On Saturday, all I wanted to do was take everyone to a show in the city. We almost paid with our lives.
I was darting up the New Jersey Turnpike towards the Lincoln Tunnel. Just before Exit 15, in the heart of the industrial ugliness of Newark, a piece of something—metal or rubber or plastic—catapulted off a dump truck ahead of us in the next lane. It bounced in a high arc once, twice, and then shot under our car. It happened in a matter of seconds but I saw the whole thing unfold in slow motion.
It smacked the bottom of our car hard, like someone punched it. *bang* I looked in my rear view and saw thick smoke billowing out the back of my car. My wife yelled, “What was that?!” I looked at my daughters and their eyes were wide with fear. My oil light clicked on. My hands hurt and I realized it was from gripping the steering wheel.
My mind was racing through scenarios. The object could have gone through the windshield instead of under the car. It could have ruptured my fuel tank and we could’ve been blown to bits. The car could have flipped. There could’ve been someone tailgating and they might have slammed into my back end. We weren’t out of danger yet.
An exit came up. I took it. The car was losing power fast. It finally died, and I mean died, on a street that might see traffic during business hours, but on a late Saturday afternoon with a winter storm and a deep freeze approaching, there was no one. We were across the street from some giant oil tanks. Nothing was open. It was an apocalyptic, industrial wasteland. The temperatures were plummeting, it was getting dark and it started snowing.
I am never going to badmouth cell phones again.
Miracle #1: My wife is a member of AAA but the membership is restricted to her car. It doesn’t include mine. A few days ago, I received an offer in the mail to attach a second driver in the same household to the membership at no additional cost for the length of the current contract. I rarely drive but I thought it couldn’t hurt and since it’s free, I responded to the offer. Guess when I signed up? Right before we left for the city. I was a member for about an hour and I called AAA to come get me.
Miracle #2: We sat for about :15 minutes gathering our senses, calming down, figuring out a plan when a Port Authority police car just happened to pass by. It was one of the few cars we’d seen since we broke down. They set up flares and called for the police. We were only about five miles from the Newark Airport so they drove my Bride and Daughters to a Hertz rental car agency there while I stayed with the car. We called AAA to confirm the tow truck was on its way and everyone left.
Busy night for tow trucks. I waited for three hours. It was dark, scary, lonely, quiet and cold. I froze my ass off but was glad my family was somewhere safe and warm. During that three hours, I had two complete and total strangers pull up and ask if I was okay or needed help. One was a Latino kid in his mid-20’s and the other was a middle-aged Jamaican. Who pulls up to a car with its hood up in a desolate neighborhood during a winter storm and says, “Hey, brother, are you okay?” Angels walk this earth.
A flatbed tow truck took my car to a garage in downtown Newark. They called me this afternoon. The object I hit pinged around and caused severe damage. My oil filter housing was snapped clean off and lodged near my muffler, becoming a second projectile. All the oil drained and that caused irreparable damage to the rods and bearings, whatever the hell those are. The engine is cooked to the tune of $3,200.
But we’re alive.
My wife drove the rental from the airport and picked me up at the garage in Newark. We got home late. The dog was laying on the sofa. The tip of her tail started the thump-thump-thump, happy to see me dance. I sat next to her. Pet. Pet. Pet.
That fucking dog bit me again.
It’s a bad one this time. Probably the worst bite yet.
I didn’t touch her in a weird spot or approach her in an aggressive manner. It came out of nowhere. I wish that dog would drop dead. Dogs suck. They’re dirty, stupid, needy, smelly beasts. I’ve never liked them. Plus, I think my car it totaled.
So…How was your Valentine’s Day?
i have that nightmare – things flying out of trucks, into windshields, heads, etc. Very, very glad you navigated it safely and got to an exit. Would have been tougher on the cops/trow truck had you been on the shoulder still…
The dog? Lawsuit awaits. If the dog bites you, the dog will bite other people – not “if” but “when” and “who”. i’d be absolutely astonished if the dog had not already bitten one or both of your daughters, and they have covered it up, knowing it will be the end of the dog. That’s what i’d do if i were a little girl, trying to protect a dog.
