Los Angeles truly is a city of angels. Maybe not a city full of angels but there are a few and fortunately, my mother knew them back in college. And no, Nicholas Cage was not one of them.
My updates have been a little behind schedule but I'm going to catch up with this one. First things first, we left my sister's house at 6 in the morning on Wednesday (18th). We had plans to drive all the way through the Oklahoma pan handle, through New Mexico, into Arizona, and down to the Phoenix area to spend the night with one of my sister's friend's house. The trip started out great. We stopped in Kansas to run my car through a car wash. My car was cleaned, I was feeling good, we had miles of open road ahead but that's when mini disaster struck.
I accidentally dropped a penny into the cigarette lighter. Don't ask how or why this happened. It'll just make both of our brains hurt. All you need to know is that it sparked a few times and I ended up fishing it out in the deadliest game of Operation ever. After gaining my one cent back and losing at least one fuse, my car no longer had interior lights or power locks. “No biggie,” I stupidly thought, “It could be worse.” Oh, what a fool I was. Why did I say that? Little did I know just how bad things were about to get. We entered New Mexico and I had one thing on my mind: Slushies. Too bad the state had an unpublicized ban on any and all cool, refreshing, frozen beverages. At least that's the impression that I got because I couldn't find a slushie anywhere. Annoyed and slightly parched, we made our way out of New Mexico. We just had to make it through.....Albu-kirky. (I said, A (A!), L (L!), B (B!), U (U!),.....................Kirky! (Kirky!)) As we were getting to Albuqurkey, I was behind the wheel and noticed my vehicle, Patchy (that's the name I just gave it), was acting a little funny. Then, medium sized disaster struck, Patchy just completely shut off and wouldn't start for a good 5 minutes. This happened several times before we decided to use my trust GPS, Viki, to lead us to the nearest repair shop.
Now its time to talk all serious and junk about what was going through my mind at this time. I left my mom at the shop to go for a walk to blow off some steam, think about things, and maybe mutter insults to passing vehicles who were obviously rubbing it in my face. On this walk, I had a woe is me attitude. “Oh poor, poor, Russ. Nothin' ever goes your way,” I foolishly thought at the beginning of my walk. By the end of my 2.5 mile walk, my thoughts were a bit more positive.
I had convinced myself that everything would be alright in the end. Things would work out so I could finish the trip and continue the pursuit of my dream job. After a couple more hours of waiting in the shop while playing Pokemon (Dayne, Brad, woot!), we got the problem fixed.....for $500. So, my thoughts weren't completely optimistic but they were in comparison to a few hours previously.
So we said goodbye to Albakurkee and hello to Arizona, the land of the billboard. But my disastrous day had not yet ended. I was still craving a slushie. We stopped to fill up and that's when I saw it in the corner of my eye. Visible through the station window was a giant rotating cup. Inside this cup was something red; outside this cup were the words Slush Puppie (Brown Chicken, Brown Cow). I rush inside after pumping gas to feast my eyes on the delicious frozen treats. Alas, these so called “Slush Puppies” we merely a more expensive snow cone.
Due to our slight delays, we decided to just stay at a cheap motel for the night and finish the journey to L.A. in the morning. We stopped just short of Flagstaff, AZ and put an end to this intensely disappointing day.
The next day....
We awoke and hit the road. We had smooth sailing for the entire morning. Spirits were high and the scenery was beautiful. No billboards. We entered California at around noon or noon thirty and started our drive through the Mojave Desert. I was cruisin' along, enjoying the view when -BAM!- medium sized disaster reared its ugly head again. We were broke down, in the middle of the Mojave Desert. In 115 degree heat. For 2 hours. The tow truck took us back to town to sit in a garage again and we hoped we could find this (same as before) problem. Obviously, the $500 thingy didn't fix it.
At this point, I was praying. I was wondering if maybe this is God telling me I'm not following the right path. Maybe He had given me signs all along the way and this is what it took to finally get my attention. I was also wondering maybe this is just a test; a test to see what I was willing to endure to accomplish my dream. All of these thoughts ran over and over and over again for hours. Finally, I said to God, “I'm not going to worry about anything. If I'm meant to do this, you'll provide a way.”
Not long after, my mother received a call from an old college friend, Jay McCoy, who lives in the Los Angeles area and only 3 hours from where we were stranded. Oh, I should probably also mention that he's a mechanic. I could also talk about how he said he would come get us, tow my car back to his garage, let us borrow his car to drive into L.A. so we didn't miss our hotel reservation, give my car a look over in the morning, take me and my mom out to dinner the next day, show us around the city, and use his car to carry our luggage. I should also mention that his wife, Deanna McCoy (also a college friend), took off time from work to help us out anyway she could whether it be giving us tips on traveling around the city or inviting us into her home or inviting me to come to Thanksgiving since I won't be going home for that.
God is great. And so is the McCoy family.
Hopefully, someday, I'll be able to truly thank them in a way that they deserve and a way that I can't even fathom at this point. They didn't just help us out of a jam. They have helped me pursue my dream.
Quote of the days: Nephew Sam: (while giving me a tour of the house) “And this is where I don't take a bath.”