Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Happens When You Put Away The Bottle

I drank one last beer on New Year’s Eve.

The next day was the start of my hiatus from booze for an undetermined period of time. I did this one other time and it lasted until my birthday in mid April. It’s a challenge (I love a good challenge) and it’s healthy (I need to be more healthy) but my determination was about to be tested in a big way.

Jan 2nd I was in a car accident.

I went to meet a friend for lunch and noticed that the interstate was a parking lot. The traffic wasn’t even crawling; it was at a dead stop. I rerouted to back roads but everyone else had the same idea. The 6-mile trip took 1 hour and 15 minutes. Finally, just one block from my friend’s house, a car ran a stop sign, through the intersection smack in front of me. There was no time to stop and I T-boned them in the passenger side. Clearly at fault, they fled the scene before I could speak with them. I jumped out of my car to get the license plate number as they drove away. I called the police. Somehow, my front license plate came up missing in the commotion. TWO HOURS later, an officer showed up for my statement.  Happy New Year.

It was more of a hassle than anything. I called my insurance, set up a time to take my car in and began the process of dealing with one of life’s annoying misfortunes.

The next morning, I had a bonafide pain in my neck. I picked up a rental car, braved the DMV for new plates (which is a tribulation in itself) and saw a chiropractor for my neck pain. Then, the news came that the repairs to my car were extensive and would take 2 weeks to complete. Lovely.

A few days later, my cell phone committed suicide. It jumped from my pocket, head first into the toilet. I grabbed it out as fast as I could but it was lifeless. I did my best to revive it with rice to dehydrate and a space heater to warm it but it was gone. A comical finale. Even so, a new one would be sent overnight.

But overnight it snowed. A lot.

20 inches closed down every airport in the northeast and I was without a phone or text messages for the next 4 days. I have no landline so during that time, email was my only mode of communication with anyone until…

My email went down.

In 11 years of having the same email address there’s been two or three times that I haven’t been able to access my account. The downtime has never lasted more than an hour or two. This time, my email was completely down for 36 hours. What are the chances?

After 2 weeks, the car still wasn’t fixed. It was going to be another week. Still driving a gas-guzzling Ford Taurus courtesy of Enterprise, I tried not to get worked up. At least I had wheels in the mean time. At least I was ok. Things could be worse. The police report from the accident was released. The PD traced the plate number of the car at fault but the plates were fake. There was no way to find them or hold them accountable for the damages. Awesome.

And it kept snowing.

6 snowstorms hit the northeast in rapid succession like leap frogs. In the month of January it snowed 16 of 31 days and blasted the state with a total of five feet. The last one dumped 16 inches on my sidewalk in 8 hours. The piles of snow on yards and street corners and parking lots are well over my head… and right now; it’s snowing yet again.

In the middle of the last big bad snowstorm, the insurance man called to say my car was finally done. After 3 weeks, I was so happy to finally get my car back.

Hold on, not so fast. 

A once over revealed two gouges on my car that weren’t there when I took it in to be fixed. My car wasn’t done after all. Thoroughly frustrated, I wasted a trip to the dealership and left with an approximate timeframe of another day or two before they would be able to repaint those two spots. Did they think I wouldn’t notice??

Not to be outdone by the external forces of stress, my body took in a raging sinus infection causing my head to wish for decapitation.

Finally, on January 31st, my car was returned to my possession but not before it failed the emissions test. It’s a 4 year old vehicle for heaven’s sake, how is that possible? As it turns out, not driving it for 4 weeks is the culprit of one more hurdle. Just add it to the list.

So far, 2011 has been a bad time to scale back the drinking because right now, that’s all I want to do.

Nevertheless, the dry endeavor continues because after all, what is perseverance without opposition? 

However, a little less opposition would be nice. 

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