I am currently on Cherie Priest‘s couch. My car is at a garage. Eric O. drove me down the hill from Leslie’s and we tried jumpstarting the car, though I was fairly sure that it wasn’t a battery issue, just to make sure we’d tried everything.
It wasn’t the battery.
After we returned to Leslie’s I began trying to find a shop that was a) open and b) would work on a Mercedes this old. I had the car towed to a shop and the Leslie dropped me off at Cherie’s to hang out. The plan was that if the car is ready this evening, I’d ask Cherie to drop me off at the garage. If they couldn’t get to it until Monday, I’d ask her to drop me at the train station at 5pm. If it would be ready tomorrow, I’d ask if I could stay over.
I’m staying over.
The verdict with the car is that the diesel gelled during the snowpocalypse and that water got into the tank and things froze. Tomorrow they’ll make it drivable, largely by heating the thing up.
While I miss Rob, there are many worse ways to await car repairs than spending the day hanging out with Cherie.
So I’ve gotten to explore a lot of Seattle with Cherie today. We went to lunch at Bad Albert’s and afterwards stopped at Fremont Coffee to get some writing done. While there I called the mechanic to see how things were going. He cheerfully said that they had gotten the car to start and that they should be calling me shortly once they were sure it was okay and roadworthy.
An hour later, I called back to see how things were going.
They couldn’t get it to start again. He thought there was air in the line and they were trying to figure out how it got in there. Later he called to say that it turned out that it had bad O-rings and that was the problem. An additional problem was that it was now after 5pm and all the parts stores were closed.
So, they’ll pick up new O-rings on Monday and hopefully the car will be ready to go. I opened up the Amtrak site to book tickets home and they were sold out for today. So I called Rob to let him know that I’d be home tomorrow and updated Twitter.
Cherie and I headed to Barnes and Noble to sign stock. On the way there, I got a call from my friend I– from high school, who lives in Portland now. She said, “Are you still stuck in Seattle?”
“Yeah. It’s getting comic.”
“Well, we’re in Renton having dinner with friends and are heading home tonight. Do you want a ride?”
So! Twitter and Facebook to the rescue; I am going home tonight.
In our last episode, Mary was reunited with a high school friend who offered her a ride back home. Shortly after joining forces with Irene and Edwin, our intrepid heroine was in the back of a comfortable auto heading to Portland. As they motored along, traffic slowed because of an accident to the side of the road.
A warning buzzer went off on the dashboard, cutting through their conversation. The left front tire was flat. Edwin pulled safely off the interstate and into the parking lot of a gas station. There, our travelers learned that not it was not merely the left front tire, but both left tires had fallen victim to debris from the accident.
At this point, via Twitter, Rose Fox noted that Mary seemed to have accidentally cast in an adventure film or buddy picture. The buddy picture seemed more likely because Irene and Mary have known each other since seventh grade. However, the picture came with an amusing twist. Mary and Irene wearing both in trousers, while Irene’s husband sported a utilikilt and long hair.
Putting in a call to AAA, the threesome passed their time in a local bar awaiting a tow truck. This allowed them to do the requisite bonding over drinks. A musical montage ensued.
The tow truck arrived in record time. Sadly, it could only accommodate two passengers so the company parted ways. Mary chose to stay in a nearby hotel and take the train back in the morning while Irene and her romantic lead returned to Portland.
Unbeknowst to them until after they departed Mary’s company, the car’s odometer read 6660. Further complicating matters, Amtrak’s booking system was down for maintenance because, as a friend noted, it makes sense to take your website offline during a major holiday weekend.
Will Mary get home? Stay tuned for more exciting adventures!
(I completely wish I were joking about any of this. But it is pretty darn amusing at this point.)
I’ve called a cab which is picking me up at 7am to take me to Amtrak for the 8:13 train. The other trains were sold out until the last one at 7:00pm. I am getting to the station absurdly early, but at this point feel that I should build in crazy amounts of extra time for things to go wrong. In theory. I will get to Portland around 11:00 and take the bus home.
I heard from Irene and Edwin, who made it home safely. Apparently it was an annoying trip because the car alarm kept going off, despite being disabled.
Naturally, I will keep you posted on how the rest of the day goes.
The cab picked me up this morning with no problems. I hopped in and the driver said, “Are you paying with cash?
I said, “No… I asked on the phone and she said I could use a credit card.”
“Well you can, but not for trips under $20.” He looked aggrieved. “Sorry. The dispatcher should have told you. We’ve had problems with her.”
“Then we’ll have to find an ATM because I have $1.”
He clearly felt bad and offered to make an exception, but at this point, I just wanted it to be over and took the path of least resistance. We stopped at an ATM — he turned off the meter while I got cash — and continued to the train station.
I walked up to the front door and there were people standing outside. Smokers, I thought. Only none of them were smoking. They were standing outside because the station wasn’t open yet. I only had to wait a few minutes but my brain did go, “Really? Hasn’t there been enough at this point?”
While I was in the station, a young man approached me and asked if he could plug his mp3 player into my computer to charge it. Sure! I’ve been without a charger before and it’s a pain. We struck up a conversation and agreed to sit together on the way back to Portland. He asked what I did. I explained the whole writing thing.
I asked what he did.
“I’m disabled.” He showed me his hand. “I was stabbed and my hand is partially paralyzed. I used to be a carpenter.”
That. Is. Horrifying. All of my travel stuff? Sort of puts it into perspective.
Anyway, we had a nice chat on the way down. Once I got on the train, I had no more problems. I got on the bus in Portland and arrived home safely. Rob and the cats are happy to see me.
In other news, I have decided that I am my own Infinite Improbability Drive.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]