The Yellow Beetle and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day*

My day started off beautifully last Thursday. My new glasses were finally ready.  I could now, read, write, sew, and drive again! It was a sunny day; I was wearing brightly colored gauze clothing. My leopard-print flip-flops showed off my bright red pedicure.

From the optical shop I was heading to a closing, and from there to collect some buyers, have lunch with them, and then show them pretty houses. Daisy, our little yellow Beetle had just been detailed and she was bright and shiny.

I made the left turn onto Cinco de Febrero from a side street; I was so happy to be driving and to be able to see again that I misjudged the turn and hit the divider and went up and over. Kaboom!  Down came Daisy. I could feel that the tire was flat. I limped her around the corner and parked.

While I was examining the flat tire and bent and gnarled rim, a kind man pulled up and handed me my hubcap. That was like a gift from the goddess. I had just replaced all four hubcaps. Each one had fallen off over a few weeks. I had waited six months for the VW dealer to finally get four. I asked him to help me with the tire; he said he had no time. I thanked him again for retrieving my hubcap and off he went.

I called the closing attorney and asked him to proceed without me. He said, “Just tell me where you are and I’ll send Jorge to get you.”  Easier said than done. THERE WERE ABOSOLUTELY NO STREET SIGNS TO BE SEEN. I asked a man walking by, he motioned that he did not know the street names. And he walked off. A few minutes later, he came back and said that I was on the corner of Independencia and Cuahtemoc.

Jorge found me in minutes. He set up the jack, pulled out the spare, and then hunted for the lug wrench, there was none! We had clients waiting to sign their closing documents, so we locked up the car, I patted Daisy’s rump and off we went.

We got to the notaria; I was hot, dusty, and thirsty. I asked for a glass of water and was told that this notario publico did not offer any services like that. I asked the receptionist for water. A few minutes later, Jorge, my savior came with a glass of water.

I texted my buyers to let them know I would be late. They answered that they would come and get me. I responded that it would not be long and I could get there in 30 minutes. Dream on. The signing went smoothly. That was the end of the good day.

The accident did not upset me so much as embarrass me. But it was the hours and hours of waiting that ruined my day. We had left the car in front of someone’s driveway. Jorge went to the door to let them know we would be moving the car as soon as the tire was changed. No one was home. The neighbor came out and said that the homeowners would not be back until four. But if they did by chance return, he would explain the situation and point out the ugly damaged wheel. We asked the helpful neighbor if he had a lug wrench, he said no, but there was a llantera (tire shop) around the corner. When we returned after the signing, we asked another neighbor if he had a lug wrench. He did, but it was for an American car and did not fit Daisy. We went to THREE llanteras before we found someone that would come to us in a timely manner and change the tire. While we were waiting, we saw a man washing a VW Jetta. We asked him if he had a lug wrench, he was not the car’s owner, but he went inside and asked and was given permission to lend it to us.  The wrench fit the lugs, but they were on so tight, that Jorge could not loosen them.

And then a hunched man with a leg brace came to offer help! I am not making this up. Jorge went back to llantera number three to check on their progress. He called me to say he was leading the tire truck to me. We agreed on a price, and Jorge was off. The tire was changed in record time. I paid the man, and hopped in the car. Daisy would not start!

The tire man helped me look for the invisible hood latch. By now I was tired, had not eaten, had to pee, and saw the time racing away. I finally found the hood latch. The New Beetles are wonderful cars. They are also completely computerized and we could not figure out where and how to attach jumper cables.

Thanking the goddess for the second time, this time for the magic of the iPhone. I was able to look up the VW dealer and click on their number and was connected at once. We called VW, they said, “NO! Do not attempt to jumpstart that car; it will destroy the computer!” Off went tire guy. I called the VW dealer back and asked for them to come and get the car.  They said they would send a tow truck.

“But you have to pay!”

“Of course I will pay, just send the truck.”

“OK, we will, but service closes from 1-3 so you need to talk to the sales department when you arrive with the tow truck.”

It was 12:30. By 1:30, no truck had come. I called the sales department of the VW dealer, after explaining what happened, where I was and that yes, I knew I had to pay. A tow truck was dispatched.

I arranged for a rental car, and the ever-generous editor of this paper came for me and also paid for the tow truck. I only had $200 pesos in my wallet. She took me to the VW dealer, dropped her kids at home, waited for my next call, and took me to Budget Rental Cars near the airport. It was well after 4:00 p.m. By this time I had eaten one piece of toast at home and two hairy cough drops I found in the car. No lunch, no coffee, no clients, and I still had to pee.

But here is how I overcame this Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

*In 1972, Judith Viorst, author and poet, wrote a wonderful children’s book called

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very Bad Day.

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