I've had my car for over six years - never so much as a peep out of that thing. Maybe I changed the oil late a few times, but it keeps on truckin'. Until yesterday. Thanksgiving, of all days. I am not thankful for car troubles.

I was headed home to family and had a two-hour drive ahead of me. So good thing my oil light flashed on almost immediately. I drove to the nearest gas station, which, unfortunately, was a good 10 miles away. When I popped the hood, I could see the oil had splattered all over the inner-workings of my car. You know, the car guts.


When I checked my oil, it was empty. I just had an oil change a month ago.


When I filled it with two quarts of fresh oil, and turned the car back on, every last drop poured onto the ground.


I took that as a bad sign, and called mom.

"Oh, you know, just stranded in a podunk town of 14 people and two gas stations and my car won't hold its oil."


Determined to get home, I called my sister, who'd also be on her way home. Only, she lives over an hour south of where I was stranded, and heading north to get me was the opposite of convenient. But she was going to do it.


I left my car and its two quarts of spilled oil in the parking lot, defeated. I'd have to wait a while for my ride. The gas station attendant, bless his heart, felt bad for the poor, twenty-something and gave me a place to sit and a free cup of coffee.

"You know," he said, "a lot of families are heading through, on their way out of town for the holiday. I can ask if anyone's headed south. Maybe you could catch a ride? Meet your sister?"

I pondered and read the headline in my mind: "Hitch-hiking, 26-year-old found dead in ditch, stripped of possessions."

"Great!" I said. "Let's do it!"

Dude, what? I wanted to get home. Friendly gas station attendant was not going to let me get kidnapped. About 10 minutes later, a guy walked in, well-dressed, clearly on his way to family. He had his sister in the car with him; it was a nice SUV. They were waiting for their mom, then heading out.

Then fate struck. They were headed to exactly the same place as me. They could drop me off, literally, five minutes from my parent's house.


I added it up: well-dressed man, friendly sister, chatty mother, fancy SUV, Thanksgiving. I was going to be just fine. As soon as I saw the sister reading "Twilight" in the front seat, I knew I had found my safe haven.

"Woman lured into death trap by teen vampire romance novel."

But, as it turned out, they were great people. Friendly as can be, headed back home for the holiday weekend. They had been in my neck of the woods to run the local 5-mile race I had just helped set up that morning.

Runners! "Twilight" fans! I mean, really, this was, like, a cosmic connection. We spent an hour and 45 minutes chatting about "Twilight," discussing marathon training, sharing Thanksgiving plans. I dare say I was a little sad to say goodbye to my new friends. But I did. And I made it home with all my pieces still attached.

My car? Not so much, apparently. I took my dad's Jeep Wrangler back home this morning (w00t! off-roading!) (uh, just kidding!) and met my uncle (car fixer aficionado) back at the old gas station, where my car was resting patiently. The damn thing didn't want to start. The oil still did not want to stay in its oil place.



My uncle towed my car away, and is taking it to his people who can diagnose and fix it without charging me an arm and a leg. Maybe just a leg. But I kind of need my legs. So maybe I can bargain and surrender an arm instead.

However, if the problem is near-fatal, and going to cost more than the dang thing is worth, it's a lost cause. At which time I become a lost cause. Because what do I do without a car? Hm.

Perhaps I'll just skip town with dad's Jeep. I could go all "Into the Wild" on everyone's ass, and off-road into the Alaskan wilderness without so much as a note. But that guy didn't have a vehicle with him. And, uh, well I don't want to die, so...

Oh, and Harley and Chicken would be PISSED.

Conundrum. Really.