Embarrassment, Despair, Car Repairs

I bumped into an acquaintance on 4th Avenue in Vancouver this weekend. I recalled he was just finishing (or had finished) medical school and congratulated him so, even calling him doctor, which felt weird to say to a guy I would consider my contemporary (he’s a few years older).
It was good timing, the Dr. praise, for he was just a week away from finishing his residency. Nice! And then I introduced him to my friends as my cousin. It dawned on me after we parted that he is in fact not my cousin, nor of any relation at all. I always get his family confused with my actual cousin’s family, whose eldest son is also at med school.
Ya, I don’t get myself, either. Now to think of it, this has probably happened before, and would explain the awkward encounters I’ve had with both the Dr. and with my cousin’s family.
The next day (Sunday, today) Eileen and I were just leaving the MEC parking lot when I offered my one hour dashboard pass to an incoming car. I told the woman as she rolled down her window: It’s still got half an hour on it. She was very happy to take it.
Eileen was a little more skeptical: “We still had half an hour left?”
“Ya, I looked at it, it said we purchased it at 1:07, it’s 1:37 now.”
“Er, it’s 2:37 now. We spent an hour-and-a-half, not an hour, in the store.”
Hmm, so it was. We left the scene as fast as we could. I hoped the woman with the expired ticket didn’t notice the time, but I also hope she checked it, cursed us, but avoided getting a fine or getting her car towed.
Which brings us to the despair of the day. I won’t call what happened next karma, because–well, because I really didn’t deserve this, no matter how much I stuck my foot in my mouth this weekend.
As we’re driving over the Oak Street Bridge on our way to the ferry home the car dies. Just a couple hundred metres onto one of the busiest bridges in Vancouver our little Mazda 323 sputtered and gave up. And it wouldn’t start again no matter how hard we prayed.
By the time we got back from a pay phone to call a tow truck traffic was, to put it mildly, a little backed up. The tow driver, a burly tattooed man with a couple pounds of piercings, arrived 30 minutes later and told us with a grin that’d we’d clogged up Oak Street for at least 20 blocks.
So we got towed to Canadian Tire. Eileen caught the bus to the boat (she has two job interviews Monday morning in Victoria) and I’m stuck in Vancouver another night to get the car fixed first thing tomorrow.

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