August 09, Saturday – Speed Bumps

Interesting, tiring, and very challenging day today.
 
First, my art history teacher told me yesterday he was regretfully sinking my grade because of those things I mentioned.  Afterwards, I thought about how my plan for all good grades was ruined, and I felt quite discouraged, thinking I must finally accept mediocrity and make no more such plans for success.  I went and stared at my transcript for a while, thinking about how my mediocre back-up schools didn’t need BYU-level grades anyway.  I started paring down my schedule to the necessaries, thinking that I’d probably go to Idaho after all.  But the more I looked at it, the more I was convinced that I could complete my original schedule, since I was familiar with most of the classes.  I even added on a seventh class: the same art history again, just so I could win at it.  Yesterday left me in somewhat improved spirits than it found me.
 
Today, I drove to the MTC early because the new director had called my sister yesterday and left me an invitation to go.  I was taught by Elders Crowder (Jeng6) and Jackson (Jang1).  The second hour only had one pair, and strangely it turned out to be an elder and a sister, called "solo" missionaries.  All four of us volunteers got scheduled to the same room (my first two Cantonese classmates, me, and Julie Goodworth).  The elder and sister were Elder Cheng (Jeng6) and Sister Daniels (Ding1).  After the intermission, I and Sister Goodworth were going to stay and the other two leave, but a teacher pointed out the unallowed gender balance, so we switched.  I also met old Grace Yuen (Burby) from Ma On Shan there, new on the job.
 
As Sister Goodworth and I left, we were approached by two German missionaries going to Hamburg, Elders Wickes and Lawler, who shared us some preaching.  Then the girl went to her car and I went and waited at the crossing walk on my way to the opposite parking lot.  A guy on a small motorcycle (maybe a 125-cc) was coming north up the road.  I watched him make a very regular right turn onto the temple road when, quite unexpectedly, he lost control of the thing and slid right into a car that was stopped behind another car waiting to turn left.  I uttered an expression of surprise under my breath and dashed out into the road, which was clear.  The two drivers there beat me to the cyclist, who was already picking himself up.  He’d scraped his hand rather badly and his lower leg less so, but seemed fine otherwise.  His left blinker had shattered against the car or road or something, and the car had a very small dent in it.  There was nothing we could do for him except clean up the debris.  I went over to the northeast parking lot corner, then went back into the intersection at the next light to retrieve my pen that had bounced up out of my shirt pocket as I ran.  Then I headed back over to the southeast corner, where the cyclist kid had taken his bike, and asked him if he was sure he didn’t need a ride or something.  Some lady came up to him and was asking him if he was all right.  He told me he was fine, and that this was his mother.  She had parked her mini-van just up the road, by the garbage can.  Hm…  I excused myself went to throw away the debris of his shattered light that was still in my hand.  "He’s o.k.," I said to the guy’s sister who was peeking out of the front passenger door.
 
Ha ha…  At least some mothers still stop for their sons on the road…
 
I went and studied a little in the BYU library, and then headed back to Salt Lake — Inonge’s friend Jennifer (from Ghana) would be arriving at the airport at 12:45.  (Now, Inonge had returned from Idaho two weeks ago with Jennifer, and Jennifer was going to Ohio and needed to leave her car here, so I put it in our driveway.)  I made it almost back to Salt Lake, but just after 5300 South on I-15, my car started making noises.  I noticed that they happened when I pushed down the gas pedal.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to do — I should have stopped immediately — and the noises quickly got louder.  Before I could finish pulling over, the engine had made a final thud and then my car was off, right there on the freeway shoulder, maybe half a mile short of 4500 South.  I braked to a stop, then popped the hood and got out, noticing the trail of oil behind and beneath my car.
 
Using the phone my mom had given me for my Chinese delivery last spring, I called Shanna to get my mom’s and Shane’s numbers, then called Shane.  He wasn’t far away; he arrived in about ten or fifteen minutes.  I also called Inonge to have her tell Jennifer I couldn’t pick her up.  Shane called a tow guy he knew, and about an hour later, that guy arrived.  Meanwhile, I had called my mom and found out that they’d driven right past me some minutes ago and wondered if that was my car, and if that guy lifting up the hood was me.  Dave said to have the car towed to our house so he could look at it.  As the tow guy loaded up my car, he suggested that he take it to his place and run some oil through it to see if it was beyond repair.  I thought it couldn’t hurt (wrong about that), and Shane seemed to think it was a good idea.  The tow guy drove off and we followed him to his yard.  My poor car propped up on that truck bed looked exactly like a dying or dead elderly person strapped to a gurney and loaded into an amulance…
 
We went and sat at the tow yard awhile, taking the opportunity to unload most of what was in my car.  Jennifer rang me.  She’d taken a taxi from the airport and was now stuck somewhere…  Shane and I went home and I called her again to get her location.  I was exhausted and took a while to eat, then I drove her car to go get her.
 
We met, and I chauffeured her around a bit looking for a place to stay.  My mom called me at one point, reporting that she and Dave had dropped by the tow yard.  She started asking me if I was aware of a big scratch across the side of my car, and a dent…  I wasn’t sure what she was talking about…
 
Jennifer and I had no luck finding an apartment.  I’d hoped to leave her car with her and bus home, but now I was tired and decided to just bring her back to our house.  Back while she was stranded and unsure if I would be able to come, she had asked another friend from Provo to come meet her, and just then he arrived.  We met up and exchanged the passenger, then I drove her car back home.
 
I stopped at the tow yard to examine the scratch my mom had been asking about…  It was more of a big gash running all up and down the driver’s side of my poor dead car.  The brutes had sideswiped me…  Well, it was still functional, anyway — or it would’ve been if the engine wasn’t blown.  I wandered home in Jennifer’s car…
 
I and Dave talked about finding a replacement, and I looked at some local used cars online…  He said he’d try to call on some used imported engines on Monday.  I considered a motorcycle again, and again was reminded about winter roads.  I went and discussed it with my mom.  Shane came down and asked me if I hated him for his agreeing to leave the car with those people; he asked if I wanted him to get mad at the tow guy.
 
My parents were going out to dinner, and I accompanied them.  At that Mexican place, I finally decided that I wouldn’t replace or repair the car at all, and would just do without.  I’d been puzzling the whole afternoon about how I was going to have to give up or alter my schedule for this fall… but at last, I decided I would just drop my afternoon hours at work (which I will resume in another week; I’m skipping the first two weeks because of overlap with my BYU class), since I’d fit that shift very tightly between two fall-semester classes, and without a car I wasn’t going to be able to make it; and in the morning, I’d have to go by bus.  I figured I would lose about a thousand dollars on the decision… but I would save the roughly 1500-3000 on a new used car… at least for now.
 
Well, if my work can’t accommodate that change, then I’ll just not work for this semester.  My only expenses are my car, anyway.  …Were my car.  And saving for a trip next summer.  And investing for the future.  And the usual donations.
 
Just now, Shane came and told me the tow man had delivered my car as agreed upon.  Shane gave me some crazy story the tow guy had told him about the tow truck starting to roll and narrowly missing him.  I was no longer bothered, as I’d already decided to junk the poor, desecrated, cadaverized vehicle.
 
Besides and because all that, I couldn’t finish any of my pressing assignments today.
 
…Anyway…  I’ll try to adjust.  I guess it was the hand of God…
 
-Steve
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