Find a rescue group that will take the dog. There are breed-specific rescue groups that would take that $800 ball of evil off your hands, place him with a trainer who will either fix the problem and adopt the dog to a home that can manage it, or will say the dog can’t be rehabilitated and get rid of it humanely.
i remain SO VERY ANGRY at that dog. That dog has ruined you for all of the amazing and wonderful dogs out there. When you go to get another dog? Go with a ‘breed specific rescue’. There has to be a rescue organization out there for some of the non-shedding dog breeds. Hell, offer to make a one-for-one trade with the Cockapoop rescue group…
Worst case? Maybe the damn dog needs to go for many rides on the NJT in the back of a truck.
And this: http://cockapoo.rescueme.org/NewJersey
Contact these people. Tell them the dog is not suitable for a home with children – and then ask them to find you one that is.
While I’ve been catching up on these comments, I got a text from my Bride. My 8-year old spent an hour and a half crying because she thinks we’re getting rid of the dog. My wife finally calmed her down and put her to bed and now, as I type this, she’s in her bed, lying in the dark crying again. I appreciate all this great advice. Everyone seems to know exactly what I should do. I’ve even had a few scold me that I need to man-up, grow some hair on my balls and take control of the situation, etc. etc. Everyone is so tough and knowledgeable from a safe distance, but nobody commenting has to live with the consequences.
We’re going to a behaviorist on Monday. Foolish, I know. The drinks and the laughs are on me.
I do understand…. ❤
This won’t be the first or the last time you have to be the bad guy. They will realize its for the best (it will take a while) but they will get over it.
Tell me, at what point does an 8-year old realize it’s for her own good? Not right away, right?
No. Most definitely not right away. You know what? You will do what is right for you and your darling little girls. I know all too well how easy it is for someone else to see clearly and tell you what you should do. Even when my baby was bitten, after 5 days in the hospital, she looked for the dog for a couple days. It was heartbreaking, to see my tiny baby girl standing by the back door calling out for the dog. Dammit. I do not envy you this time. I hope the behaviorist can help.
What a rough day. At least you lived. I’m a retired mailman, so you have my permission to shoot the dog.
Hi. Welcome aboard. Did you ever have to mace a snarling dog? I’ll bet that’s kind of cool to do. I’d like to see the look on its stupid, snarling face.
We use pepper spray. But only once for me, because I was careful to avoid canine situations. I never walked to a front door if there was any unrestrained dog nearby. The one dog I sprayed was a vicious little demon not much bigger than a chihuahua. It got an inch away from my ankle, yapping and snarling, and I knew it would bite if I so much as flinched. So I gave him a big, generous dose of the pepper. Know what? It backed off about 6 inches and licked its face quizzically. But that gave me enough space and time to jump back into my truck. I wish I could have kicked it over a tree, but there are job-preservation things to consider.
That made me laugh very hard. Oh, how I wish there was a video you could upload to YouTube.
Glad you liked it. But sorry, no video.
My comment (which was along the lines of others’, in that I suggested a muzzle or a replacement GOOD dog) appears to have been removed by cyber gremlins.
Very, very lucky no one was hurt(apart from your wallet!) in that accidental flying rubbish. I’ve been first-on-scene at a steel pole through a windscreen.
Only you and your family can decide on the dog.
This isn’t the first time your comment has been eaten. What gives? Did you do something to make the internet mad at you?
My auto insurance deductible is $500 so aside from that, it’s not costing me anything. Even the rental car I have in the interim is paid for. But…yeah…we were shaken up but nobody was hurt. That’s the main thing.
Glad you survived, because now we can be breakdown buddies!
A silver lining!
So glad you are OK an someone was watching over you. Lose that pooch!
Stuff Valentine’s Day!
I just read this James Thurber piece and thought of you and your beast.
“She said he had a quick temper but that he didn’t hold a grudge.”
I’m glad you survived that car incident and that there are helpful people out there. You should totally get rid of your dog. Don’t you know that keeping pets is like animal slavery??? So I’ve been told anyway.
Accident was even more of a near-miss than I realized. While dropping in a new engine, the mechanics noticed that the object knocked a hole in the floor and also dented the gas tank. We’re lucky to be alive.
Holy crap Mark… glad you guys got out of it okay. That’s just scary.