’re calling to make sure I’m not out in the snow. Ha, I said ha.
- 2:59pm: I-94 north of Chicago is all crawl and slide, fyi.
- 3:00pm: I’m behind a snow plow…. Wish me luck.
- 3:05pm: Another call from parents. Encouraged to find hotel room for the night. Scoff, scoff, scoff. Am asked if I have blankets in car. “Not in a rental car,” I say.
- 3:200ish pm: Lincoln Towncar slides into guardrail from adjacent lane. Oops.
- 3:25pm: Call MommasBoy again. ETA no longer one hour. “Meh, soon I’m sure,” I say.
- 3:37pm: Made some headway behind the plow, then he exited. Dang.
- 3:38pm: Ok, other than the crappy driving conditons, the snow is quite pretty from what I can see.
- 3:39pm: Dear Hertz, change wiper blades once in a while!
- 3:39pm: Dang, in park on hwy.
- 3:40ish pm: Decide to listen to The CD. A peen-peen hey fonay. Okay, stuck on highway, but with a BlackBerry; reframe attitude and remain patient. A peen-peen hey fonay.
- 3:46pm:I may be stuck on the hwy, bu at least Def Leppard is on the radio…. oh, this is lame; I’m so bored, har.
- 3:48pm: Oh, local death metal hour on radio. What a delight…. sigh.
- 3:58pm: Ha, Pittsburgh shop just called. My car is en route to Chicago. Hope it arrives in one piece; weather is ass between here and there, I think.
- 4:14pm: I’ve been in the car TWO HOURS. Should be about a 30-min drive; I’m halfway. Buh.
- 4:37pm: I’m just calling ppl now. (You may have received a call from me during this time period. Forgive me for not leaving a voicemail. I knew rambling was likely and tried to avoid leaving any voicemails.)
- 4:39pm: Leave voicemail for my brother. It rambles.
- 4:41pm: I’m on the Edens [Expressway] and I want to punch myself in the face.
- 4:42pm: Now: Should I stay on the hwy or try some other routes?
- 4:51pm: I just heard it was over two hours from Skokie Blvd to the loop. O. M. G. I want a helicopter stat.
- 4:52pm: One more exit and I can find my way on back roads.
- 5:38pm: Oh for goodness sake, I’m still on the hwy. I’m getting the giggles.
- 5:45pm: Parents call again. Assure them I’m not about to stop and get a hotel room mere miles from my home. Parents google nearby hotels, realize there are none, and go back to the weather channel.
- 6:04pm: Someone call me and tell me a good joke. I’m getting punchy and will probably laugh at anything, lol.
- 6:05ish pm: Leah calls, we discuss outrageous travel times including the 4+ hours needed to get to O’Hare airport from the downtown loop, and, uh, my drive.
- 6:25pm: Call with Leah disconnected, no idea why.
- 6:28pm: I’ve started dancing in the driver’s seat to Cyndi Lauper on radio. Guys in next car thumbs-upping, lol.
- 6:30pm: Band of Hoses’ (sic) Funeral on 88.7 now. No more car dancing from last tweet; but a gorgeous song in any case.
- 6:32pm: Oops. Band of Horses, I meant in that last tweet. ha, not *hoses*. Way different band.
- 6:36pm: Call MommasBoy again. Discuss dinner possibilities so as to eat vicariously.
- 6:45pm: Girl in car next to me is sobbing.
- 6:47pm: Girl in car next to me realizes I am staring at her as she sobs. I try to recover by making the empathy face, which does nothing.
- 6:49pm: I got off the hwy; Lincoln and Peterson now. So close!
- 6:53pm: Text message a friend in NY and think for a moment I am going to wrong direction. I am not. Big relief. Windshield wipers frozen, lean out and wipe windshield with a glove.
- 6:55pm: Another call from parents. WGN.com, CLTV.com, The Weather Channel and Weather.com are all being accessed. Re-interrogated about whether or not I store blankets and food supplies in my car. Answer still no. Remind myself aloud on the phone that at least I don’t have to pee.
- 7:13ish pm: I really have to pee now.
- 7:19pm: Spot man outside my building scraping his car. I whip around, put on signal and wait to take his spot. Attempt to get off the phone with parents, not a possibility. Parents want to ensure I am parked and stopped and the adventure has come to an end. Fair enough.
- 7:21pm: Really have to pee. Watching driver leisurely scrap his car. Signal clicking. Really have to pee. Parents waiting on line. Oh holy buckets, I have to pee.
- 7:24pm: Parallel parking, parents on speakerphone. Oh holy buckets, I have to pee.
- 7:26pm: Parked at my building! Total time to drive 35 miles: 5 hrs, 2 min. Wow!
- 9:00pm: Warm, fed, sound asleep. Zzzz….
I’d like to think that the finding of the auspicious Chinese adult contemporary CD merely brought about a final burst of inconvenience in order to more immediately usher in an era of vehicular harmony. My car arrived late from Pittsburgh, and though I’ve yet to drive it over to my trusted mechanic to check everyone’s math, it looks to be in good condition once again. As the truck driver un-lashed the car from the truck, apparently a fuse blew on a trailer light of the truck. Torch, apparently, passed. A peen-peen hey fonay…?