Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Car Broke Down in the Rain and I Nearly Broke Down Too

My car broke down in the rain in April 2014. Not a nice experience for me. I nearly broke down too. After today’s rain in East London (in South Africa, Tuesday 17 March 2014) and hoping the car would not break down in the rain again, I am reminded of the time my car broke down in the rain 11 months ago.

car broke down in the rain in East London

car broke down in the rain in East London

Luckily today my car did not break down in the rain again, even though Tony and I drove to several places in the rain today, and even though the car will still break down in the rain if it gets splashed underneath it, under the bonnet area. It wasn’t raining very hard today, so maybe that helped too. The time my car broke down in the rain in East London in April 2014, it was raining really hard, like almost flash flood hard.

Where did we drive in the rain in East London today?
Tony came with me when I drove my sons to their school this morning. Tony usually stays home while I take my sons to school, but if it’s raining I ask him to come with – in case I need somebody to help me push the car out of the way of traffic, in case I need somebody to help flag traffic to warn them not to crash into my car (if my car broke down in a spot where I can’t get it out of the way of traffic), and for moral support as I feel nervous driving in the rain.
Tony went driving in the rain in East London at about mid morning to go give a client of ours a WordPress lesson.
Tony came with me in the late afternoon today when I drove to my dentist in East London to have a painful tooth extracted.

There were some puddles here and there on the roads in East London today, and sometimes a car driving on the other side of the road towards us would splash up some water, but nothing serious enough to have my car break down in the rain again.

The “Car Broke Down in the Rain” story below is one I had published at a site called Bubblews but I have removed it from that site, a while ago now.

Car Broke Down in the Rain and I Nearly Broke Down Too – in East London in April 2014

Yesterday I came really really close to relieving my bladder in the car on the car seat, getting run over, crying, and smacking or shaking Tony, or both, or all of the above.

It was raining, but not yet hard, when we left home after Tony first went back inside to take an anti-inflammatory tablet for his shoulder after having slipped and fallen down the ramp that goes over the steps having been put there for my father for when my brother takes my father out in the wheelchair so that my brother’s vehicle can park right next to the ramp and down goes my father and up into my brother’s vehicle all easy peasy but because it was wet and Tony had slippery shoes on down Tony went, all the way down to his shoulder and backside, and not my father who went down excuse the long sentence if I could even call it that hardly even a comma break I feel like Dalia from Suburgatory who just talks and talks without a break but that’s how my fingers are flying across the keyboard getting this all out.

Ok, I’ll take a breath.

And a sip of my grape juice.

Right, moving on:

Besides Tony’s aching shoulder, all was fine. It was raining, but not yet hard. I said that already; sorry, but it’s important to the story.

We’d had loads of shopping to do, at different stores, ahead of the 5 day market that may or may not be starting tomorrow due to all the hard rain. We’d finished at the last shop, and I was driving, with Tony next to me, down the freeway from the bottom of Bowls Road (ha ha, a bowl, more like a dam) towards Old Selbornian’s Club (well, we would have passed it on our right) and on towards the Abbotsford / Dorchester Heights offramp / onramp (where one comes out if driving down the freeway from the bottom of Bowls Road and doesn’t take the Beacon Bay offramp along the way.

The plan was to drive onto the other freeway at the Abbotsford / Dorchester Heights offramp / onramp and head out towards school to fetch my younger son. Even if it wasn’t raining he wasn’t staying for school sport as is on antibiotics after having visited the doctor the day before, and is still coughing anyway too, even this morning still. My eldest son was already at home, spending his second day at home.

Both my boys are back at school today, both still coughing, and probably wet too, or at least their feet. Their father fetched them from me this morning and took them to school because I couldn’t – it was raining too hard for my little car to make it to school without breaking down.

Hang on. Where was I?

So, crossing over the bottom of Bowls Road to head down the freeway (because I had to because that’s the lane I was in and the traffic lights had changed to green), all I could think was “I don’t want to go down there.” Ahead of me cars were spraying up water all over the place like a trillion kids all trying to get in on the action of getting wet beneath a sprinkler in the back garden.

But down I had to go, and went.

I tried to drive really slowly, with my hazards flashing, but nobody else seemed to care. Other cars went whooshing past spraying water up under my car – which my car really really likes (not).

We got almost as far as the part of the freeway where another road coming out of Southernwood on the left joins the freeway, when my car said “Okay, I admit, I don’t really really like being splashed on my tummy – I’m going to stop and sulk.” My car broke down.

