Bumps In The Road

Welcome to Author Next Door!

A few weeks ago I took my car in for its yearly state inspection. While waiting, I had flashbacks from last year’s inspection, the one I joke cost me $2000.

About a month before the inspection last year I backed out of the garage and hit our large plastic garbage bin, breaking the rear light clear protective plastic. I don’t usually do things like that—other people do. My handyman husband did a great job gluing all the pieces back together BUT…the light didn’t pass inspection. It needed to be replaced.

Easy fix, right? Not! These days you can’t just buy the one small, clear replacement piece. You have to buy the whole dad-gum three-foot-long section unit that costs almost $350, plus pay around $75 labor costs to have it installed. After calling several dealerships to price the part I ended up driving to another town nearby to pick one up.

But my financial journey wasn’t over yet. When I got back into my car with the box holding the replacement light unit, the car wouldn’t start. My battery was dead! Since I had to pay the dealership’s service department to replace the battery I went ahead and paid them to install the part I’d just bought as well.

What else could go wrong?

I’ve got to stop asking that question. On the way home the AC went out. In Texas it’s still in the 90s even in September, so AC here is not optional. The only silver lining was that my hoses didn’t have the dreaded “black death.” All told, last year work done to inspect and fix my car came to around $2000.

This year, everything was normal. After a boring hour of sitting in the waiting room playing Sudoku on my phone, I paid the regular fee.

While normal is great for the pocketbook, it doesn’t make for a good story. I’m going to laminate this epiphany for my collection, because while personally I prefer to avoid conflict and hardship, as a writer I’ve learned to embrace them. In fact, I’ll admit that on occasion I’ve actually enjoyed the process of making life “sucky and suckier” (thank you, Debra Dixon) for the characters in my story.

May optimism and a sense of humor help us navigate bumps in the road of life, and may our creativity and imagination transform them into copy for our next book!