My car first started showing signs of a dying transmission through minor tantrums. For example, one time it wouldn't accelerate on the interstate. Another time, it took a few tries to get it started. One other time, it just wouldn't start at all. This time just happened to be in the grocery store parking lot.
My parents sent me on an errand to our neighborhood grocery store to get a few items. I can only remember one item on the list so I will go ahead and make up the rest:
- One onion
- 12 pack of toilet paper
I went to the store, purchased said items, and then walked out to my car. I got in, and tried to start it with no luck. I sat there for a while, and tried again. Nothing. One last time. "SERIOUSLY!? UGHHHH!!!" (I am trying to recap what an anxiety ridden teenage Leila would sound like- but it kind of sounds like an anxiety ridden late 20s Leila. Shit.)
I called my parents and let them know. They were busy cooking dinner. Could I please walk back to the house?
"With the groceries. We are completely out of toilet paper."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? MOOOOMMMMM!!!!
I gave up the negotiation (which lasted all of two loud sighs and three drawn out 'moms') and pulled my sorry ass out of the car... with the bag of toilet paper and two other small unnoticeable things and started to walk home. It wasn't the walk itself that was bad, it was the route that I had to take.
The walk took me over the "Overpass" which is just a bridge that goes over a few shops and a train track. The problem with it is that the sidewalk is narrow and when you drive over it, you notice every single pedestrian (which are few and far between).
I made my way out of the grocery store parking lot and got to the bottom of the Overpass. With my head held incredibly low and my hair pushed across my face, I made my way across the bridge knowing that every single student in my high school class was currently making their way over the overpass and figuring out my family's secret as they drove.... we wipe our butts. How humiliating. At that point in my life, it was the equivalent of having going to Walgreens to pick up Monistat, Preparation H, and cheetos (because you're hungry but didn't realize how embarrassing your purchase combo is until you are in the incredibly slow moving checkout line).
I couldn't believe my parents put me through that. I swore I would never run to the grocery store for them again. I didn't care if we were out of toilet paper, and down to our last shred of kleenex... I was not EVER going to the grocery store again. NO WAY.
Needless to say, I was 17. Again, my negotiating powers failed me a few days later when we were out of milk. Except this time, my mom let me take her car, which trumped my car with the whole ability to start thing. That way, none of those classmates of mine would have any chance of spotting me walking home only to discover that we tried to maintain our Calcium as much as our hygiene.