As if to prove that all of the lessons I learned by watching movies apply equally to real life, today seemed to drag on forever, and yet it was over in a flash. I was pretty useless all day, pacing back and forth with all kinds of nervous energy and totally unable to focus on anything productive. It's so tiring to do nothing that I find myself on the edge of exhaustion tonight, with nothing to show for it
Part of the reason was my car. I took it in a week ago Monday (or two weeks ago next Monday, if you want to make it sound as long as it's really been). Although Saturn has been straightforward and friendly, every phone conversation about the car has been initiated by me. Either I'd call and wait to talk to the service manager, or I'd get his voice mail and he'd call me back eventually.
Wednesday the word was that they'd made the repairs but wanted to drive it around to see if they'd solved the coolant leakage problem. I agreed that I wanted them to be confident before giving the car back to me, or else I wouldn't have any confidence in it. I was even prepared to go through another weekend without it, although I insisted on a free rental if that happened.
It's hard for me to say I "insisted," when the fact is they've been trying to get me to take advantage of the rental ever since I took the car in. If I'd known they'd have it this long, I'd have jumped at the chance for free wheels for the last ten days, but it's only been for the last two or three days that being stranded has caused me any real anxiety.
So I wasn't expecting it back until today, and after I called this morning, I didn't really expect it back today either. The service manager wanted to talk to his engineer, and he wanted to drive it around a little more.
He was under the mistaken impression that it had taken 500 miles of driving for the problem to crop up. I reminded him I'd brought it in after one week, with only 140 miles on it, for the same problem. They hadn't been able to find anything wrong then, and he admitted to me they still hadn't identified the source of the leak.
They believe they've solved it by replacing the head and the head gasket, because a design flaw is probably the only thing that could have caused the kinds of problems I've had. But they can't be sure, and I'll be wary until I've driven for a few weeks without seeing the coolant warning light come on again.
Anyway, he asked if I'd mind if he kept the car until the end of the day. Then he'd decide if he was comfortable giving it back to me, or if he'd just give me another car for the weekend. I was on pins and needles all day long, hoping and wondering.
By the time 5:00 pm had passed, I was sure they'd found more problems with the car. When the phone rang, I expected bad news, but he told me they were cleaning it up and I could bring it home. I suggested that if the problem were to come back, it wouldn't make any difference who was driving the car, he or I. He thought that made some kind of sense.
Now I needed a ride, but their shuttle driver had quit for the day. I ended up talking to one of the detailers, who sent his 16-year-old kid out to get me. I gave him directions (my house is disgustingly easy to find), and then I waited at the end of the driveway for him. I was so glad to be getting my car back I felt close to 16 myself, so we had a nice conversation on the way back to the dealer. I don't think we'll be hanging out or anything, but it was good to talk to somebody after all the tension I'd been feeling all day had finally been released.
I flew home from the dealer and immediately parked Kermit in the garage. It was almost 6:00 by then, and I looked back on a day when I accomplished almost nothing. Still, I was loaded with energy and ready to ramble. I didn't, of course. I stayed home practiced my breathing exercises (and got a little work done).
It had been such a stressful day, not knowing until the very end whether I'd have my car or not, that I'd forgotten how to exhale. I do think I'll sleep better tonight than I have for the last few nights.