The Queen Mother

Have you been hitting refresh all day waiting for me to post this? I think you have. Or at least SOMEONE has, if my stats are any indication today. Are you that eager to humiliate me? It’s OK if you are; I would be too.

So, without further ado, here it is. The tale of my most embarrassing moment EVAH:

There is some background that you need to have in order to get the full effect of this story. It took place when I lived in my old apartment, which was located on a cul-de-sac. So, I had to kind of drive around the block to get to my apartment building. It’s hard to describe, so I have created an excellent quality rendering in MS Paint:


See? You would go down the pretty major road, down the side street, and around the block, and then you would be at my apartment. So you would need to drive past the Valvoline oil change place every day. End necessary background information – on with the show!

This incident took place not long after I got my first job in marketing. This job required me to travel a bit – mostly to places far enough to take a plane, but some that were within driving distance as well. At the time, I was also commuting 74 miles per day just to get to work and back.

One week, I was really (REALLY) overdue for an oil change. This was when I had my old piece of crap Saturn so it used to die on me when I so much looked at it funny, let alone when I hadn’t changed the oil in a really long time. Normally I took it to the dealer for everything (because it was such a piece of crap that things broke repeatedly and if I had the work done at the dealer they would fix it the rest of the times for free) but since I was heading to Hartford early the next morning I decided to go the Valvoline that was on the way home.

I arrived at the Valvoline in a huge rush, since I had just been stuck in traffic and they were supposed to be closing in 10 minutes. I will preface this by saying that I had never actually been to one of these quick oil change places before, but I knew the drill – pull in, car is over big hole, man in hole changes oil, drive out. Simple.

So I pulled in and I guess I was not really lined up with the hole very well because the man who waves you in kept waving me to move more to the left, so I did, and then I did some more, and then I did some more, and then the guy’s eyes got really big and he screamed at me to STOP. And that is when I found out that the man was not actually waving me in, he was on his cell phone, gesturing vehemently to the person he was talking to.

Also, my car? It was teetering on the edge of the lip around the big rectangular hole in the floor, and I was about THISCLOSE to having my car fall into the big hole. (I mean, the whole car wouldn’t fall in, but you get the idea. It would be VERY NOT GOOD to have your car fall into a hole, even if only part of the car was in the hole.) And there was no foreseeable way to get my car off of this edge and away from the hole without there being a very good chance of it falling in.

I don’t think I need to tell you what my state of mind was at this moment. I was white-knuckled on the steering wheel, with my feet slammed on both the brake and the clutch as hard as they could go. I was afraid to even breathe for fear that I would go in the hole. But I tried to stay calm.

All of the people who worked at the Valvoline were all milling around trying to figure out what to do. Finally it was determined that if they could get a jack under my car, they could jack it up enough to roll it off of the edge, and then I would be able to pull out of the garage without worrying that by moving half of an inch I would be in the hole. The only problem was that the Valvoline did not have a jack. But don’t worry! Joe’s brother does, and he only lives a few miles away, so Joe will go jump in this other guy’s truck (because the jack will not fit into Joe’s car) so that they can go get the jack.


So I continued to sit there, white-knuckled, while one of the other Valvoline workers tried to chat with me AS IF I WAS IN THE MOOD FOR PLEASANT CONVERSATION.  He told me that no one had ever fallen into the hole at this particular Valvoline, but at the one where he used to work, a few people had and their cars had been totaled, because when the car fell into the hole, it bent the frame, and after that happens a car is totaled. And then he wondered if insurance would cover a thing like that. 


At this point I was still staying somewhat calm, until Mr. Chatty calmly looked over and said, “I can’t believe your tire hasn’t popped yet from sitting on the edge like that. ‘Cause once that happens, you’re goin’ in.”

And then I lost it.

I mean, completely and totally lost my shit. We’re talking crying (possibly sobbing) mess, and covered with snot because I would not (COULD NOT) take my hand off the wheel to get a tissue. It was easily the worst public display of emotion I have ever put on, and that includes any possible temper tantrums thrown as a child.

Also, at this point I was wondering WHERE THE HELL, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLD, WAS JOE???

It turns out that it took Joe a while to get the jack, because his brother wasn’t home and he didn’t have a key to the garage. But that was OK, because Joe had a buddy who worked as a tow truck driver and mechanic, and he had a jack at his garage that was only a few towns away. Joe had connections.

