Are You Sure You’re Not in Denver?

This is a fast story from my days living in Raleigh, NC in 1999.

I was making one of the many trips from Raleigh to Chapel Hill to participate in a library consortium meeting. Now the thing about that is, for me, a commute of 5 miles seems like FOREVER…and when we moved to Raleigh, everyone spoke about Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as if they were connected at the hip. So, being the naive person I was, I had no idea that a trip from Raleigh to Chapel Hill was over 30 miles.  And if you know anything about me, it’s that I HATE DRIVING.  I do – I’ve always hated driving, and I particularly hate driving long distances (and yes, the commute to Chapel Hill was, in my mind, a LONG DRIVE).

To make matters worse, the car I was stuck with at the time, a CURSED Pontiac Grand AM, seemed to be suffering from a debilitating case of leprosy.  For no reason I could fathom, various things would randomly fall off the car…like the rear view mirror, a muffler, the door handle (OK, I seemed to have yanked that off in a George-the-Animal-Steel moment, but still – an entire door handle ripped off by an average sized 29 year old female???). I dreaded taking that car anyplace beyond our apartment and NC State University.  The first time I did a dry run from Raleigh to Chapel Hill, on a Sunday, in the rain, my car died about 3/4 of the way there on I-40. And of course I was alone because I insisted on going by myself early in the morning before my husband had woken up. Luckily, I had my brick-sized cell phone with me that morning so I could call a pick-up truck (one of several as it turns out).

Fast forward a few months to the most recent (and thankfully last) trip to Chapel Hill where I was the driver. All went well on the way there but on the way home, after I dropped off one of my colleagues in Morrisville (a tiny town outside of Research Triangle Park) my car decided it was too far for it to manage and gave up the ghost. In the the middle of nowhere. At 5PM – and my husband was waiting for me at a campus bar to pick him up (as we only had one car at the time).  I pulled out my trusty (but hated) cell phone and crap…it was dead. I was stuck. I was a bit panicky and possibly teary eyed. Well, definitely teary eyed. I hated where we were living, I was homesick and my job was stressful so having a complete breakdown by the side of the road on I-40 next to a forest was the most reasonable thing I could think to do.

Luckily,  a stranger stopped (well, at first I was thinking Chainsaw Massacre, but the guy was really nice). He offered me the use of his cell phone to call AAA.  I think I got the agent with a room temperature IQ of 76 – probably employed only because of nepotism.  The conversation went something like this:

Agent: AAA can I help you?
Me: Yes, my car died and I need a tow truck.
Agent: Ok – what’s your location?
Me: A few miles outside of Morrisville, NC on I-40.
Agent: North Carolina? My records are indicating that this call is from Denver, CO
Me: No, I’m in North Carolina, but I’m borrowing a cell phone from a person that is from Colorado.
Agent: You’re not in Colorado?
Me: No, I’m stuck on I-40 outside Morrisville in North Carolina
Agent: Are you sure you’re not in Denver, Co? My records indicate that the phone is associated with Colorado.
Me (by this time I’m at my wit’s end): Do you really think I would mistake Colorado for North Carolina? I need a tow truck – I don’t care where you think I am – I am telling you I am on 1-40 by Morrisville in NORTH CAROLINA.
Agent: Well ok – are you sure it’s North Carolina?
Me: Can I speak to someone else? I can’t believe this is happening.
Agent: I’m sorry – yes, we will send out the tow truck.
Me: Thank you.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   That’s pretty much all I can say for that experience. I should have told her I was in the STATE OF HELL (thank you Alice).

And that’s my story.

Credit: Ecards

Credit: Ecards

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Driving, Humor, Librarian, Random Thoughts, Story and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Are You Sure You’re Not in Denver?

  1. stephrogers says:

    I’m laughing a lot, but then I feel bad because I shouldn’t be laughing, but then there it is, still laughing!

  2. rossmurray1 says:

    But are any of us, you know, somewhere? You know, man?

  3. jlheuer says:

    Well don’t move to Wisconsin. I had to call AAA from a snow bank in the middle of an ice storm ( it wasn’t doing that when I started out). They were very helpful but my hatred of driving was reinforced at that point.

  4. The Waiting says:

    I can attest to the fact that the Research Triangle is exceptionally sprawlish. One time we decided to drive to Chapel Hill instead of our usual Raleigh, and C just about had a breakdown because she wanted to get out so much. Never again.

