The cab of shame…

Why is it that when we’re already emotionally challenged, something else happens and even as an independent, confident adult, we appear unable to think or deal with the crisis on our own?

I am one of those people who hate being late, and rarely break the rules, especially when it comes to appointments and parking. So you can just imagine how dangerously high my stress levels were when I was still trying to find a parking space 5 minutes after my appointment had started. This was a first meeting, so not the greatest way to start a new relationship with a person whom you’re hoping is going to help you deal with your daily stresses in life because of a chronic illness. Now, I’m sure someone put up the sign I didn’t see while I was actually in my appointment. Either that, or a bird or a cloud, or something was blocking it when I did actually park. Needless to say I emerged from my appointment almost 2 hours later to find Mercury – my beloved MINI convertible – GONE!!

As I stood there, starring at the empty space, presumably expecting my car to somehow miraculously reappear, my emotions, already slightly fragile (NB British Understatement) from the appointment, got the better of me and I was suddenly unable to think or do anything for myself. What did I do? Call the husband of course, who was smack-bang in the middle of the operating room, patient on the table, room full of people… and now a blubbering wife in absolute tatters on the other end of the phone. Instinct told me that I had been towed before I saw the sign – you know, the one that they put up while I was in my appointment. The calming and familiar voice of hubby talked me through the steps I needed to take, because remember I was unable to think for myself now, and I finally managed to call the tow company. I couldn’t even give them the correct license plate, but at least I could remember the numbers, just not in the right order. Thank the Lord!! Mercury was safely in the pound, but I now had to go to the pound…

Another phone call to hubby, among the beeping of machines and the voices of busy healthcare professionals. “Excuse me, I know you’re straightening someone’s spine, but I’ve been towed; this is far more important right now”. I was instructed to get in a cab. Luckily for me I was right next to the city’s general hospital, so cabs were ten a penny. I peered into the open passenger side window and quietly muttered the address. A loud Caribbean accent hit back at me. ‘Oh! You been towed?’ Honestly, the shame! He turned out to be really friendly and chatty, as I sat in the back, traumatised. He refused a tip, told me exactly where I had to go, and what I would need to do. I didn’t question how he’d become so knowledgeable in this matter. I sheepishly slid up to the empty window and begin the process of retrieving Mercury, practically offering my right kidney when asked for a method of payment, anything, take anything I just want my car back! At least it was warm and sunny when I finally fired up the engine. I rolled the top down and… oh no, I had to stop at two gates to get out, should have left the roof up! I put my head down instead, in the hope I wouldn’t be caught on camera for my picture to be plastered all over the city. I could almost see the caption: ‘Romance Novelist Busted for Abandoning Her Car Illegally!!’

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