In which Andromeda failed me

Sunday night, I had procrastinated long enough.

I had spent the day being industrious, immersed in story-planning and also weighing my options for housing in San Francisco in a year, which were painfully restricted for the sheer lack of monetary resources I have at my disposal. But it’s fine—stuff works out. And now I have a more concrete foundation with which to start planning, so things are generally looking up.

I thought it was high time I bought some mochi (doughy rice cake with red bean/taro paste in its center), and I figured I might as well refurnish the fridge with milk while I was at it. And I had a car, so I could just go and retrieve said comfort food to help me push through the remainder of my homework for the evening.

So I found my roommate and we mounted Andromeda, my little white 1999 Saturn, which I had completely paid for up front just three weeks ago. I don’t mind its quirks so much because it runs well enough. After overcoming its wayward glove compartment, which was refusing to close after I had opened it to retrieve something, I finally settled into the driver’s seat. I stuck the key in the ignition and turned it.


Confused, I paused, turned it back, then tried again.

Nothing responded. No clicking, no revving. Absolutely no response whatsoever.

“Are you serious?” I laughed sharply, trying it again with a greater amount of desperation.

Surprise gave way to anger. Seriously. I’ve only had this car for three weeks. I bought the thing with my own money. I had so much faith in that car. And I’m sorely awaiting my next paycheck. I’m saving up to travel—a trip I have been looking forward to for a good year and a half. How much money would I have to spend on this car? Would it jeopardize my finances for my trip to Costa Rica?

I called my friend with a car to see if she was available to jump it—which was a dumb idea, I realized, because I wouldn’t have wanted to drive it anywhere anyway—because it would likely leave me stranded wherever I took it.

As I tried to remember how to jump a car without getting electrocuted, I received a text from my dad to call home when I had time. I had texted him about the car.

I called and, as I explained the situation, assuring him I wasn’t stranded, I fought to keep my voice steady. I was so freaking angry. I wanted to demand an explanation from my silent little car. It just sat there, quiet, unresponsive, unapologetic. It should have looked downright penitent, but of course, it’s a car, so that wasn’t happening.

And it wasn’t really the car’s fault, I guess. I had just desperately hoped something like this wouldn’t take place. Because it was the last thing I could afford. An acutely disconcerting event I pray is not an indicator of its performance in the future when I can afford it even less.

My dad thought it was the battery, which I had been a little too flustered to even think about. I had just assumed my car had called it quits. He offered to bring me a new one next weekend, meaning I don’t have to pay for it, and I’ll learn a bit about cars for future reference—which kind of puts my mind at ease.

But still.

My friend offered to drive us to where we needed to go, but while we were at a gas station headed through town, her water pump started leaking a rather alarming amount, so we had to turn back (she has an old car too). So I gave up on excursions for the time being and made myself coffee, having received a whiplash reminder that unexpected things happen. Stupid, inconvenient, last-thing-you-can-tolerate-right-now things.

But alas. Life goes on. And it generally turns out all right in the end, wherever that may be.

I shouldn’t freak out so much.

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