I'm buying a new car! Well, it's not exactly new, but it feels new to me. My old car, Jeremy, has served me well for the past five years. We've been through a lot together. He was a junky little thing that my dad fixed up for his teenage drivers but became my very own. Because Jeremy often had trouble starting, I would lift the hood and hammer the starter. You can imagine the looks I got in parking lots across Utah County. Sometimes people would offer help to the 5' 2" girl under the hood and sometimes they'd just stare. Oddly enough, as my pregnant belly grew I got more stares than offers, but it was okay because I didn't need help. I was one of the few non-mechanic people that could find the starter tucked underneath the engine deep in the belly of the car.
Jeremy was the reason I got a cell phone. I started attending BYU in January of 2008 which happened to be a very snowy month. I registered my car with the school but didn't receive my parking sticker in the mail by the time school began. So, I had to park by the stadium and walk almost two miles to my first class on the opposite side of campus. . . in the snow. . . uphill. . . both ways. . . barefooted! Okay, I had shoes, but they had holes in them and had to be removed as soon as I got to class so my socks could dry a little.
Wednesday night I had a class that ended at about 9:00 PM (Psychology, as I recall) and hiking down to my car was long and creepy. Campus was almost deserted and the street leading down to the stadium was dark as the trees lining the sidewalks blocked out the glow of the street lamps. My socks were soaked through and the nightly desert temperature drop was turning my toes blue. The stadium lot was vast and empty. My car was buried in nearly a foot and a half of snow. I brushed off the door with my naked fingers only to find it frozen shut. I leaned up against the seams hoping my body heat would melt the ice, which it did. I slithered into the drivers seat and stuck the key in the ignition to start warming up the car while I brushed down the windows. The silence pierced my soul. I think silence is what fear sounds like. Jeremy was dead. And I didn't have a cell phone.
I began to panic. Who would find me in the middle of a dark parking lot buried in snow at 9:30 at night? I imagined sleeping in my car but feared my parents would call the police when I wouldn't come home. I walked over to the dark Language Center and prayed a door would be unlocked. When I found one the tense muscles running down my back relaxed slightly. The lights were off in most of the building and I walked up two flights of stairs before finding one man who had stayed late in his office. At first I asked if I could use his phone, but when he found out my car was dead he offered me a jump and thankfully, he had cables ('cause I sure didn't).
After the jump I headed home with a heart full of thankfulness. While I sat at a stoplight still four miles from my house I sang along with the radio loudly. "I'm not going to write you a love song, 'cause you asked for it, 'cause you need one. . ." (You sang that in your head, didn't you?) And as I unassumingly belted, my car lurched forward suddenly and I felt myself jerk against my seat belt. I looked in my review mirror only to see black, the headlights of the car behind me crunched up in my bumper. After a split moment of body-numbing shock, I snapped back into reality. What do I do? All of those grueling months of Drivers Ed taught me that I should pull over so we could exchange information, make sure no one was hurt, and possibly file a police report. The stop light turned green, I slowly pulled over to the side of the road, and the van that hit me punched the gas and sped away into the snowy night. And I, stupid me, with my jaw on the floor watched them drive away.
My arms shook as I turned into the mall parking lot. Drivers Ed didn't not teach me what to do if I ever had a nearly dead battery and got hit and abandoned four miles from home with no cell phone in the middle of a snow storm. So I took some deep breaths, cried, and turned back onto State Street. When I pulled up in front of my house I walked around to inspect my bumper. Indented in the plastic was the license plate number of the hit-and-run van outlined in snow-melting salt. Genius.
So, I got a cell phone, thanks to Jeremy.