Monday, 7 November 2016


The guy on the phone from AAA was great.  Very calm and calming.

"I'm really sorry this has happened to you.  Are you ok?"  he asked, gently, once making sure myself and the vehicle were safe and off the road "Yes, the vehicle is off the road... 911 just left... put out the, I'm not blocking traffic..." and that was probably the first time I cried.. but just a little, because I knew shit had to get dealt with.

So he told me how sorry he was and how glad he was that I was ok, and he confirmed my location (even in my shock I was Big Brother creeped out when he asked if there was a building with a blue roof behind me. Uh... yes?  Damn... that's creepy) and told me the tow truck would get there as soon as possible.  He was going to send me to some other mechanic and I mentioned I'd been to a different one earlier in the week but whatever worked for them... he said whatever I wanted so I said that yes, I think I'd rather go back to the place I knew so he put that in and then said the tow truck would be there as soon as it could be.

They have an app now, that texts you or updates you and it said it would be an hour and a half or so.  So I carefully grabbed my stuff.

They'd taken my bike out to get access to the wheel area, and the wheel well area was all ripped up.

I figured it was from the friction that caused the fire when the wheel... did, whatever thing it wasn't supposed to do and I looked around and nothing was wet.  At all.  They'd yanked a hose INTO my van and still managed to not get anything inside wet at all.

I looked around.  Grabbed my travel bag... my camera... my computer bag, the GPS, my phone chargers and, randomly, and later, quite amusingly, my pee funnel.  (Habit from the week, I guess... a pee funnel can come in very handy when you're in a difficult situation.)  I sat on the ledge of the van side entrance and packed my things.  Went back and got the teddy bear stuffed honey badger thing I'd been sleeping with, and the map book I'd been using and I grabbed some gatorade and I sat there and talked to Jason.

Fire.  Wheel.  911.  Not drivable.  Please get me home.  Please.  Someone needs to come get me and take me home.  I don't care about my stuff, I just want to get home right now.  Now.  Home.  Now.

I texted a few other people and then got a message from Telus (my cell provider)  "You are $50 dollars over your data roaming"  I'm what?  Are you kidding me?  Where had been my warning message of "you've used up 80% of your package"  But whatever, now wasn't the time to deal with this, I'd deal with this once I was home. 

And then ten minutes later "You owe $100 roaming charges and have been locked.  Respond with YES if you want to unlock your roaming"  ARE YOU SHITTING ME?  But whatever.  YES.  I need this phone right now.  This phone is my lifeline.  Literally.  So yes, charge me you stupid phone company, we will deal with this later.

Jason was stunned.  What happened?  "I have no idea....WHOOMP happened.

And I kept driving."

But she was in great shape!

"So you said.  But here I am. Please just get me home.  Someone needs to come get me."

I've said it before, but shock is a funny thing.

I think I knew I was in shock but I kind of didn't at the same time.  I just knew I had to deal with things.  That there wasn't anyone else here to fix this or deal with this.  This all was on me.    So I had to keep my shit somewhat together.

I talked to Jason on and off while waiting for the tow truck and when he showed up, as I'd known it would be, it was the same guy who'd towed me the previous Monday.  He, just like the guy from AAA was calm and gentle, and as I sat in the front of his giant tow truck, I started to cry.  He got in, asked why I was upset and I told him I felt stupid.  I told him I had known something was wrong and I had just kept driving and that that was stupid.  He told me it wasn't.  He told me to be grateful that I was ok.  That he'd seen rollovers and bad accidents and I was all in one piece.  And I knew that. I knew I really shouldn't be ok and that I was, but still, I was mad at myself for putting myself in that position.  I "shouldn't" have driven past the initial WHOMP.  I "shouldn't" have kept driving past the gas station.  I "shouldn't" have been driving an old camper van in the first place. I "should" have just been a whole lot smarter and just stayed home and not put myself through any of this and nearly died.  I "should" never have gone to Burning Man this year at all.  Not at all. 

We drove, me crying quietly, the few minutes to the mechanic.  I stayed in the vehicle while he talked to the guys, they came by and said they remembered me and sorry I was back.  I cried again.  The guy came in to the cab with me while the driver was unloading the van in the back of the lot and told me they'd find parts and get me back on the road, he just didn't know how long it would take, but that they'd help me.  I told him I was in no rush.  I didn't want to ever drive again.  Certainly not that van.  And certainly not all the way home.

The driver took me to the hotel.  Waited to make sure I had a room.  Gave me the number of someone he'd towed the other day who was heading back to BC.  Told me I'd be ok. I asked the lady at the front desk for some change and I gave him a few bucks.  I didn't know what else to do, but say thank you and give him a tip.  (I find I'm very awkward with tips and never know how much to give but anyway, I wanted to say thank you and it seemed like the thing to do)  And then I carried my stuff to the hotel room and I sat there on the edge of the bed utterly numb and something akin to bewildered.

What... had just happened?


Anonymous said...

there has to be a movie in the making for all this!!!

can we run with the title 'from burning man to burning car'

...glad to hear you are ok and i'm really impressed by the helpfulness of the people you are meeting.

Jason Langlois said...

*all the hugs*

Victoria said...

Well, Solo Roving, the joke around here has been "Burning van" so ;)

I'm glad I'm ok too and yes, the people I met were so helpful and kind and caring.

Thanks Jason.