24 June 2010

May 2010 iv | Hulk Smash ii

I have no idea what they did while waiting for the CHP, but I took pictures Two officers showed up and took our statements separately. Sometime while Jesse was being debriefed, I realized I would not be taking the lead on handling this. Jesse was the driver. I was just there - at best a biased witness. That was odd. Usually, the more complex the process, the less involvement Jesse prefers. This was going to be an ordeal and he had no choice but to take the lead.

The officer told Jesse he should have had a California license 20 months prior. Jesse still uses his North Dakota ID, nearly five years after moving to Nevada and then California. I think it's some kind of insurance policy. He can leave me and seamlessly reestablish his residence in the Peace Garden State. In Nevada, switching licenses was as easy as walking into the DMV and taking a picture. In California testing is required. I've done both and lived to tell the tale. I suppose Jesse is waiting for living in California to feel right. I digress.

An officer stopped traffic and Jesse drove Henry to the other side of the street. My poor little car was limping and scrapping. There was no way we were going to be driving home, the jaunt across the street was rough. I started cleaning out the car. He was going to have to go to a shop and it occurred to me I might not ever get him back. I took documents and CDs and realized I didn't have enough bag to carry everything. I called Roadside Assistance, which sent a tow truck. We swapped officers and Jesse told his tale again. The two officers compared notes, then left. The other driver & her husband drove away. Our tow truck driver came quickly and we all headed to the Hyundai-recommended dealership.

Comparing notes.

Assessing something.

Also assessing.

Our driver confirmed my good feelings - saying there are usually a lot of fatalities on that road. He then detailed a few of the recent, bloody deaths. He also recommended places to eat. I don't know how we made that conversation shift, but we did. And it didn't seem awkward.

View from the back seat.

The service department at the Hyundai-recommended dealership was closed. The tow truck driver released Henry and went on his way. My mood shifted. We were in a small town on a Sunday afternoon. I called every car rental agency within a three mile radius. The were all closed. We were stuck. The system that had been working so well, failed. We had insurance. We had roadside assistance. We got a tow truck quickly and I knew I was covered for a rental. But there was no way to get that rental. I played everything over in my head. We had done everything right and yet we were stuck in an empty service department miles from home, in a city where we don't have friends we can disturb on a Sunday afternoon to drive up to wine country and get us. It's a drawback of moving so often; we're always alone. I was at a loss. And I firmly believe God sent us a solution.

"Do you guys need a ride?"

Her name was Erica. She was the manager of the closed service department and she just happened to have stopped by work on a Sunday afternoon. She lived one exit from the Santa Rosa Airport, which houses car rental agencies. She waited for me to verify there were available cars there and she drove us to the airport. We made small talk and I just wanted to hug her. She really saved us. We thanked her profusely and I started thinking of things to send her. Nothing came to mind. What do you give in that instance? Are there etiquette rules for kind strangers who make life easier? If there are, let me know.

We rented a car. It started raining. We (who had planned some sort of a nice lunch) stopped at Carl's Jr. for greasy comfort food and a milkshake. We updated the parents and assessed our situation. It was somewhere around 2:30. We still had shopping to do.