A tale of two cars (part 2)

By Mir
August 16, 2007

No, you didn’t miss anything. This is a two-part story (see? tale of TWO cars?), but I’m not ready to tell you part 1, just yet. Part 1 cannot be told without flames shooting out of my eyeballs and veins bulging in my neck. Part 1 is the story of why—nearly eight weeks after moving—I still do not have a car of my own. Part 1 should come first, I’ll grant you that, but, um, too bad.

This is part 2. This is about Otto’s car.

So I moved down here, carless, and Otto and I were drunk on love and possibly cheap beer, and we said that me not having a car would be NO PROBLEM for a little while, because Otto has a car! And Otto would not be going back to work until August (oh, hey, look—it’s August) and also, Otto had an extra car so we’d be perfectly fine. Hahahahahaha.

Otto’s real car is new(ish) and shiny and very reliable. The “extra car” is a 600-year-old Ford pick up truck that is standard issue here in the south for haulin’ yer junk to the landfill and picking up some-a dat pine straw at Lowe’s. The truck is old and ugly but it runs fine… or, rather, it did until I moved down here and we actually needed it.

As soon as I arrived, the truck died. (I’m trying not to take it personally.) Otto spent some time taking it apart and then he let some local grease monkeys do something to it and then he took it apart AGAIN and eventually it started running again. But the problem is that the truck, she is now finicky and delicate. She runs great, but only on alternate Tuesdays when Mercury is in retrograde. The rest of the time, she will run for short distances and then overheat. Which is really spectacular and high on my list of requirements when looking for a reliable vehicle.

Gentleman that he is, on the occasions when both Otto and I have had need of a vehicle, Otto has graciously taken the truck and said a prayer and so far we’ve been okay.

Yesterday we headed out to a small local restaurant for breakfast, and we took both the car and the truck, as Otto was going to head to his office afterwards and I was going to return home here to work. We were having a lovely time, as all the components for a perfect morning meal were present: No children, a cup of coffee as large as my head, fluffy buttermilk biscuits that melt in your mouth, bacon, and cheese grits so creamy I had to resist throwing my body at the plate so that I could roll around in them.

Otto and I were having adult conversation (well, okay; we were talking about how good the biscuits were) when the waitress came by our table.

“Hi,” she started, “do you happen to drive an orange snowmobile*?”

*Otto’s car is not an orange snowmobile, but for the purposes of this story and my desire not to have a reader pounce on one of us in town one day when they spot our car, let’s pretend that it is.

“Yes…?” we said, and I remembered how, when we’d arrived in the tiny parking lot, there’d been a gigantic delivery truck blocking most of the parking spaces. I’d had to park further off to the side than I’d planned, but I’d checked to make sure I was in a marked space. Had I parked illegally somehow?

“Okay, um, well, the owner of the restaurant just, um, hit it?” The waitress looked like she wanted to crawl underneath the table. Otto stared at her in disbelief. I turned and clawed at the blinds on the window we were sitting next to, and peered outside. From our vantage point, I couldn’t see any damage. “She, um, had to leave? But she hit it on her way out and she said to leave your information, she has insurance.”

Otto and I looked across the table at one another and experienced that sort of wordless communication that only couples deeply in love can manage, and in this case the message dually communicated was “OH. HELL. NO.”

“Go take a look,” I murmured to him, and he stood up and put his napkin on the table, and took a deep breath.

“Call her,” he said to the waitress. She looked confused. “CALL HER,” he repeated. “She needs to come back. Now.” He left to check out the car.

The waitress scurried away, returning after a moment to DROP OUR CHECK on the table. Which was extremely classy, don’t you think?

I caught up with Otto outside; in the absence of mastery of technical car terms, let me just say that part of the car was ALL SMASHED IN. Otto was, to his credit, remarkably calm. Or maybe he was in shock. We went back inside.

He had another discussion with the waitress about calling the owner, this time pointing out that “leave your information” is all good and well, but at this point what we have here is a hit-and-run, and the owner needs to return. They speak on the phone, she promises to be back in ten minutes.

We pay the bill. We go outside to wait.

Otto explains to me about how this kind of snowmobile is put together and how this is just about the most expensive body damage that can be done to it because this piece is part of the unibody and has to be cut off and welded back on and something something something. I nod a lot and pet his arm.