I pleaded with the sulky child to at least freewheel on to the virtually non-existent “safe area” between the freeway and where traffic was coming down from Southernwood to join the freeway. The sulking child barely made it to that silly “not really safe” point. Half my car was in a freeway lane and the other half was in front of traffic wooshing down from Southernwood.

Tony got out and fed the car spray stuff to make her happy again, but she was having none of that – for 15 minutes – and then she gave up trying to be naughty, hicupped, burped, and … we were on our way, with a wet Tony with a sore shoulder and with two cars nearly crashing into us and nearly into each other, with tears running down the windscreens of them all.

Naughty child that my car is, laughed at us. She took us just 100 metres more and stopped to sulk again. My car broke down in the rain again. This time for 50 minutes.

We’d already decided that there was no way in this wet East London in South Africa we were going to go all the way down the freeway to the Abbotsford / Dorchester Heights offramp / onramp to get onto the other freeway and go fetch my son from school, and it was just as we’d started to take the offramp into Pearce Street when Naughty Child stopped to sulk for the second time.

We were slightly more out of the lane than the time before, but I still had to tell Tony that if he was going to stand by my window in the traffic and rain to please at least not turn his back on the traffic wooshing up towards and by us. That traffic wooshing by was a little too close for comfort.

Naughty Child teased us seemingly to no end and must have known my bladder wanted out. Tease and tease some more must be the first words she ever uttered. So many times we thought the car was going to go, and then it didn’t.

I was watching Tony’s lips – and thought they might be turning a little blue. I told him to change out of that wet shirt as we had another in the car as well as two jackets. He didn’t want to listen to me even though he looked as miserable as … the tummy of my car. He said he would change once back inside the car as we were pulling off, but that seemed like it was never going to happen. It wasn’t raining as hard as earlier and I kept insisting he should change, as the new top, while it might get wet, would not get as wet as the top he was suctioned into at the time – and there would still be two tops (jackets) to choose from to put on later. I wanted to shake him or smack him. I didn’t want him getting sick.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, I phoned my ex and asked if he could get away from work and go fetch my younger son and take him home to my folks where we live. It was my night to have the boys. Also, in the middle of it all, I wondered if I’d be invisible to traffic if I got out the car and got more wet (my whole one arm and one leg was soaked because I had the window wide open so I could see the traffic and from time to time stick my arm out to smile and wave hello (not)) and if I jumped over the railing and relieved my bladder in the stream (gutter with water gushing down it). I was d … e … s … p … e … r … a … t … e.

The car started eventually and we got up the offramp, around the corner, and my car broke down in the rain for the third time.

I got out the car, came round to Tony’s side, and said “Bye, I’m going to go look for a toilet. That may only be at the garage there in the distance, so if you start the car, come and get me there, please, and if you don’t stop shaking our next stop needs to be the hospital, not home.” And off I went in the rain.

A pub and restaurant type place jumped out at me a little before I reached the garage. In I went. Dripping wet, and wearing a beanie on my head. I looked like a hobo. I felt like I think a hobo might feel too.

The place was quiet, with just the young manager (or staff member) sitting at a table with books and a pen, and two patrons around the corner. Still feeling like a hobo catching a freebie, I explained that my car had broken down and could I please use the loo? A slow sort of glance – at my beanie, I think, and then finally a “Yes.”

Thank you! Where is it?

Having been pointed in the right direction, off I went.

Okay, I could think again. Well maybe not, because soon after that I was nearly run over in the street due to my own misjudgment.

Even though the walk had been nearly half a mile, I wasn’t sure that Tony had got the car started yet, so I headed off back to where my car had broken down for the third time – on the other side of the road, much further down. I’d crossed the road, then had to cross a side road that comes out at a traffic circle. I misjudged – in the rain and in my miserable state even with a happy bladder – how the two lanes came round the traffic circle and instead of crossing the side road on the side road, I was actually walking in the outer lane coming round the traffic circle – I didn’t realise until a car hooted at me. Then another car was coming from that main road into the side road that I was still trying to get across and I could either take a step back (but where was the car that had just hooted at me?) or take flying leaps in front of the car, trying to get to the curb before the car got to me. I took the flying leaps. My heart was pounding. That car hadn’t even slowed down for me, and I’d only just made it to the pavement.

Of course being on that side of the road, cars parked on the side of the road obscured my view of where our car was parked – or wasn’t parked – much further down the road. I discovered only upon almost reaching that spot that my car was no longer there. Tony must be at the garage, waiting for me to come out the loo there that I hadn’t gone into.

So I started the walk back that way again. I took forever to cross the road again, this time being extra careful, in the rain.

Tony and I found each other. The car limped but got us home. Tony and I and our wet, sulky car were glad to be home.

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2014, 2015

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