So I sat there, still on the verge of hysteria, as the snot and tears tried to my face only to be replaced by fresh, new snot and tears, and thought that at least, AT LEAST no one would ever have to know about this. Because I would not tell a soul.

But wouldn’t you know that my two roommates were walking to the convenience store at the time? And they were walking right past the Valvoline? And they saw my car and thought that something didn’t look right? And so they came to the Valvoline and now I had no hope of keeping the memory of this incident buried in a deep, dark recess of my mind?

(Also, they were not very good at pretending that they weren’t laughing at me. Which only made it worse.)

Finally, Joe came back with the jack. Then I found out the details of the plan. The jack was actually to be placed on top of some type of work-cart thing, which really was not meant to hold the weight of either the jack, or the car that the jack was going to be holding up. Good. Then, since they would not be able to get the jack into position under the area of the car that is meant to be jacked up, they would have to put it under some other area and hope that it did not slip and/or cause a ton of damage to the bottom of the car. Even better. Then, if all the stars aligned, they would be able to push my car off the edge of the hole while keeping the jack balanced. GREAT. Let’s get it the hell over with, already.

I crossed my fingers as hard as they have ever been crossed and commenced freaking out EVEN MORE than I had been before. They positioned the jack, did their thing, and believe it or not it worked! I was back on solid ground – and I was out of that car faster than you can say I AM NEVER GOING TO VALVOLINE AGAIN.

I flat out refused to drive my car out of the garage, because I was not taking any chances. No way. So Joe (my hero) drove my car out, but not before first insisting that I allow him to change the oil since that is what I had come there for in the first place. I threatened my roommates that if they ever spoke of the incident, I would kill them while they slept. And then I beat it the hell out of there, never to return.

Except that I had to drive RIGHT PAST that Valvoline on my way home every day for the next year and half, until I finally moved. And I SWEAR that the people who worked there knew my car and laughed at me every time they saw me.

So there you have it. My most embarrassing moment. If any of you are thinking “that’s not that bad”… well, really, you didn’t see me covered in snot and sobbing so you really can’t say. And no, I have never and will never drive my car into one of those places ever again as long as I live.

If you enjoyed this story (or even if you just think that I am the biggest moron that ever lived) please leave a comment… it will help me to get over the haunting memory of The Queen Mother of embarrassing moments.



Filed under NaBloPoMo 2007

9 responses to “The Queen Mother

  1. I love this story. Also, I would be SOOOO DANG ANGRY with the man who cannot keep his hands to himself while he is on the cell phone. Freaking idiot.

  2. Liz

    I understand how you would find that experience really embarrassing but I don’t think it was your fault at all! You should blame them – it’s their fault for being stupid and not directing you around the giant hole. And it really sucks that you had to drive by it every day.

    On a happier note, I really enjoyed embarrassing moment month – I hope you’ll continue to post about these things every now and then because some of the stories (especially the spaghetti and the car-jacking) continue to bring me great joy.

  3. Sarah

    Totally the fault of (a) the guy who was “directing” you, and (b) the fault of whoever didn’t keep the hole COVERED to prevent cars from FALLING IN!!

    I would have been just as hysterical. Also, I would have gone the other way around the block for the next year and a half–at least you were brave enough to drive by it! Hopefully telling the world helps you get over the embarrassment. I’m with Liz–I’ve enjoyed reading the stories.

  4. Oh man, I totally feel for you. I fear going to places like that that I haven’t been to before for EXACTLY this reason. What if I do something stupid? And I’m not really known for my grace under pressure..I’d be sobbing and snot covered too. I had to go get my emissions tested last week and I was terrified.Who even KNOWS what could have gone wrong??

    And I visited your blog 3 times today from 2 different computers, so that probably contributed to your stats. But doesn’t it make you feel so popular??

  5. Man, you poor girl. I would have been hysterical as all hell too. Sending bad karma vibes to Gesturing Idiot On Cell Phone. Was he Italian?

  6. I have always been afraid of falling into the hole at the oil change place! It is not encouraging to know that people actually have.

    I’m glad you made it out alright, although given the opportunity to total my Saturn, I might have let my foot slip off the brake.

  7. -R-


    I do think that story was worth the month-long wait!

  8. See, just the fact that the guys at the shop had stories to tell about other people falling the hole tells me that this was not your fault. Still, I cannot fathom the mortification. That which does not kill you makes you stronger? (I think that could be the lesson from lots of your stories this month.)

  9. That is out of control. And I would have absolutely KILLED the dude on the cell phone.

    Well played, milady. This was awesome.

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