The owner returns in her hulking behemoth of an SUV (surprise!) and she is full of apologies. She is “so so so so” sorry, but the delivery truck was blocking her sight line and her sorority’s caterer hadn’t shown up so she had to run them over some food, and OH MY GOD SHE WOULD NOT SHUT UP with the excuses. I mean, lady, start with “so so so so” sorry and then STOP.

She and Otto start exchanging insurance information, she mentions that oh, she thinks she’s gonna get in trouble because her tags are expired. Well, no matter, her insurance is fine. When she heads back over to her car for something, Otto turns to me in disbelief.

“If her tags are expired, her insurance is automatically void.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, because I don’t know how it works in Georgia, and also, hello, I have never let my registration lapse.

“Yeah, I’m sure.” He shook his head, and she came back over and they resumed the copying of policy numbers and such.

“It’s just that, well, you know, the restaurant business, it’s hard to get started, and I only made about $6000 last year, and I’ve been having trouble paying my bills—” she yammered on, and I tried to muster some sympathy, but I noticed that on $6000 she’d managed a really large vehicle (complete with large blind spots, apparently) and also some pretty expensive shoes, and so my sympathy was short-lived.

“Well, I need to take this down to the police station,” Otto told her, and then? She started to cry.

It turns out that the restaurant owner hasn’t just let her registration lapse, she’s been driving on a suspended license! AWESOME!

“They’re going to arrest me, oh my God, I’m going to have to go to jail, and I just, it’s, I had no CHOICE, they didn’t have any FOOD at the sorority and I HAD to—” Yes, I have often felt that breaking the law was completely justified when it comes to busty college girls, myself.

Otto and I exchanged another look. I put my hands into my pockets, lest I accidentally slip and SLAP THIS WOMAN SILLY.

Then she commenced begging us not to report it and swearing that she’d take care of the repairs, honest. Except, OOPS, she’d already cried to us about how she can’t pay her bills, so that didn’t feel like a really safe bet, you know? Also, given that we are down to ONE RELIABLE CAR it just didn’t seem like a great time to start hedging bets on it. Otto apologized but stood firm that he wanted it reported, and she sniffled and said she understood.

Then Otto took the snowmobile and I took the truck and we parted ways.

Luckily for the restaurant owner, it turns out that in Georgia you have to call the police to the scene in order to file a police report. So it’s unlikely that she’ll be arrested. Luckily for Otto, her insurance is the same as ours AND they don’t seem to know or care about the expired tags problem, because they’re taking care of it. It’s a Hassle with a capital H but at least we’re not being stuck with the expense of a huge repair.

Please note for the record that she DID NOT COMP US OUR MEAL which was—to me—the icing on the crap cake. Not that I care about the $15 or whatever we spent, but it would’ve been a nice gesture, you know? (At one point she asked me if they had charged us and we said yes, and she said “Oh, they shouldn’t have done that” and then went back to crying over her sorority. Alrighty then.)

Please also note that the truck HAS NO AIR CONDITIONING. I had to take said truck to pick the kids up from school and while it is uncomfortably hot in there while you’re tooling down the road, at least you can get a breeze going. While waiting in the school pick-up line for 25 minutes (and not moving) it transforms into SATAN’S OVEN and by the time the kids got in, I was actually lightheaded. So that was special.

So in case you were wondering how my date went yesterday, there ya go.


  1. tammy

    Can I make the first bad car-ma joke? Please???

  2. StephLove

    Oh dear. So sorry.

  3. Megan

    Ooooh. That beats my story about how we went off the road in back-woods Alaska in the winter and met a pig*. Mostly because mine doesn’t have busty Georgia sorority girls in it and that always trumps.

    *note: pigs aren’t native to back-woods Alaska; apparently they live on porches.

  4. ChristieNY

    Oh Mir. Un-freakin-belieavable.

    On a side-note, I’m glad that the owner did tell someone (her waitress) and you were able to get her to come back and get insurance info and such. My Mom’s car was slammed in hit and run (with her in it) this past weekend. The offender actually pulled over after running the red light and slamming my Mom (sending her car spinning) and waited for my Mom to get out of her car and then took off. Klassy.

