Car Trouble

Last week on a routine commute around the city, I stopped for gas. When the time came to start the car again, the dashboard lights wouldn’t come on and the engine wouldn’t turn over. My power locks didn’t even work!

You know, I could have just popped the hood and cleaned the battery contact points so my electrical system could come back to life. But no, I had the car pushed into a parking space, and twiddled my thumbs while waiting for my dad to come to my rescue.

Seems to me I might just have a tough time of it traveling by myself out of town. I mean, this happened to me only within Metro Manila. What if this had happened in Pampanga? OK I was able to drive there last month and nothing happened. But still!!!

So while I was waiting for my dad, I decided to relive the times my family and I had car trouble. (I was bored.) I remembered two instances:

There was this one time we went up to Baguio to meet up with some of my aunts and uncles and their families. We made a pitstop at the Riverview Restaurant (it’s the one near the junction leading onto Marcos Highway) for lunch, and then it was supposed to be a quick ride up the mountains. Unfortunately, the car wouldn’t start and we ended up pushing it to get the engine to turn over. Picture this: three women throwing their weight against the rear of a car while my dad was in the driver’s seat. What made us even more self-conscious about it was that all eyes from the restaurant were on us (and none of the waiters helped push). We made it up the mountain, yes, but that was about it for the car.  We had to hitch rides with our aunts and uncles during our stay, and then our trip down from Baguio had to be taken excruciatingly slowly so the car could make it home in one piece.

Sometimes, car trouble comes in the form of vehicular collisions, like what happened recently during my Holy Week trip. Coincidentally — or not? — this happened in Baguio too. My friend was parking our van in front of Cafe by the Ruins, in a space just vacated by a jeepney. Suddenly, the jeepney started backing up on us; because we hadn’t completely slid into the parking slot, the jeepney’s rear fender crumpled our front bumper. The driver hadn’t even been looking, and he was moving in reverse on a one-way street because he wanted to enter another street (what an idiot!). The worst part is that it wasn’t our van; we’d borrowed it from another friend (who thankfully was on the trip with us). So the traffic police came by, booked the jeepney driver, and we had to call the owner so he could go to the police station and file a report for insurance’s sake.

My dad finally arrived at the gas station and helped me get my car restarted, which put an end to my reminiscing. But I realized, I am such a damsel in distres when it comes to traveling! Hopefully I have more street smarts than I give myself credit for — but I’d rather my street smarts not be called upon at all on my next trip. 

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