Ode to Leaving My Car in a Ditch

You know it’s been a day when you have to abandon your car in a ditch and walk a mile over icy roads in a driving snowstorm to get home, and you consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

I left my car in a ditch! Left my car! In a ditch! I need that thing to earn a living and buy milk for my babies and carry around my golf clubs! I need it to keep from looking awkward when I’m in the drive-thru at the Chick-fil-a! And it’s just out there in a ditch right now! Lord knows what other cars are bouncing off of it even as I sit here!

Obviously, I’m still coming to grips with the situation. This is the first time I’ve ever had to abandon a car for any reason. I’ve had some cars that were in such bad shape that they fit the legal definition of  “abandoned” while I was sitting in them. But I’ve never left a car partway to my destination because I had no choice but to continue on foot.

For those of you who have never had to abandon your car, here’s how it works. You’re in a contraption that you spent many thousands of dollars on specifically because it’s good at getting you to places you want to go. You’re going someplace in it, and it’s working like it’s supposed to, when suddenly your progress toward your destination slows to an unacceptable rate.

This is where you enter the pre-abandonment phase known (by me) as “coaxing.” This is where you expend great psychic energy and lots of swear words to move obstacles out of the way and/or force better performance out of your car.

The coaxing period may last seconds, or it may last days. But eventually you look at the condition of your car and say, “Well, that’s not going to get any better.” Then you come to the thudding realization that this great big machine which consumes a goodly portion of your income is of no more use to you than an empty, crushed-up Coors Light can. And so, like an empty, crushed-up Coors Light can, you leave it in a ditch!

And I locked it. That’s the funny thing. I locked it like it was snugly in a parking space outside the Piggly Wiggly, and I was just running in for some chili powder and snack crackers. But what else do you do when you walk away from your car? I’m assuming I can get back to it before the mutants take over and start scavenging for gasoline, but you never know.

I am thankful that I got close enough to my house that I could walk the rest of the way. It could’ve been much worse. But nothing makes you feel like the end is near like closing the door of a car that can’t be moved, turning your back on it, and walking on.

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