Sometimes God knows what I need better than I know myself. I don’t know why this surprises me. You would think I would be used to this by now. But it still does. Case in point: Yesterday was a truly awful day that became a truly spectacular day, because God knew what I really, truly needed.
The awful part of the day actually started last Monday, when my car broke down on my way to work, and I got stranded by the side of the highway for two and a half hours. It was bad. I was fairly terrified, so scared that for a little while I couldn’t calm down enough to pray my rosary (that’s pretty scared). Thankfully, I have a family who loves me, and a boss who cares about me and is willing to be understanding even when I’m ridiculously late. First Rosie woke up to take my call at 7:20 in the morning, then Mariah was able to loan a gas can before she had even gotten her shower, then AP, in a stunning display of awesomeness, came out to where I was, bringing two gallons of gas (at first I thought/hoped I had just run out of gas), called AAA when the gas did not help at all, sat with me the hour and a half it took for AAA to come, and then drove me to work. My coworkers got me home from work, and my parents lent me the Jesus van to drive until my car would be fixed. It was a beautiful demonstration of how much I am loved.
Also, while I was waiting for the tow truck, the button holding my skirt closed broke in half (let’s just say I kept my sweater tugged well down the rest of the day), and when I finally got to work and went down to grab something to eat in the cafeteria (since of course I hadn’t eaten before I left my house), they were no longer serving breakfast. It was a really, really bad morning.
The mechanics where my car was towed are very good, and have kept my family’s cars running for a couple of decades now. However, this means they are also very busy. They told me that they probably would not be able to look at my car until Friday, so all week I drove the Jesus van back and forth to work, enjoying the little extras my car doesn’t have, like AC, cruise control, and a working radio. I prayed really, really hard that the problem with my car would be a small one, easily and cheaply fixed, and tried to think of ways that I would be able to squeeze the repair money out of my budget, already badly strained by paying the medical bills from my little hospital adventure back in February.
Thursday afternoon the mechanics left a message for me to call them, but by the time I got it, they had closed for the day. So Friday morning, as soon as they were open, I called. And it was bad news. My little car was beyond repair. The small oil leak it’s had for some time had burst wide open, the engine had essentially pumped all of the oil out, and the only way to fix things would be to replace the engine. Which isn’t practical for a car like that, and I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it even if it was.
This was a massive blow to me. I love that little car. Beyond the fact that it used to belong to Jacob, it’s exactly the kind of car I like – small, highly maneuverable, and gets over 30 miles per gallon. It’s perfect for me. And now it’s gone, and I need a new car. I have no money for a new car. I just don’t. Pretty much every penny I make goes straight back out to pay bills, make payments on student loans, and now paying off my medical bills. There is no extra in my budget at all. I think the only unnecessary thing I have left is the $8 I pay for my Netflix subscription, and I’m strongly considering cancelling even that in favor of only using the library. Plus, because I wasn’t able to pay on my student loans for a couple of years, my credit rating is pretty bad, so I’m not likely to be able to get a car loan. It was all crushingly horrible, that kind of situation where you feel utterly trapped, and there is no help for it anywhere.
So that’s where I was most of the day Friday. I really hate self-pity, but sometimes you have to let yourself feel it so that it doesn’t creep up on you later. So I decided that I would give myself 24 hours to wallow in it, and then I would be done. Unfortunately, I had told my news to Maaji, who decided that it was her job to Encourage me and spent the day saying things like, “Everything is going to be ok.” and “God will show you His plan” and “You just have to have faith in God.” All of which is true, but really, really wasn’t helpful, especially since I wasn’t about to explain to her exactly how dire the situation really was. Plus, there’s a sort of social contract that says that when someone tries to comfort you, you must at least make a show of being comforted, or else the person will keep doing it. So every time she came around I had to paste a smile on my face and say, “Yes, of course.” and “Yes, I know you’re right.” while resisting the urge to tell her to shut the expletive up and leave me alone, then go hide in a dark corner and cry and never come out again. Which is not a helpful impulse when you’re at work, and it’s your job to be nice to people.
Anyway, I got through the day, and finally got home without any major meltdowns. Now the plan for the evening was that a bunch of us were going to meet down at the Dayton Celtic Festival, where Flo’s favorite band in the world, Scythian, was performing. She knows a lot of the guys in the band from some sort of Steubenville connection, and goes to see them every year. I had promised faithfully that I would go, but I was strongly tempted to back out. I didn’t feel like I would be good company, and I didn’t want to talk about my bad situation and have to either deal with people trying to cheer me up, or bring the rest of the group down. But I had promised, plus Pippi was back in town for the weekend, and had also promised to be there. So in the end I bit the bullet, dressed up in my new Hummingbird top, and headed downtown.
This is when things began to turn awesome. First, I decided not to tell anyone my news. If they asked, I would say, but otherwise I was going to just enjoy myself. Second, there was alcohol. I’m not much of a drinker, but I decided that after the week I’d had, I was entitled to a beer. Maybe two. So I met up with Flo and her brother, The Girl Next Door, and another young lady I hadn’t met before. We picked up food and drink, and headed over to see Gaelic Storm. Which was awesome.
We sang along, and danced, and hollered back at the appropriate times. I was starting to feel pretty good.
And then I bought a crossbow. This is when the evening went from pretty good to really, really good. They were selling them at one of the booths on the street for $10, and at first I thought it would be a great Christmas present for maybe AP, or Johnnycakes, or perhaps Boy-O. In the meantime, I would play with it, and well, it was a crossbow. And it was so much fun. So, armed with a crossbow, and working on my second beer, we headed back to see Scythian. And the night tipped over from really good to truly amazing.
First I got to meet one of the guys in the band when Flo stopped to say hi before the show. He took an interest in my crossbow, and started to tell me that I was armed and dangerous. “No,” I corrected him, “Armed and tipsy.” Then we found our places for the show, front and center, about eight feet from the stage, and the fun began. I gotta tell you, it’s quite a thing to dance and jump and clap and make noises and link arms with your neighbor to do Russian kicks, and scream your head off, and then to do all that with a crossbow slung across your chest while in the middle of a crowd. I wrapped my hoodie around it so I would (hopefully) not scratch people. It added an extra level of difficulty and ridiculousness to the proceedings, which for me adds up to even more fun. I had a complete and utter blast.
After the show, all of us got in line with Flo to say hi to the band. Flo caught up with them, and I had them all sign my crossbow. I figured after having brought it safely through the show, it deserved some sort of recognition. They seemed to enjoy this immensely – they told me that this was the first crossbow they’d ever signed, and had fun examining the mechanism. One of the guys and I did a little target shooting. The guy I’d talked to before the show (Josef) remembered me, and all of us took a big group photo.
Then I went home, tired, leg muscles sore from jumping and dancing, and very happy. It was exactly what I needed.
And now, um, if anyone knows of any good reliable cars available for excessively cheap (less than $5000, drastically less if possible), could you please let me know?