    So sorry for your ordeal – accidents SUCK. :(

  5. Jessica

    Wow. What an end to a romantic breakfast.
    Kudos to you for not loosing your cool and slapping her, I don’t think I would have been as strong.

  6. Manic Mommy

    Um, so what’s Part One??

    Now you’ve lost a good breakfast place too. Cuz it’s not like she’s gonna comp you your meals for the REST OF YOUR LIVES.

  7. BOSSY

    No comped meal? What is the world without bribery coming to?

  8. Beth Reid

    I hate to differ with Otto on anything car related (it seems so hubristic) but I don’t think having expired tags screws your insurance up generally and automatically, although a specific insurer may have rules about it.

    Unless there’s a special law in Georgia about this.

  9. Burgh Baby's Mom

    Oh, Mir, so sorry to hear that people in Georgia suck just as much as they do in other states. That woman? She gets a capital “S” on her Suck.

  10. becky

    What a maroon. at least the insurance is paying, but man, i hear you about the hassles. like you needed more, eh?

    hope it’s taken care of quickly.

  11. Nichole

    Oh my. I don’t think I’d be going back to that restaurant.

  12. Colleen

    I sometimes think to myself, “how come I can’t create a story about my day like Mir?” I realized today that it’s because I don’t have days like Mir, and today I am thankful.

    As far as the tags being expired, I live in Georgia and I don’t think the tags expiring is an issue. What they will do is if there is any question about the insurance being valid they’ll send you a nasty letter threatening to suspend the registration on the car for six months unless you pay a fine or prove you had insurance.

    Sorry about the lack of AC. Does that truck have a spotlight on the top? It totally sounds like my old truck. My first summer here that’s what I drove and I no AC at home either. Brutal.

  13. sherry

    Oh good LORD. Did she really think that you’d both just say “oh sure, no problem we won’t file this” for her?

    I’m just glad that it’s being taken care of.

  14. Aimee

    Mother. Of. GAWD.

    Are you freaking serious? Ai yi yi. I’m so glad that the poor starving SORORITY SISTERS took precedence over her smashing the crap out of your car. Because the plight of the sorority sisters is second to nothing, you know, in its pathos and tragedy.

  15. MaryP

    I predict yet another failure in the restaurant business within the next six months. How anyone that stupid thinks she could make a go of a business? Oh, yeah. Because she’s STUPID.

    Thank goodness for insurance.

    Not what you envisioned for your date, huh? (hugs)

  16. Zuska

    Oh, no!!! This is just so WRONG on so many levels. I’m glad the insurance company is taking care of it, though, but so sorry for all the inconvenience and headaches (not to mention the loss of a place to go for fluffy biscuits and cheese grits) you and Otto have to deal with.

  17. Bill

    Wow, and this was the car story that was easier to tell! I can’t wait to hear part 1.

  18. The Other Leanne

    Wow. Just wow.
    But “We pay the bill. We go outside to wait.” No, dear, the proper response is “thank you for breakfast, we’ll subtract it from the OWNER’S bill!” and leave a nice tip for the server. So so so sorry.
    Oh yeah, you won’t be havin’ breakfast at that place anymore, because it’s going under. She’s got grits-for-brains.

  19. Summer

    Mir, you shoulda slapped that woman and taken her expensive shoes. If they weren’t your size and/or style, you could have filled them full of cheese grits. The cheese grits you PAID FOR.

    Any chance of you getting a nice rental car with a frosty a/c system?

  20. Not The Mama

    Wow. Just wow. I have my share of bad traffic accident stories, but this takes the cake. I cannot believe that she expected you to take pity on her and not call the police when she had already told you she couldn’t afford to pay her bills. And comping the meal should have been the VERY FIRST THING she did.

    This woman obviously has no sense at all.

  21. Ben

    I bet next time you call the cops first ;)

    (around here, if it happens on private property, such as a parking lot, it’s a crap shoot whether they’ll even show up, they prefer we have it out with our six-shooters)

    Wow, and to think I made a comment without asking to hear more about the busty sorority girls. I’m so proud of myself ;)

  22. Kimmie

    How good was the food again?

  23. alektra

    I’m thinking if she was on an errand for the sorority, you could have pointed out that they could pay for the damage. After all, national sororities have craploads of insurance (I was in the Greek system in college, and I would have smacked one of my sisters silly for pulling a stunt like driving without a license.). I don’t know if they would have, but it would have gotten her to shut up about the sorority.

