Car trouble, waiting and the Veg Fest

I awoke on Saturday morning excited to begin the day. The Central Florida Veg Fest was taking place and since I am a new vegetarian, this was something I was really looking forward to. The event would have food from all of the local vegetarian-friendly restaurants, animal activists, environmentalists, veg speakers, and more.

So, I left the house a little later than I had originally planned, but since the event was going on all day, the time I arrived that morning wasn’t really of consequence. Everything was going well, that is until I got on the interstate. My car then began to make an awful clicking noise on the right side. I knew that this noise must have something to do with the problem my car experienced on Thursday evening, the problem my brother had thought was solved. This noise made it obvious that the problem had only hidden itself the day before and was making a reappearance. I pulled off at the first off-ramp that I could and hit the button to call On*Star. It looked like my Saturn would be going into the dealership to be looked at after all.

The representative from On*Star and I spoke as I drove carefully down the road trying to find a safe place to pull over and await the tow truck. Spotting a high school, I decided to pull into the parking lot even though I wasn’t so contented with the area I was now in. It wasn’t the safest part of town and all I could hope for was that the tow truck would be able to arrive fairly quickly. Once my parked location was relayed to roadside assistance, I disconnected the call with On*Star and waited for the call that would inform me of the estimated ETA of the tow. A couple of minutes later, my cell phone went off and the automated voice informed me that it would be an hour and a half before I could expect a tow truck to get to my location. An hour and a half. I had already expressed my concern with my current location to the On*Star rep stating that I wasn’t really comfortable waiting there for very long, so hearing that my wait would be that long disturbed me.

Hoping to get the gears turning at the Saturn dealership while I dealt with my extremely long wait, I dialed the phone number to where my car would be heading for service. Upon speaking with the service adviser, she informed me that if I didn’t arrive by noon, there would be no way of getting a loaner rental vehicle. This would render me completely car less. Not good at all. I got out of the car and walked over to the side where I had heard the noise as I spoke with the adviser, and didn’t really see anything obviously wrong (a la a flat). Seeing nothing, I inquired about possible problems and what they could do if I drove the car in an attempt to make it to the dealer rather than await the tow. Of course, they couldn’t advise me that driving the car would be okay, but that if it was the CV joint (which is what my brother thought it was) that if it totally went, it would feel similar to loosing power steering. Having had experienced that loss last year, I felt that I could possibly carefully drive the vehicle.

Carefully, I started the trek toward the Saturn dealership. They were about 25 minutes from where I currently was, so I crossed my fingers that the car would get me there safely without further incident. As I drove, I came to realize that the car was a rough and bumpy ride and attempting to exceed 30 mph was not the best idea, as the car became very noisy and even more bumpy. I became increasingly more scared as I drove down the road, and decided that I could no longer attempt to drive this car any longer. So, I pulled over into a hotel parking lot and parked. I was now about 10 minutes from Saturn, but my fear of breaking down or causing further damage to my car overruled and I was done. Made a call to Saturn and spoke to the adviser informing her of my current address, stating that I was not only too fearful to continue the drive, but that I had to have a rental car to drive, there was no way I could be without wheels. Thankfully, I was in luck seeing as how I was near the airport, she made a call and was able to arrange a rental at the airport car rental company for after noon, since it was already quarter to twelve. I thanked her and then made another call to On*Star to update them about my new whereabouts.

Now, the waiting would begin! Having already experienced a lot of waiting at the e.r. earlier in the week, another period of waiting for something thrilled me. Alas, there wasn’t much I could do, and I told myself that at least I was in a safer location now and had a rental lined up, so things were looking upward. And, that I could still make the Veg Fest since it lasted until 6pm. That would at least bring some fun to the day in the end. I locked up my car and headed into the hotel since I wasn’t going to wait in the heat of the parking lot. Once inside, I told the desk employee that my car was in their lot (they had signs about parking there) and that I was awaiting a tow truck.

Fast-forward to over an hour later and lots of pacing around the hotel lobby and the outside of said hotel, I was still waiting. Finally, a ray of sunshine in the form of a black tow truck! The guy took my information and the car was off to Saturn. And me, well, I was off to the airport to get my loaner car so I could try to enjoy the rest of my day off. It was now over three hours from the time my car began making that clicking noise and I was slowly but surely getting my day back on track.

Upon getting to the airport, I walked down to where the rental car company’s desk was. Guess what I saw? Yup, another line! Waiting and I were serious best pals this week. On top of that, I now had a killer headache. I was sure it was from not only the stress of everything, but from a lack of eating. So, the noise of the airport combined with my throbbing head made the twenty plus minute wait for the rental so much fun. Even after checking in with the desk agent, the journey to get the car wasn’t over, oh no. I then had to take the elevator down one more level and then take two escalators to reach the parking garage where my vehicle would be. As I reached the top of the escalator and turned the corner, I saw cars and rental company employees! And yes, my car was just feet from me. Two minutes later, I was pulling the little Kia out of the airport garage and heading back on the road.

Less than a half hour later, I was at my original destination, the Veg Fest. I told myself to let the stress go and have a good time. And, I did. The event was awesome, I spoke with a lot of nice people about being a vegetarian, animal rights, organics and eventually converting to being a vegan. I also enjoyed some amazing veggie/vegan food. When I first arrived, I approached the Z-Cafe, this is a vegetarian cafe that is located in the Orlando library. From them, I got a very tasty strawberry smoothie. Then later, I was able to try one of Pizza Fusion’s vegan chocolate brownie’s which is heaven in the form of a baked good. To top it all off, I did have some protein in the form of Dandelion Communitea Cafe’s delicious veggie chili with blue corn chips and iced green tea. It was such a fun event and it really made my day go from bad to great.

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