You know how sometimes you think you had a really bad day only then you have another day that's like 12 times worse than that other day and you suddenly realize, that the day you thought was bad really wasn't bad at all and you'd be okay reliving that one over and over again for months on end if it would mean you could avoid having the really and truly bad day ever again. Yeah, well, that was my Tuesday.
In the middle of a hectic day at work, I came up with the bright idea of going home for lunch. Mostly I wanted to go get my cell phone that I'd left laying on my nightstand. I felt naked without it. Which isn't an uncommon feeling for me since I forget it at least a couple times a month. Except my husband's still out of town and unreachable most of the day. And I have small children. Children I fret will fall down a well and need me the moment I step away from my desk phone. So I decided I couldn't go on another moment without my cell phone.
Except it was raining. Really, really hard. I discovered this on the way to the door when a coworker made fun of me for not having an umbrella. She insisted on sending me out with her umbrella. Because it was a downpour and she's nice. And I was clearly pathetic and clueless.
Which could not have been more true because then I went and drove my little Honda Accord into two feet of water, the engine stalled and there I sat stranded. I was six blocks from work. On a street I've driven everyday for six years. On a street I've never seen fill with water like that in all those six years.
Once I finished cursing profusely, I turned to my purse to get my cell phone to call 911. Except, the whole point of my outing was to get my forgotten cell phone. So clearly I didn't have it. Except I'm sitting in water. So I went from just being the idiot that drove into 2 feet of water to being the stranded idiot that drove into 2 feet of water without a cell phone.
I couldn't tell how deep the water was but the mass hysteria taking place inside my head had me convinced the water was halfway up the car door. I figured the only thing worse that being the stranded idiot that drove into 2 feet of water without a cell phone would be compounding things by opening the car door and flooding the car's interior. So I started planning climbing out the car window. I had several concerns with that. First, my pants, shoes and socks would be ruined by the water and I was wearing brand new $80 leather cute but still comfortable work shoes. So I took the socks and shoes off and rolled up my pants legs. No really. I did. Then I put the socks in my coat pocket in case I decided to sit down on the curb to put them back on once I waded out of the river.
My second concern was, of course, that I'd look like an idiot. Which is insane. Because I just drove my car into water. Someone seeing me climb out my car window is the least of my "looking stupid" problems. But that didn't stop me from watching in my rear view mirror until there were no other cars around.
Once the coast was clear, I finally rolled the window down. But then I couldn't decide whether my head or feet should exit the window first. While trying to decide, I realized maybe I should just cram my head out the window and evaluate the depth of the water. Turns out, I could open the door the whole time. So I did. And then I took the loaned umbrella, my purse and my shoes and I began walking through 2 feet of water.
My pants legs fell down and I actually felt a pang of despair that they would now be soaked. Which is yet another example of the idiotic things that cause me stress. Because I had six blocks to walk in the driving rain. Keeping my pants dry was nothing but a pipe dream. By the time I got back to work, my underwear was soaked. And that's with an umbrella. My lovely leather shoes were soaked too. Because six blocks is a long way to walk barefoot. And the water was cold. And a 1/2 block in I'd lost my will to live let alone my will to protect leather from water.
Once I got back to work, I went directly to the ladies' room to wring my pants legs out over the toilet. No really. I took them off and wrung them out. But my socks were dry! Because I'd put them in my pocket! Except dry socks are of no use when your shoes are so water logged that every step you take squeezes water out of the sole! The shoes also made a lovely squishing sound when I walked. But really, who notices noises like that when you're busy staring at wet pants clinging to legs.
Once the pants were wrung out, I headed to my office to call someone to rescue me. Oh, wait. No cell phone. And no cell phone = no phone numbers. So I looked my brother's employer up on the internet to get a phone number. Then I asked for him. And then I restrained myself from shrieking into the phone at him. He gave me the cell phone numbers of several people and I wasted several minutes trying to get assorted relatives on the phone.
Then I gave up and called AAA and found out I had to be at my vehicle to get it towed. Which makes me want to yank someone's teeth out when I think about it. Because the vehicle was six blocks away in driving rain. Because why would I confess to a coworker this level of incompetence let alone ask them to drive me anywhere near a road hazard I was too stupid to avoid. But my car was sitting in the road. And my husband was unreachable. And I'm supposed to be a grown up. So in one of the most grown up moments of my life, I headed back out into the rain to meet that stupid tow truck. I mean, my shoes were already ruined by then. What the hell did another 6 blocks matter?
By the time I got back to my car though, it was already being hoisted onto a flat bed tow truck called in by the police car parked behind it with its emergency lights on. A cop got out of the police car to explain to me that my car was being impounded unless I paid the tow truck guy to take it somewhere else. I said I'd be happy to pay him. But, wait, the policeman's tow truck guy only takes cash. $125 cash. I told the cop I had checks and a credit card but no cash. Because it's 2008 and when was the last time you needed $125 cash on a moment's notice.
The cop and the tow truck guy did not appear to care when I told them I didn't have the money. Technically, the tow truck driver was so uninterested in me he didn't even look at me. The cop said I could go to an ATM. Except there were zero ATMs anywhere near the scene of this flood. He suggested maybe the tow truck driver would agree to stop at an ATM on the way to the car repair place. But the tow truck driver wasn't even interested in looking at me let alone doing me a favor. While the cop was verifying the tow truck driver's lack of interest in helping me, I started crying. Right there in the middle of the street. Standing under a borrowed umbrella that had broken by then. I was literally using one hand to hold the umbrella while the other hand held the umbrella open over my head.
Apparently there's something to be said for looking pathetic in the middle of the street because next thing I knew I was in the back of the cop car being driven to 7-11 to use an ATM. And so began the second leg of my journey. The highlights of that leg included my first ride in a police car and telling the guy at the car repair place the story of how "I drove into water because I am a great big loser." At first you think you'll sink to the floor in a puddle of profound shame telling someone you did something that dumb. But, really, after you tell the story a couple times, it's impressive how devoid of feeling the whole experience becomes. By the time you're on the phone with the insurance company, it's almost like it wasn't even you that did it.
I finally got a ride home from the repair place in a courtesy van. I apologized to the driver for getting his seat wet and ran in the house to weep pathetic "Dude, my life sucks" tears. Then I stripped off all my clothes and shoved them in the dryer. 20 minutes later I put them back on, grabbed the keys to my husband's car and headed back to work. I returned the borrowed umbrella with profuse thanks and went back to my office to finish working on the Incredible! motivational! project! that had to be done by Wednesday. And I did it without telling anyone what happened.
Partially because I didn't want the entire building to be talking about what an idiot I am. But mostly because I didn't think I could talk about it without crying. When your self control is hanging by a thread, sometimes it's best to just keep plowing ahead and pretend everything's fine. Until you talk to your husband later that evening. Because then it's best to weep uncontrollably and let him tell you it's just a car. A car that now needs a new engine for $3000. Which didn't surprise me at all. Because if you're going to have a bad day, I say do it all the way or not at all. And be glad you have insurance. I know I am. I'm also pretty glad it's not Tuesday anymore.