Today I lived through two fillings at the dentist’s office, a few phone calls for a story and two meticulous pages of events listings with one goal in mind: Getting home in time to watch a new episode of “Crime Scene Investigation.”
Because of a writer’s strike in Hollywood, I’ve been watching CSI reruns since the end of November. The strike finally ended a month or so ago, and the writers have been hard at work creating exciting new storylines for the bug-loving investigator Gil Grissom and his loyal team.
The chips were waiting for me at home. My biggest decision was where to stop and pick up some dinner, since I hadn’t even had any lunch (dentist’s fault).
“Should I get a sandwich at Subway or do I want something hot to eat?” I wondered, cruising down the right lane of Route 8 with more than an hour to spare before the show.
All of a sudden, I hear a strange noise next to me, sort of like gravel bouncing against metal. I hear a slight “thud” and see a graying van swerve into my lane right in front of me. I look to my left and see that my driver’s side mirror is now just hanging on by a thread, dangling against the side of my door.
It took me a couple of seconds to realize that the swerving van now speeding off had scraped up against my car and hit me, almost forcing me over onto the shoulder. I quickly sped up to follow him.
The van moved over to the left lane, but when he realized I was following, moved over two lanes to get off the next exit. I got off the exit too, and I saw the van in the distance speed through an intersection and nearly crash into oncoming traffic. When I reached the four-way intersection, the van was nowhere in sight.
For a second, I thought of launching a search. Then I turned right and pulled over outside a gray two-story home and called 911.
While waiting for the state police to come and take my statement, I got out and checked for paint streaks on my car. There were some streaks of a lighter undetermined color on my broken mirror, but no scratches anywhere else.
A very nice police officer arrived and we chatted for a bit about what happened. He said he would go look for the van in the area, and he would call me if anything came up. Then we realized steam was coming from my engine.
“Eh… I should probably check that, right?” I said.
“Pop the hood and I’ll check it for you,” he said.
I few seconds went by, then he asked me to step outside.
“Take a look at this,” he said, pointing with his flashlight to green liquid spewing out into my engine, slightly to the right of my driver’s side headlight. “You’re radiator is leaking.”
His recommendation: If you’re going to drive, don’t go far and don’t go fast. Consider getting your car towed.
Since I was only about 10 minutes away from my house, I decided the best – and cheapest – thing to do would be to try to make it as close to home as possible. By this time, there was no chance I would make it home for "CSI." I gave my car a half hour to cool down after the trooper left, then filled up my coolant.
I keep extra coolant in my car since it has been leaking coolant for some time – so little I hadn’t had time to worry about it. I guess someone wanted to tell me now is the time to get my car checked out.
I drove all the way to my local service place with my heat blasting, just to buy myself some more time. I’ve read that’s what you’re supposed to do if your car is about to overheat. Not sure if it applied in my situation, but it got me there.
Since Albie was still at work, I walked the 40 minutes it took to get home. I guess that was my punishment for not going to the gym this week. My friend Andrea kept me company on the phone, worried about my latest adventure.
I got home 20 minutes after “CSI” ended. Instead of watching TV, I got to analyze my finances to figure out how and when I will afford a new radiator, and possibly a new side view mirror.