Hey guys, gotta warn ya, this is a bit long, but I think it's an interesting story... just something that happened to me a few nights ago.
"But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door"
-The Proclaimers, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
Down the road that I must travel
Through the darkness of the night
Where I'm going will you follow
On a highway in the light"
-Mister Mr, "Kyrie"
Go ahead, ask me how my night was last Thursday. Go on, I dare ya.
Well, since you asked...
Okay, so, my step dad went over to Rural King and exchanged the battery in my car with a new one (we'd bought the thing less than a year ago, back in November after I hit that deer http://www.badmovies.org/forum/index.php/topic,122047.0.html
, so it was still under warranty.) Jim brings it over, put it in my car and says, "Okay, Mike, that should take care of the problem, but just in case, you might not want to wait till the last night to test the car out before you go to work tonight."
So I think, "Hey, that's good idea, I'll try and test it tomorrow afternoon/morning or something..."
Wake up the next day, go down to my car around 9 am, drive it around for a bit, get some gas, everything seems to be running just fine. Yay! My car runs okay! Problem solved.
I go out in the evening to get to work around 10:40pm, and guess what? My car's dead. Since no one I knew at the apartment complex seemed to be up, I called my step dad. He came over and gave me a jump, and we figured it'd be enough to get me to work (always has been before) and then we'd figure out what to do in the morning. Worse comes worse, I thought I might have to get another jump from someone in the morning to get home.
I hop in the car and start driving. As I get down the interstate I've noticed that the dashboard lights seem slightly dimmer than normal, but I dismiss this, thinking maybe it's just my eyes acting up. (Sometimes my vision gets a bit more blurry than usual and whatnot, my glasses are pretty much as strong as they can give me, so I can't really do s**t about it.)
I'll pause for some side details: from where I live to where I work, it's about a twenty minute drive. Roughly between here and there is a town called Johnson City. I just got about a mile past it when suddenly, my headlights turn off, my "battery", "check engine" lights come on, and everything starts to slowly dim.
"No, no, no, NO!!" I yelled.
I began turning off unnecessary electronics, like the heat, the radio, etc. My car begins to slow down, while the lights on my dash are now barely visible. Only reason I'm still moving is my forward momentum, which is being rapidly diminished as the wheels roll over the payment. For a split second, I stupidly think to turn on my emergency lights as cars began to pass me by, only to remember a split second later that they, like all the other lights, probably won't work.
I pressed down hard on the horn to try and signal the other drivers I needed help, but only silence greeted me.
"The hell?!" I thought, "The horn runs on the battery too?"
Can't say I knew that. I mean, that makes sense, I guess, but I suppose I just figured... I don't know.
Anyway, I pull the car to the side of the road and it finally rolls to a stop.
Resignedly, I turned off the ignition, and, just for giggles, tried to start the car again, but, of course, no luck.
BTW, did I ever mention I DON'T own a cell phone? Yeah, so, basically, I'm stuck.
It's a bit cool outside, around mid fifties or so, luckily my tolerance to cold is far higher than my tolerance to heat (one of the few advantages to being heavy.) I paused to consider my options, sit here and wait, or head out on foot. Leaving all my stuff behind, I got out of the car, locked the door (God only knows WHY, although come to think of it, I have a pretty nice CD player...) and began to walk down the road.
Cars were passing me by, and I held out my thumb to them. I'd been in this situation before (again, see the deer entry) so I didn't count anyone picking me up (hell, I wouldn't have picked me up, it's was about 11pm on a Friday night, middle of the interstate, and I'm a tall, intimidating looking fellow) but I figured I wouldn't have to walk too far before someone driving by would call the highway patrol, and I get a ride in a nice warm squad car.
What happened next, you might ask?
Well, let me put it this way... if you were driving north on interstate 57 last Friday near Marion, IL I'd to talk to you and kindly ask, "Why the HELL didn't you call the highway patrol??!?" You see a guy standing on the interstate in the middle of nowhere and you think what, he's just a hillbilly out for a jog or something? God forbid I'd been hurt or something. And I want to give a special "f**k YOU"
to the a***oles who drove by and HONKED THEIR HORN as they passed me. Real cute, guys.
Anyway, after about the first mile or so, I had a brilliant idea: I should have taken the FLASHLIGHT in the glove box of my car with me. Might have made walking a bit easier, and I could use it to wave at the cars (granted, I'm pretty sure they saw me anyway, but still.) Course, by the time I had this gem of a thought, the car was already a good distance behind me. (Not sure how much, as I also forget to bring my pedometer.)