  5. I was once locked out of my phone. Then in the process of trying to get into my personal email used for that phone, THAT got locked out (I was having a bad day). I got on the phone with the email company, and after about 30 min of bouncing around, I finally got through to someone (online) and he said he was going to send me the instructions to get unlocked.

    To my email account. the one that got locked out.

    I told him that I can’t read an email telling me how to get unlocked from my email account from an email I am locked out of.

    Oh, he said. Do you have another email address I can send it to?


    We all get those experiences. I just imagine that these poor sods get crappy wages and get harassed by lots of angry customers. Vicious cycle!

    • That’s brilliant – yes, please send me an email to my account that I cannot get to….

      I work in IT and I often get emails with little to no information about their issues – something like “It’s kicking me out” – sigh.. then 5 emails later, I finally get the details that will actually allow me to help them. So I know it works both ways –

      But I really like these kinds of weird things (even though at the time I was so distraught) but in retrospect it was quite funny!

  6. Twindaddy says:

    I just assumed you were in the state of denial.

  7. Are you sure you’re not on Mars? A state of hell, yes!! Oh, brother. That guy did not make matters any easier! Car problems are the worst. A light on my car is going on lately. I need to take care of it pronto. And I don’t have AAA, either. I’m glad you were rescued!

  8. Brigitte says:

    Sometimes I think it’s because they (people on the other end) are reading from a script and they are told to keep doing that until they just can’t anymore. I’m glad you made it safe and sound though and wow, those cell phones. I had one that you carried around in a case. HA!

    Seriously is North Carolina that bad? I’ve never lived there but have visited/driven through. I always had this romantic notion that Chapel Hill was full of creative artsy types. No?

    Maybe the people on the other end thought you were in Rocky Mountain High if you know what I’m saying and they just wanted to make sure. (smile)

    • Hee hee – well this was 1999 – so I don’t know about that public Rocky Mountain High!

      I think North Carolina is a great state for some – it was just not a good fit for me at the time. I was very homesick and was experiencing huge culture shock for the first time. I would have loved Chapel Hill cause it was very artsy!

  9. djmatticus says:

    Wow. That’s terrible… and hilarious. And I’m sorry, but I’m laughing. So… 😛

  10. JackieP says:

    Are you sure you’re where you are at? Really, really sure? Oh man, I’ve had my fair share of bad ones too. I just usually ask for their supervisor. Ugh.

    • I am surprised I just didn’t wail into the phone! I am NOT SURE WHERE I AM ANYMORE!!! 🙂

      I was glad she finally said “OK” and sent the tow truck…I was seriously losing it and can only imagine what the guy that was loaning me his phone was thinking (or how much his phone bill was since it was 1999 and we were all paying too much!).

  11. Carrie Rubin says:

    Unbelievable. I get so frustrated by customer service people thinking the caller has no clue what’s going on or whatever the problem is must surely be the caller’s fault. I know not all customer service reps are like this–I’ve had some really wonderful ones, too–but it’s the negative experiences like yours that really stink the whole thing up. No wonder you don’t like driving!

  12. Jennie Saia says:

    Sigh. I am sorry, no matter how many years ago it happened. You always seem to get the poorest service when it’s the worst possible timing. And yes, Raleigh and Chapel Hill are light years apart! I was actually raised at the coast because my parents left Raleigh when I was 3 – they just couldn’t deal with the commute on I-40 anymore.

    • Durham and Chapel Hill are only like 3 miles apart, right? That was easy!!

      Now it’s totally funny what happened – just at the moment it was like the worst thing possible…but it probably had some sort of ‘builds character’ side affect!

      I did love Chapel Hill – it had earth day – and a greenspace on campus, we had the brickyard at my university! Hee hee…

  13. Haha. Would you like a sweet roll with that? Are you sure you don’t want a sweet roll? Sorry, remembering that bit from Sesame Street. Like, what was wrong with you, not knowing what state you were in! Gawd!

  14. El Guapo says:

    Brick cellphone with a Detroit area code? Wow, chainsaw guy must have spent a fortune on that call!

    I have yet to have a bad time with AAA.
    Sadly, I usually need them because I locked my keys in the car.

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