Setbacks

It’s Wednesday afternoon. I’m toting my stack of Southbridge Journals to be delivered and hurrying to the back dock at Meadowood to be shuttled back to my car. The sunlight is bright after sitting in the marketing office for most of the day. I hop into the shuttle in as ladylike of a fashion as I can while wearing a skirt and desperately trying not to crush the Journals, I ride back to my car, hurriedly toss my stuff in and drive to Dexter Estate Landscapes, eager to not be late for my appointment to show them the photographs I’ve taken over the previous two weeks.

I arrive right on time, load my photos on a USB drive to give to them, and agree on taking other photos at another time. I get ready to leave, and head out to my car.

Now’s probably a good time to mention that even though I’ve had my Beetle for six months, I’ve had embarrassingly difficult times trying to start it. It has (or at least I had thought) a fussy steering wheel lock, so that sometimes it took some coaxing to get the wheel to the position that it would eventually decide to let the key turn.

So when I hopped into my car that day, I figured it was just my inept ability to judge where the wheel should be. Normally, the key would at least budge. This time, it was stuck tight.

After trying for about ten minutes and nearly bursting into tears in frustration, I collected myself and went in to get Lindsay, thinking she might be more adept at starting a car than I was. After a couple of tries on her end, however, I was starting to realize it wasn’t just me.

I called Josh to come down to St. Helena so at the very least I wouldn’t be alone, and he could try it before I called my AAA roadside assistance through my warranty. I set up camp with my lone key and the sleeping bag over the bumper so I wouldn’t get my skirt dirty, and set in to wait. Of course, this had to happen when St. Helena’s traffic is reminiscent of Los Angeles traffic, except there’s only two lanes and arguably better views along the way. It took him nearly a half an hour to get to me and we took another trying to get the car started. Finally, I knew I had to call AAA.

After attempting to be patient and telling the operator with roadside assistance that no, I didn’t need my car to be towed, just a “mechanical adjustment”, he quoted me an hour wait. We decided to walk to nearby Azteca to grab drinks when a tow truck (albeit, a smaller one than the last one I had to call over a year go) rolled up.

The moment the tow truck driver tried the ignition, he exclaimed “Oh my God,” and started trying all the other tricks we’d been receiving with no luck. He went back to his truck and retrieved a socket, and tapped on the end of the key with it, finally getting the car to start. I happily signed the paperwork for my warranty, and with sunburned feet and disheveled appearance, I was finally able to deliver the Southbridge Journals and head back up to Angwin. The driver had said that the steering wheel may not lock up on me ever again, but that I should probably get it looked at.

Well. It did.

Thursday evening as I was leaving to drive home, it happened again. Not willing to call roadside assistance to get it home to Stockton when I wasn’t even sure I could get it started to get to the dealership in the morning, I agreed to stay another night in Angwin and drive it directly to Volkswagen the next day. At 8:00 a.m., Josh rather proudly managed to get the car running. We hurriedly tossed my stuff into the trunk and I made a run for home, thoughtfully passing up my usual stop at Starbucks or McDonald’s in favor of making it to Volkswagen by 10:30 a.m., my set appointment.

As I drove up to Volkswagen, I spotted my dad’s Toyota Tacoma parked in the front of the dealership. I pulled my Beetle around to the service drive-up and my dad walked around to grab the first service guy he could find. I warned him not to cut the engine after explaining the problem.

Of course the first thing he did was shut it off. After trying the ignition again, he also let out an exclamation of disbelief and tried some of the same steering wheel tricks. He gave me the bad news: that he thought the wheel lock and tumbler needed to be replaced, and that it was going to take a while.

To make a long story short, I went into a brief panic mode, thinking of how I was starting my new job on Monday. We talked with Volkswagen, talked with Enterprise, talked with Volkswagen again, and I came out with (so far) 7 days of rental car coverage until my car’s part comes in. (Let’s just say I was surprised and proud of my mom when at Enterprise she firmly told them that six months is NOT a long time to own a car and have two things go wrong that make the car undrivable, and at Volkswagen how she told them how Honda’s treated us well over the years and hopefully Volkswagen does the same. Mom, you’re amazing. I hope you know that.) I’m driving around a Toyota Yaris. It’s nice, but the lack of that one cylinder compared to my Beetle is making me glad for my car, when I get it back.

Now I’m back in Angwin, and whenever my car’s part gets to Stockton, I’ll be getting my car back. It’s been a hassle, and somewhat turned me into a panicky stress box for most of the past weekend. However, I know it’ll turn out all right. I’m glad I’m not going to be knocked down before I start. And I’m happy to say the first day of work went well, all things considered. There are always things to be thankful for in life, and how this is working out so far is one of them.

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