I have been tasked with shipping our family car from Thousand Oaks (my hometown) to my brother at Dartmouth, in New Hampshire. I had put in the order with Direct Connect, an auto transport broker. They connect you with a carrier who will then physically pick up your car and ship it to your location.
It was supposed to work this way. The broker puts your name up on the board, where all carriers they work with have access, and one picks up the request and notifies the broker. The broker then tells me when they can come get the car, and I give them a yay or a nay.
There must have been some miscommunication, because I got a call early this morning from a carrier who wanted to confirm that he would pick up my car in TO after 5pm today. A few red flags went off in my head. First, I never heard from my broker. Second, I was paranoid because my quote request went to 10 different companies, so I didn’t know if one was trying to pull a fast one on me. Third, I need more than 7 hours notice for this. Needless to say, the conversation did not go well, and I ended up calling my broker, who apologized profusely and assured me that he would “scold” their dispatch department, which was supposed to contact me sooner. They did later, but I was still in peeved mode.
I contact the carrier directly around 5:15pm to confirm what time they were going to be there, from an earlier agreement to talk at 5 to see where he is. He tells me that he will be between 7 and 8. I hop on the road right away, and hit dead stop traffic on the west side. It wasn’t until after the fact that I was told Johnny Depp’s new film, Rango, was premiering in Westwood, and streets were blocked off, effectively slowing down traffic for all of West LA. It took me an hour to go about 4 miles to the freeway.
Needless to say, I did not make it to TO by 7. The good news (if it could be good…how about “less bad”) was that my carrier was also running late. Actually, he didn’t get into TO until after 9:30p, pulling me from my Valentine’s Day date with Jennifer Beals and “The Chicago Code.” I had been chilling at a family friend’s place, where our family car was being stored. Carrier and I had agreed to meet at the Oaks Mall, since there is more room, and the carrier truck is ginormous. I hop into the family car, turn the ignition, and this ugly, harsh clicking sound emits from the engine. Shit. What’s going on? Turns out, the battery was dead. We had to jump it, which we did just fine. And family friend followed me as I drove toward the mall.
It’s past 10pm by this time. The carrier is exhausted too, having driven from San Diego, and he had to wait while we figured out the car jumping situation. On the way there, my dashboard lights were doing weird things, and my headlights were flickering. Halfway on the main road to the Oaks, my headlights go out. Then my dashboard display goes out. I press on the accelerator, and that doesn’t make the car go faster. Uh oh. I pull over to the side of the road, right as my steering wheel locks up. After this, nothing works. Not even my emergency lights. Good thing family friend was behind me, and she put on her blinkers so no one would ram into us. I call AAA, and juggle that phone call with calls from the carrier trying to figure out where we were. Long story even longer but approaching the end, the carrier was able to jump the car with a jumper box and get the car on the truck. Kenneth will just have his work cut out for him when the car gets to New Hampshire.
(BTW, the post title is from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Whistle Down the Wind.”)