Day 3 — Waking up in the neighborhood was actually really nice. The view from the top of that hill was just gorgeous. I got to wake up seeing the, “rows and rows of houses on a hill” thing, that so characterizes San Francisco. That morning I really had to pee and James and I were going to this birthday thing for a work friend so I texted him hoping to pee in his house when I went to pick him up. He didn’t respond. I texted Ryan for the address to the birthday party. He texted back and I drove off toward the Beach Chalet, where Matthew’s party was. At this point I probably had a collective 10% of battery charge across all my devices, which included both phones, my MiFi hotspot, iPad, and Mophie back-up charger. I really need to figure out a charging solution. Luckily during the week I can charge at work.
So I arrive at the Beach Chalet, head straight to the bathroom, where it stinks like a public restroom surprisingly, since this is a pretty nice establishment. Anyway, after I was finally relieved from a night of not peeing, I walked around the place to find the brunch party. Found it. Ate an incredible brunch buffet for this dude’s birthday, had tons of champagne, only a bit of coffee, and realized I was getting a massive headache. Living where there isn’t running water means I don’t drink much water. I was dehydrated. I remember distinctly the day I went with Kelly to buy my curtains, she said “You gotta do this one thing for me if you’re gonna do this: stay hydrated.” I didn’t and felt like crap now. So I got in my car and drove to the beach, across the street. It was packed but I found a spot in the lot and opened up the back door of my new house, and just slept in there for about a half hour. As I was dozing off to sleep, I heard little bits of “Oh that’s a good idea” and “This guy’s got it right”. Little did they know that I was actually lounging at home.
If I didn’t say already, the engine on my car is pretty messed up. It runs well, but smokes like crazy sometimes. It’s really embarrassing. Anyway, the lady I bought it from recommended a mechanic down in Santa Clara where I could have it worked on. I looked up the place on my iPhone’s 3% battery. They were open on Sundays! Great news. I called and they had some availability and told me to bring the car down this afternoon to have it looked at. Perfect. I stayed at the beach a while longer, but the constant crowds got annoying so I packed it up, did a 5-point-turn with the help of a stranger to get out of the parking spot, and got on the highway to Santa Clara. I realized I’d need to stop somewhere to get one of my devices up to snuff to get me down to the mechanic. But wait! I remembered my iPad holds its’ charge rather long, and I think it was at 7%, so I went with it. I got directions to the place, stopped for gas once in Los Altos Hills, and made it to the place around 5PM.
The old man in the wheelchair that greeted me behind the desk had a streak of bright blue in his hair. The place was called Volpar and anything that was colored was colored blue including the text on the building, the chairs in the office, the shelves, and the man’s streak of colored hair. He told me he remembered working on my car when the previous owner brought it in. He told me what he recalled it needed to run well, and then took my key and told me to “Go wait in the waiting room, play some pool, get some coffee” while they checked the car out.
And then, I waited what seemed like hours in this incredibly stale room that looked like it hadn’t changed in 20 years. There was a massive pool table in the middle of the room, surprisingly up-to-date magazines on the side table next to me, a small model of a blue Volvo Sedan, dusty, blue curtains, and this ridiculous photo of a cat with a hat on facing a pool table. It was truly bizarre room. The old man in the wheelchair eventually called me on some invisible speakerphone after about 5 years of waiting in that room, “Brandon your car is ready.” Unfortunately that didn’t mean my car was really ready, as in fixed. No, that would cost me a lovely twenty-six-hundred dollars. That’s 2.6 times what I paid for it. I have no idea if that’s even worth it to me. I could buy another one with a better engine for that price. But I just insured this car, and I just registered the car in my name, and ugh and ugh and more ugh.
“I’ll think about it and get back to you,” I said. And before I walked out the door, “Would it be ok to drive until it’s fixed, or no?”
“No, I wouldn’t drive it. That could mess up other parts of the engine.” he said.
And like that, I had a car I was scared to drive.
That night I decided it was time for me to try sleeping in the garage at work. It was Sunday after all, so it made sense. I’d just go park there and wake up on Monday at work. There would be literally a 20-foot commute. And so that’s what I did. It was a bit weird getting into my car at work to go to sleep, but that is exactly what I did. I put up my curtains, which I installed earlier that day, took off my clothes, and went to sleep. Again I was nervous. There’s pretty tight, 24-hour security here, so I was positive that someone would wake me in the middle of the night and tell me to leave. I ended up watching something on my iPad and fell asleep. I woke up a few times during the night, and felt like crap in the morning, but I managed it: night three in my car … at work.