9:30 at night. I pull out of the parking lot of my 2d job, finished for the day. After the mass exodus of everybody leaving, I pull on to the road. I notice my anti-freeze light is on. Oh shit. This has happened before - a leak in the hose. I pull up to a gas station and park. I call my Dad. "Run the car, see it if over heats." I do for 10 minutes. It stayed at normal operating temperature. "Well - just get back on the road." Thinking ahead, having a car break down on the freeway (hwy 169) with little shoulder on the side is a dangerous idea, which is my normal route. I drive on. I take a wrong turn and go the opposite direction. I thought of going back roads to get back on 169. Then a thought - you may call it intuition- crossed my mind at the exact moment to make a turn. (Why not take 494 (another freeway) home instead?" I did. Right then I noticed that was a much better idea, because that freeway has much more real estate to pull over on. I drove 1.5 miles, and suddenly, the tempature gauge goes to red. I pull over immediately. What now? I called my Dad. He's retired, and more than willing to help. I told him the situation. He said he'll be there when he can, he'd have a 42 mile drive.
I turn on my blinkers, and sit and wait. I try calling a friend who I thought was home to kill some time waiting for my Dad. No answer. Now what? I guess I wait. I thought to myself. "This sucks ass. Now we're gonna have to call a tow truck, which will at least be a bill, and go to a nearby garage, which will fuck us in the ass." Or so I thought. I stayed very calm. I've been through this before, and trust myself completely. I function better in situations that involve randomness, instinct, and split-second thinking. Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed this situation. For the past 2-3 years, my life has been route, safe, predictable. I've been like the living dead in that respect.
A cop pulls over and asks what's going on. I tell him the situation. "Call us if you need help." An hour passes, and I call my Dad. "Where are you?" I'm in Champlin, 20 miles away. "Ok, call me if you need direction on how to get here." I hang up. I brought a bottle of mexican coke to work that I didn't feel like drinking up until now- I didn't have the appetite for it. Now I do. So I sit there, wait, and drink it. It gives me the jitters.
A car pulls up to me. It could be dangerous to open the window or the door. I don't know who they are or what they want. But something tells me they will not be malicious, so I let my guard down. A young guy in his late 20s, early 30s approaches. "You need a ride, or some help?" "No, I say. I've called my old man and he's on the way to help." He leaves.
A 1/2 hour passes. My Dad calls. "Where are you? I ask." "Took a wrong turn, and I'm in bloomington". (He doesnt get to the city much, even though I used to have an apartment in the area). He was quite a few miles away. He said he'd turn around and try to find his way there. I hang up.
More time passes. Another cop pulls up to me, shines his bright lights at me. An Asian Cop approaches. "What seems to be the problem here? He asks. "My anti-freeze is leaking, and my engine overheat." He shines his mag light on the odometer. "Do you need some help." "No, I've got my Dad coming." He asked me where he was coming from. Ok, just call us if you need help. "911? I ask? Is that considered an emergency?" (I though you got in trouble if you called 911 for non-emergencies, I just wanted to double check.)
By this time, I had to piss really bad, my dad was close, but I wouldn't be able to get to a gas station to piss for awhile. What the fuck do I do? I talk to my Dad and said - Why not just go on the side of the road?" "Too risky. I told him. I risk indecent exposure." "Do you have an empty can or bottle." "Yea, I said - an empty coke bottle." "Just use that." Good idea, I thought. I got in the back seat, pissed in the bottle and dumped it on the side of the road.
Around 11:30, my Dad pulls up and finally finds me. I thought we'd have to mess around with towing, but he has a potentially cheap solution. He brought two gallons of water. "We'll just cool the engjne with water, and take it to mike (a family mechanic who does great work, gets us in fast, and is real cheap). Sounds good, I say. "Do you want to drive your car, or should I? My Dad asks. "I have a feeling you should drive it." After my dad fumbled with how to turn off the emergency lights, we continued onward. We drove about 17 miles and the engine overheated again. We stopped and waited for it to cool, pouring water into the tank. At this point we were out of water.
Continuing on, we talk on the phone. "It's gonna over heat again, and we'll need water. We don't have too many places to stop to get it that are open." "We won't make it home if we don't stop for more water" "The only place that's open is Walgreens. Let's stop there. So we go in there and stop. I've worked there, so I know the lay of the place. I take the empty jugs, and proceed straight to the sink at the photo center. The clerk (a black dude) up front is befuddled. "What are you doing? He asks. "My Anti-Free is leaking, and I need water to get home. He was visably taken aback at my brashness and street smarts. I look like some 9-5 middle mannered, stereotypical suburban office cubicle slave. I thank him and continue on my way.
We drive on our way without incident until we hit St. Francis. We turn the corner of the light, and someone's following us. It's a St. Francis op. He follows us all the way to our frontage road to our house. "Oh shit." I think to myself. I've had 2 tickets in the past 3 weeks, I don't need another one. He pulls my Dad over. I don't know why. I sit there behind him and the cop. We go home. It's 1:30am
"Dad, what did he pull you over for?" I ask. "I stopped over the line. I think he was thinking, 2 guys, driving home following each other at 1:30am on a Tues. night. They must've been drinking." "I just told him our situation, that I wasn't familiar with the cars controls." He let me off.
Call me crazy, but I liked this situation. It reminded me that I can think on my feet, and spontaneous adapt to things. Most people would be stressed out and complain, but I actually enjoyed it. I have a feeling more of this stuff will happen, but I'll be ready for it.
I know a lot of people would say "fuck calling your Dad, take care of it yourself." And I'll tell them to fuck off, swallow your pride, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It ate up a lot of our time, but it saved me hundreds of dollars of towing, and lost time at work.
*Disclaimer - parts may be embellished. Don't trust everything you read.