THE BLOG

What I Call A Very Bad Idea

Once a month at White Sands, I need to move my car out of the garage so the floors can be cleaned. This time, as I drive my car back to its regular parking spot, I notice I have a flat tire. I contact my insurance company for roadside assistance; they send a tow truck. After the driver looks at my car, he says he can replace the tire with the spare, but warns me that I should only drive it for a short distance, ideally directly to my automotive repair shop.

By now it is getting too late to get the tire replaced before my appointment for new hearing aids, so I make arrangements for the car to be dropped off at the repair shop. Then I call my favorite limo service, A Best, in order to arrive for my appointment on time.

After being fitted with the latest state-of-the art hearing aids, I call for an Uber and stand on the street waving with my smartphone at all the cars passing by. According to the small map in my smartphone the driver will arrive in three minutes. I can see the car making a wrong turn on the app; now it's seven minutes, then eight. I get frustrated; it's cold. And then, lo and behold, a car stops in front of me. I ask if it's Uber; as the driver says yes I climb in.

As we are driving, he says he will take route 5; I say no. I know how to get to my home and will direct him. We drive down Torrey Pines Road, where he seems puzzled and asks me for the address; I give it to him. He seems upset and asks me my name. Oh dear! He picked up the wrong person and wants to take me back to the audiologist's parking lot. Now it is my turn to get upset. I say we are almost there and insist he take me home. Ok, he says, but asks me how I will pay. He has someone else's name assigned to his fare. Giving him my name won't work, so he says, "Cash." I agree and finally get home.

Upon arriving home I find my assistant left a message that she had to take the dog to the vet and won't be coming in. This means that the pile of paperwork will continue to accumulate on my desk another day.

White Sands is under construction. It will be beautiful once it's done. However, in the meantime, there is plastic covering my furniture, holes in my walls, and noisy banging and drilling just outside in the hallway. I can barely carry on a conversation over my phone without interruption.

The auto repair shop calls and says my other front tire has a hole and should be replaced; I agree. A few minutes later, they call to tell me my rear tires are really worn and should also be replaced; okay. Then I get another phone call; my brake lining is really thin. I should get new brakes; it's too dangerous to drive otherwise. I am almost 90, what do I know?! Is all this really necessary? I trust the need for the repairs and okay the installation of new brakes. A while later, the shop calls yet again to tell me my car is back at the White Sands parking lot. I meet with the two repairmen, sign the paperwork, get into my car, drive a few yards, and the car dies. Luckily, the men are still there. They try starting it up; the battery is dead. So they take my car back to their garage. It won't be until the next morning that I see my car again with four new tires, new brakes, and a recharged battery. After all of this, I'm not even sure how much longer I will continue driving.

I am exhausted, grumbling complaints to my friends about my difficult day, when I stop and remind myself: I am lucky to own a car even with all its aging problems. I am lucky to be able to afford four new tires and brakes. I am lucky I have an apartment with a comfortable bed and a crew working to improve my living space. I am lucky to have a wonderful assistant who will come to work the next day. I am lucky I can call a transportation company to get a ride wherever I need to go. I am lucky to be able to hear better. I can think of a lot of people living in dire conditions who would gladly trade me for my so-called "bad day" as it would have been their best day.