  24. Heidi

    Bad news, Mir – Mercury doesn’t go retrograde again until Oct. 11. (Being an astrologer makes me privvy to all kinds of strange facts.) The truck running only during Mercury retrograde? Very counter to the norm; generally that’s when you’re MORE likely to have problems with vehicles, as well as transportation on the whole. And communication. And computers. Thus ends our astrology lesson for this morning.

  25. Heidi

    And? With all this going on, you may need to say goodbye to “cheese grits so creamy I had to resist throwing my body at the plate so that I could roll around in them.” Dang.

  26. Sophie

    Aw come on, Mir! It’s a SORORITY! It’s ATHENS! Where are your priorities? You know I’m kidding. Actually, I feel sorry for her wretched self. I feel more sorry for you guys driving the Ford of Satan’s Oven.

    That was one of the funniest posts I’ve ever read. However,
    I wish some humdrum-ness for you guys. And seriously now, be careful with this heat.

  27. Cele

    I would think a life time of free creamy cheesy grits and fluffly buttermilk biscuits would be only fitting, for you not having ripped off her head and eating it for dessert.

  28. Susan

    I want to hurt that woman FOR you.

  29. Stephanie Chance

    I think I’ve seen that orange snowmobile. Next time I see it I will flag you down to say hello!

  30. Melisa

    So so so so sorry.
    The End

  31. LadyBug Crossing

    Ummm… Here’s a hug?

    Not much in the way of making it better, but…


  32. ScottsdaleGirl

    Ok yes the MAIN thing is that the woman who can’t afford to pay bills can afford to send free food to the sorority? Well I am assuming it was free…anyway…


    Watch yerself missy – heat stroke is no laughing matter. WATER BOTTLES ON YOUR PERSON AND THE KIDLETS ALL THE TIME!!

    Done yelling, (hugs)

  33. tuney

    You can’t get tags without insurance in GA, but your insurance contract isn’t with the state. Even though they like those premiums, IC’s will drop your butt in a heartbeat to avoid payment, and expired registration would be cause. The expired license certainly would be. So, SHHHHHHH. Sad thing about all of that is that the insurance commission is on the IC’s side, not the consumer’s. I am so sorry your Intro to GA 101 has been in the front parlor of Hades. It really does have some good points. I am at a loss to name them at the moment, but…

    OH! Peaches! Peanuts! Pecans! State Parks! There. See?

  34. Christina

    OMG! That’s insane, not even some free grits after that??? No wonder she only made $6000 last year! Hope everything goes better :)

  35. Nancy

    ooooh I feel your pain. Back in March a guy sideswiped my car (while we were both moving!) and did over $4,500 damage to my 1999 Camry. Hoping the insurance would call it a loss -no, they fixed it. Last week the engine siezed, and the car is totaled. Now I am out a $4,700 trade in value. I figure as I drove my new car off the lot and took the estimated $3,000 of the price they say a new car devalues after you buy it, that it was a $7,000 week. And I did not have my trip to Italy, Disney, or even a little side trip to Maine. I threatened my family with buying a horse. Oh well, if you can’t stand the heat (whoops, sorry from balmy New England).

  36. Hotfessional

    I have no words. I thought the time the COP hit my car in the parking lot of our apt. bldg. (Mr. Hot and I heard a crash while we were, um, y’know) and had to run out wearing a trench coat to see what happened was bad. Or, when the snowplow hit the same car so hard (with the plow) that it became part of the snowbank. But your story? Is worse.

    Just hope that Buffy and Muffy (who are probably anorexic anyway) enjoyed their meal.

  37. Crisanne

    That just totally sucks! I, too, am scared of the first story if this one was easier to tell.

  38. Sarah

    So sorry! Glad you’re both okay and weren’t in the car to get hurt! I never had much faith in sororities in general (stereotype, I know, but with reason, sadly), and this only helps confirm it all. Good luck with getting it all taken care of!

  39. Beth

    Oh, Mir!

    Hugs and good thoughts heading your way. What a day ;-(

  40. Angela

    I hate to see yesterday’s joyous date turn into the living hell that it did. I guess you’ll have “fond” memories of that little restaurant. Next time call the police..SERIOUSLY!

