After a day-long trip upstate and back, I found that Yolanda, the cute little Yaris that I was slowly coming to like, cannot go uphill. Small hills of Long Island and downstate New York are fine. The real hills that emerge as soon as you hit central state provide a challenge. As we headed uphill at the speed limit, the car seemed to stop and then slowly inch towards the top. Foot to the floor, cars whizzing by, I patted the steering wheel, Come on, Yolanda, you can do it! She's the little engine who simply could not. While I could not bring myself to give her back because of something as silly as the cup holders being in front of the vents (who DOES that? how can the cup holders be directly in front of the vents?), I told Eddie, I think we found a reason to give her back and not buy her out. He concurred, offering, Yeah, how are we supposed to travel when the car won't go uphill? Because, you know, we have a lot of mountain driving in our future.
It's decided. Now that I have some time and it's not a rush to get rid of an almost non-functioning car, I can research cars and buy something without leasing it first to see how it goes.
As soon as that decision became firm, I drove to work through a road work zone with debris coming at me from every angle. When I got back in my car at the end of the day, I saw a glimmering from my windshield as I sat behind the wheel. I leaned in. It was. A. Crack. A small inch-long crack.
Now we all know how I react when car problems arise, so my reaction should not be surprising: I gasped so hard that I almost passed out in my seat. What might be surprising is that I did not automatically think my car was going to explode as is the common outcome of any light coming on. Instead, I thought my windshield was going to cave in on me as soon as I turned the key.
I am happy to report that it did not cave in on me. It did not spider-web out as I drove home. It simply remained an inch-long crack that reflected light. Quite pretty. Quite mesmerizing, which could cause an accident. Also accident-causing? My panic that it would grow and the windshield would come in on me with every exit on the highway.
I told Eddie about the crack as soon as I got home. I figured we would have to pay for it to be repaired. We went onto the Safelite website because it's the only company I know that deals in windshields. That's probably because it's the only glass company with a jingle. Go ahead and sing it. You know it. Now you can't stop singing it, can you? Heh heh.
The website has a place that you can put your insurance information down and they contact the insurance for you. Unless you have Geico. Then you have to go to Geico directly. I went onto that website. I typed in what happened. They scheduled an appointment with Safelite for me for the next day.
How's that for service?
By this time, the crack had grown to double its size. However, it was still around the length of a dollar bill. As I drove to yoga that night, I kept holding up a dollar bill against the glass at every red light. The drivers in front of me could have thought I was somehow propositioning them, but I didn't care. All I cared about was measuring the crack to ensure that it was still about the length of a dollar bill. At that length, it's reparable. I'm not sure what I would've done if it had grown past that length since measuring it obsessively does not impede it from growing.
The next day, I waited for Safelite. They emailed me a picture of the guy who was going to repair my windshield. He arrived after calling me to tell me he was fifteen minutes away. When he called, the caller ID said SAFELITE unlike so many other companies that have their workers use random cell numbers when they call.
I met him outside. We walked to my car. As we approached, he could see the crack from the inside since we were coming up behind it. Before we got to the front, he was like, nope, no good.
No good is not good!
He called the company and told them it had to be replaced. Then he handed me his cellphone: They want to talk to you.
They rescheduled the appointment right then and there. The woman wanted to get me in as soon as possible, but I didn't want to drive to the shop (because my car would obviously explode if I did that), so we rescheduled it for the next Friday.
The crack grew. The sunlight lashed through bright and harsh, but still beautiful. The crack stopped growing. Mid-week, I forgot that it was a hazard.
Friday came. Safelite called around 8:30. One man came to do the job. I asked, It's just you? He said, Yes, just me. I said, okay then. We walked around my car looking for dings and dents to ensure that I knew they were there. Really, all that walk accomplished was making me feel ashamed about how dirty my car was. I told him that I'd wanted to get it washed but didn't want to take it in with a crack in the windshield. He told me I couldn't get it washed for another three days with the new windshield in. Well, at least the windshield would be clean. Then I asked about my registration and inspection stickers. He said, We transfer them over.
Anyone who has had to remove and replace a registration sticker knows that it's not a simple transfer. It involves scraping with a razor and spraying to get the adhesive off. Maybe some cursing, too. Sometimes blood. However, he answered simply without hesitation, so I believed him and responded, Oh okay great magic.
He said he'd be an hour. I said I'd be upstairs. Of course, I went directly to the window from inside the house. In less than two minutes, my car had no windshield. Completely open in the front. Talk about mesmerizing.
In less than an hour--maybe 40 minutes--I had a new windshield AND he'd vacuumed out the front seats and dash AND he'd cleaned ALL the windows. He joked that at least my glass was clean when I yet again lamented, all ashamed, Now my windshield is the cleanest part.
He told me I could drive it in an hour, emailed me my receipt, and told me to call him on the cell if anything went wrong for the rest of the day.
The only thing that was unsettling was driving with that new windshield. It's invisible. So clean. Not even a scratch from the wipers. I drove half ducking behind the wheel. Safety first!