Amazingly, for the first hour or so, I wasn't as sore or tired as I thought I'd be. Even though I don't go around walking too much (especially not for mile long distances), I had been doing a little bit of time here and there on the elliptical at work, maybe that was building up the muscles a bit. Though I did stop to rest for awhile on a guard rail or two and, when no rail was available, I'd bent over slightly, putting my hands on my knees. I didn't want to sit down, fearing I wouldn't want to get back up.
I had a crazy idea (well, several of them) as I began walking. At first I thought, "You know this isn't too bad, it's kind of nice to be out here in the open air." Even though I was only wearing two SHORT sleeved shirts (lost my jacket awhile back, haven't had a chance to buy a new one) I wasn't too cold. In fact, I felt a bit warm and sweaty after awhile.
As more and more cars passed me right by, I began to get a little hoarse swearing loudly at them, and the sky in general and the whole "fresh air" thing was starting to get old. If there was ever a time in my life I wanted to "fast forward" this was it.
Speaking of cars, the weird thing about weekends, the cars always seemed to travel in spats. Nothing for a few seconds, then several cars at once, then nothing, a few more, nothing. Not to mention the trucks, I don't think I ever saw a solitary truck, they were always in groups of twos and threes.
As I continued to recreate the more boring parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I began to wonder what my co-worker was doing right now. I'd called her around 10:45 to let her know I'd be late and was going to get my battery jumped. Then I thought, "Wait, didn't I leave my parents number in the employee phone list at work as well as my own? Hey, maybe she called my parents, worried about me, and when they find out I didn't make it to work, they get worried and drive the highway looking for me..." Course, turns out, while I DID put my parents number down in case I was over at their house and the hotel needed to get a hold me, it was NOT written in the current edition list. (Plus, I don't know if she would have thought of that anyway, last I checked she had my number in her cell phone and probably didn't look in the book when she needed to call me.)
Noticing all the weird bits of litter strewn at various points along the road, I thought, "Maybe I should start throwing ROCKS at the cars as they go by. I'm sure someone will call the police then." The rock thought reminded me of this t-shirt that came out several months (years?) back that stirred up some controversy. I don't know who made it, but it was marketed towards young girls and it had a drawing on it and the text read something like, "Boys are icky, throw rocks at them!" (Funny, I have to admit, but you damn well, you'd never get away with that shirt if you reversed the genders.)
As much as I was tempted, I dismissed the tossing stones idea because knowing my luck, I toss a missile at some psycho and he'd stop the car and figure, "Hey, no one will find his body! HAHA!"
Speaking of which, the wind begin to pick up a bit around mile three or so, making it slightly chilly. Alongside the interstate were several trees and bushes, I could hear their leaves flutter. At one point I turned and looked to the side as a car passed and, for the briefest second, one of the waving bushes along the road looked like a person. This triggered the memories of all the crazy horror films I'd ever seen in my life, and I realized nobody knew my location and that I was alone in the middle of the freaking night, walking down a lonely highway.
I especially kept thinking about this scene in one of the old Friday the 13th movies (I think it was the third one, but I'm not sure) where this obese girl is sitting by the side of the road trying to hitch a ride when she gets stabbed by an unseen killer. (Jason didn't show himself a lot in the earlier films.) She was holding a banana right before it happens, and scene ends with the camera showing a close up of her hand convulsively squeezing the fruit.
After a bit MORE walking these thoughts gave way to thoughts of just throwing myself IN FRONT of a damn car so I didn't have to walk anymore. I was tried, angry, my legs were starting to kill me, and I just wanted this (hell, life in general) to be over at this point.
In a weird sense of Deja Vu, I came across the SAME "upcoming buildings" sign THREE times, making me wonder if I had somehow stumbled open a some kind of infinite highway loop. I mean, seriously, why do you need the SAME damn sign THREE times in less than two (maybe three) miles?
Along with the rocks idea, the thought crossed my mind that I should start mooning the cars as they passed in an attempt to get someone to call the highway patrol a little quicker. I began to even contemplate lying down on the the highway so someone driving by might think I was dead. Course, I wasn't sure I wanted to do that, as good only knows what was lying on the roadside I could really see.
FINALLY, like a beacon on sunshine in a cave, I saw a car drive by with spot light on top of it. The light flashed over me as it drove by and I thought, "YESSS! A police officer! YES!" And then I start down on a guard rail and just waited. In a few more minutes, he came pulling up (guess it took him a bit to find a U turn spot.)
I gratefully climbed into the officer's car and he was nice enough to drop me off at work.
By the time I walked in, it was around 1:20 am. I'd say my car broke down around 10 after eleven. I'm sure you can do the math.
My co-worker seemed relieved to see me, and not just in a "Yay, I finally get to go home" sort of way. She even was nice enough to stop by McDonald's for me and pick up some stuff to eat.