  41. Heather C.

    Holy freaking crap. That woman needs to go to the jail for the stupid.

  42. Jenni-nifr

    You should totally get a rental car at her (at least her insurance company’s) expense! TOTALLY! :) You are entitled to it, even if she doesn’t have rental reimbursement on her insurance. I’m trying to picture it…did she back into your car? How stupid do you have to be? I mean c’mon! it is always worth caling the police. I got rearended in my mom’s truck on July 3rd, at about 5:45 pm. I was less than a mile from my house and this guy was totally plastered and didn’t look up in time to see that traffic was stopped for a red-light. I told the police officer that something was wrong with him and I could smell alcohol from my car when he got out of his. Your girl is case-in-point that some people don’t have to be intoxicated to be stupid! The kicker is that 2 women showed up for my guy and their question to the police was “why did SHE HIT HIM?” Right – I BACKED INTO HIM – REPEATEDLY – in the middle of the road! Idiots!

  43. AmyM

    Well, to be completely honest, that just doesn’t sound like very much fun.

    I hit a car in a parking lot once… I mean twice. My (ex) boyfriend had a huge ’79 truck. It was a damn tank. Seriously. It got like 6 miles to the gallon. Also, had next to nothing for front brakes. (Front brakes are overrated, he said!) I slid (it was Northern Michigan! in December!) into a Blazer and took out the tail light. I um…maybe…was…uhhh trying to umm…hmmm…err… ya know… leave the scene. So of course I then slid head on collision style into a Chevy Lumina minivan, completely totaling it.
    The moral of the story: Do not leave the scene. Ever.

  44. Norma

    Car-ma! I get it. Hahahahah. Oh sorry, I hope your car is fixed very soon. Hahahahahha.

  45. Manic Mommy

    To make you feel better:

    I got T-boned while I was TEST DRIVING a car. We drove back to the dealer and I parked with the GOOD SIDE facing the showroom. The salesman came out to ask me if I’d be taking the car.

    Uh, no. I don’t think so.

  46. kate setzer kamphausen

    BUT you’re still pretty!!!

  47. InterstellarLass

    Why’d she bother with the free food? The Sisters are just going to turn around and purge it. Duh.

  48. Betsy

    So, Part One? Based on my own experience, let me guess…

    * you had to wait until one of those multi-car-towing transporters had a spot for your car, then…

    * once your car actually got transported (weeks and weeks later), there was an, um, accident. And something big and heavy (like, maybe, another car?) slipped and fell on top of your car, crushing the hood in a major way.

    Good news! Even though it wasn’t a car – oh, no, nuh-uh, no way was it a car – the stuff under the hood wasn’t damaged at all from the Big Heavy item that fell on it. But even though we fixed the body damage already, we have to have a guy check the entire car all over. Yeah, right. Check the whole car over first before we turn it back over to you. And that’ll take a few more days. Even though your car is Already Fixed. We’ll call you when it’s ready, ok?

    * When we finally deliver your car to your house, you’ll sign this form saying you sign off on any future damage claims, right? Because the guy who drove your car over has to leave with the form, and he has to leave Right Now. So don’t read it – just sign, please. You want a copy? Of the form? Um, we’ll mail it to you, k?

    (Thankfully, it was a corporate move and not paid for by Yours Truly; I sicced my new company’s HR department on them…)

  49. Wendy

    Oh, I hate women who rely on crying to get out of a situation. Suck it up and do the right thing, you goob.

    I am right there with you about the check. My husband would have went the extra mile and stayed there until she gave him his money back for the meal. Me, I would have slapped her.

  50. dorothy

    Do you think she was sent by that family that didn’t buy your old house?

  51. Lady M

    Breakfast wasn’t free? I know that’s a petty bit, but you’d think she could weigh the goodwill in her mind and decide that it would help the situation. Or not, I guess.

  52. Brigitte

    You poor thing! You NEED at least a few days without any kind of hoopla or disaster, much as it would leave you nothing to blog about (but hey, that’s the sacrifice that I’M willing to make, as one of your readers).

    Are you sure that god isn’t after you for something? ;-)

  53. Mimipz5wjj

    OMG! I feel for you! I’m speechless!

  54. MMM

    *totally speechless*

  55. Jenifer

    I think you make this stuff up!

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