WHEN: 9:15 pm EST on January the 26th, 2013
WHERE: Number 1
FORMAT: DVD on Teletraan 1
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: This week I have just survived the worst fucking road trip of my life. I am still exhausted from it.
REACTIONS OF NOTE:
- I really needed this.
- I just find it fucking awesome.
- I will admit that I am a giant fan (but not a fanboy) of this movie.
- I needed this.
So this is a story all about how I had a horrible trip driving from Maine to North Carolina for a wedding. In West Philadelphia I hit a surprisingly light bit of traffic, though. So that part was not too bad. First off, though, the back story that goes with all of this: My Lady had a wedding to go to in North Carolina and was returning from the west coast so that she could attend. I had the brilliant idea, since I was her plus one, that I would pick her up from Cape Cod and we would have a merry little drive down together. I was so very, very wrong.
Things started to go bad when I got us turned around in New York. I don’t care to drive through the city proper and was trying to get us across the Tappan Zee Bridge. I have driven to Tennessee and know that this is the smoothest way to transition through New York, and you can’t avoid driving through New York. Canada is not an option. The only problem with that strategy was that I ended up getting us lost. Not very lost, just turned around… for about half an hour. It is okay though, we had plenty of time to get from Cape Cod to North Carolina. We had left at five in the morning. I then proceeded to get us lost in New Jersey when I set the GPS to the “avoid tolls” option. That was a great hour of driving through residential neighborhoods. Ugh.
We then were able to drive through Philadelphia and DC without any incident. Yet there had been a small ticking sound that was coming from the alternator. For those of you that do not know the complex voodoo that is the inner workings of a car, the alternator is what runs all of your electronic bits. Yes, the battery is used to start your car initially, but if you were to run your spark plugs and lights on your battery alone you would only be able to drive fifty or so miles. The alternator is a very important part of your car. That is what I learned from this whole trip. I learned this while at rest stop in Fredericksburg, Virginia. You see, we stopped because when you are driving and forcing yourself to choke down Mountain Dew (I don’t like the taste personally), it causes you to have to pee. A lot. When you get out of your car you have to turn it off. If you’ve heard a ticking sound from the alternator starting around New York that probably means that your battery as only been charging intermittently. And this all means that if you french fry when you need to pizza, you are going to have a bad time.
I ended up calling AAA and they sent someone out to test my battery. It turns out that my battery was fine. I was right about the ticking sound that was coming from the alternator, though that did not seem to be the immediate problem either. The problem turned out to be the starter. It had hit a dead zone. The nice man from Michigan that had settled in Virgina and was working for AAA couldn’t seem to bang it out and called us a tow truck to the nearest mechanic. Yes, banging on a starter does work to get the car started. If you do it right, you feel like Han Solo in Empire.
The other acceptable person to feel like is Arthur Fonzarelli.
We had already been waiting an hour for the battery tester guy to show up and were told we were going to have to wait another hour for the tow truck. At this point it was 7 pm and our window to make our hotel that night was rapidly closing. We were still some distance away. Luckily, we had set out the day before the wedding. It was not for another 24 hours. By a miracle and some woven together tapestries of swear words, I managed to start the car. Fuck you, dead spot on the starter. Now the battery light was on and looking rather angry, so we headed to that mechanic place since they were already expecting us and it was not that far away.
It turns out that mysterious ticking noise that was coming from the alternator was very, very bad. Apparently, in a Volkswagen Jetta, a ticking sound from your alternator means it is tearing its insides apart. The biggest and most stereotypical looking of the mechanics brought it out to us and shook it. The bearings that were on the inside rattled around and some fell out. So my alternator was tearing its joints out internally and still managed to keep my battery fully charged. Way to go, Volkswagen. The good news was they had a replacement part for my car in stock. The bad news was it was going to cost over $500. They brought that fact to my attention like I was going to drive away in a car with no alternator. I have no idea why.
As they were installing the replacement part they “noticed” something. I say noticed in quotes since I think they messed up and were looking for a scapegoat. They brought the replacement part to me and My Lady saying that they had bad news. A plastic bit on the alternator was smashed. This guarded a plug and blah blah it was broken… blah. They did not have another part in stock. I was told that it “must have not been packaged properly” even though I saw one of the dudes carrying it one-handed like a waiter would a full serving tray. I think they dropped it, but at the time we did not have the luxury of being able to argue about that fact. It was almost 8pm on a Saturday in Virgina. We were scrambling to try and find a rental car place so that we could continue on. They told us that another alternator was going to be delivered on the “looper truck” first thing next morning. First thing is 10am.
Every place we called for a car was closed and not many were going to open on the morrow. Sunday is a churchgoing day after all, so we resigned ourselves to stay at a hotel and try our luck in the morning. My Lady’s father was able to find a place and reserve a car for us online. Some heathenish rental car place was going to come through for us. In the morning we took a cab there and it was looking like everything was going to be okay. It was 8:30 in the morning and we would have plenty of time to see everyone and relax for a while before having to get ready. That is until the rental place denied all of our cards. Every single piece of plastic that the two of us had was denied. No reason was given. All our cards had worked up till that point (and they all worked afterward). At this point I could only laugh. This was straight out of National Lampoon’s. Our only option was to take a cab back to the mechanic’s place and wait until my car was fixed.
We waited, and waited, and waited some more. The “looper” truck was coming from Maryland. This would normally not be a big deal, but this was the Sunday before THE FUCKING INAUGURATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Security is going to bend you over and make sweet, sweet love to any traveling plans you thought about making down I-95. The truck happened to get there right when we had finally gotten a hold of a rental place that was more than twenty miles away. I made the judgment call to go ahead and wait for the part to be installed since it was there. My Lady then proceeded to make Jason the attendant very nervous. She can be very intimidating when she wants to be. The part was installed, we paid a very nervous Jason and were on our way. We did make it to the wedding and with some time to spare. This was thanks to my driving and Virgina’s 70 mph speed limits. I then proceeded to get drunk, medium style, off white wine.
The stress of all that followed us back to Cape Cod and then on to Maine. Every odd noise, or bump the wrong way could be a potential catastrophe that will fuck up the trip even more. Nothing happened though. We arrived back without incident, but the stress still loomed over me. I know what you are saying to yourself at this very moment. “Fun story Ty, but what the fuck does this have to do with ghosts, or the busting thereof?”
I will tell you (and, yes, I know this is from the second movie).
Well, I was still stressed after making it back. I could not seem to unwind at all. The activity that finally allowed me to relax was watching Ghostbusters. This movie that has been a part of my life and will be the focus of it for the next year helped me de-stress. It washed away all of then residual shit I was feeling. I was able to lose myself in the movie. Truman would not have done that. At this point last year, when I was watching The Truman Show, I was not having fun any more. It was the start of the downward hate-spiral for that movie. I have not yet hit the wall on disliking Ghostbusters, yet. I do not dread watching it this week, or next week. I am not even counting down the weeks until I can stop watching it (I was with Truman). I am just enjoying it. Ghostbusters does not feel like it will ever get tiresome, boring, or overdone. I would not say the same about Truman. Honestly, if I had to watch Truman after going through a five-day stretch of stress and traveling, I might just not watch it. I would be out of Cinema 52. Ghostbusters is different. Good or bad, it just fits. It fits me, I fit it, however you want to look at it. I can see myself doing this for the rest of the year. That is something that I am very happy about.