While sitting on the side of the road…

As I write this, I am stranded on the side of the highway with a blown engine. It’s 2:00 AM, and my wife and 2 teenage sons are sleeping the best they can. What a way to spend spring break. 
We started this trip on Thursday evening, it’s now Saturday early morning, and about 1.5 hours into our trip, the alternator went out and we had to find a room, then a shop early Friday morning to replace it. $80 for the room and $370 to fix the truck. So we were back on the road by 9:30 AM Friday morning and all was going well until we were driving through the mountains of West Virginia when the engine started knocking. I checked the oil, it was a bit low, so added a few quarts and on we went. Trying to get to Myrtle Beach by check in time. It was driving ok, still knocking, when just south of Ashbero NC a big ole plume of smoke started rolling out from under the car, and then it literally died.
Of course I have roadside assistance, so I called for a tow back to another hotel. Long story short, no tow company was willing to come pick up the 4 of us and the truck unless I could pay them $400 cash up front?!? Yeah, like I have an ATM in my truck, and who carries that much cash anymore? Really, Mr Tow Guy, you don’t accept credit or debit cards? Sounds like a big scam to me. The other option was a tow company who could take 2 people and the truck, leaving 2 of us on the side of the road at midnight to find a cab or walk the 21 miles back to the hotel. So we look for a cab company and the only one in the town went out of business. The only option roadside assistance could find for a ride for the 4 of us was a personal limo company from a town 1 hour away at $94 per hour, minimum of 4 hours, for a trip that would take them 2.5 hours?!? 
So, here we all sit. Waiting until 9:00 AM for the rental car company to open and hope they live up their motto of picking you up. I hope that includes on the side of the road!!!
This has been a vacation from hell, but all be damned if I don’t get them all to the Beach front hotel in Myrtle Beach, even if it’s only for 1 day. As for the truck, don’t really know what to do about getting it fixed, leaving it on the side of the road for whomever wants it, or trying to find a way to tow it back the 900 miles home. A new engine will cost $1000+, only paid $3000 for the entire truck. Maybe cut my losses and leave it….
We’ll see what happens next.
So, after a night on the side of the highway, I called to reserve a rental car when they opened at 9:00 AM. All good… Just needed to request a pickup. After calling for nearly 1 hour and getting no answer, I decided to try and start the truck. To my surprise it actually started so we all jumped in and drove up the exit ramp, still running, turned right started driving down the road. Mind you, the engine is knocking louder than an 80’s rap band, but we make it to the next street and then right heading back to town. We make it about 1 mile and it dies again, nothing..Won’t move. Called the rental car place and still no answer. 
The wife tries starting it and woohoo it turns over. Repeat this process 3x until it just won’t go any further. 
Calling, calling, calling and no answer at the rental car company, wife is freaking out thinking we’re going to spend another day/night stranded. 
Along come a couple of locals, to say they were anything but real locals I’d have to spend the next few paragraphs describing them. They asked what was wring, I told them and they said they were on their way to the local dump. As soon as I mentioned I had $20 for anyone to give me a ride into town, they changed their plans and offered me a ride. Without hesitation I accepted and grabbed my phone, the cash and went to climb in.

The door panels were spray painted pink, the entire dash was duct-taped and spray painted blue. I couldn’t make this up if I tried, but off we went. As he merged into the highway, he said “I haven’t taken this truck on the highway in years”, and by the way it was shaking, I had no reason to doubt him. After a bit of a ride, the older brother said to the younger brother who was driving, “take exit 64, it’s quicker”, so off the highway we went. At the top of the ramp, the truck sputtered and stalled. He says ” I think we’re outta gas”, as he’s trying to restart the truck. 

Heaven or Something else?

The odd neighbor dies and the priest tells everyone at the funeral he is now in heaven. The old school teacher in the retirement home passed away in her sleep and the minister comforts the family telling them they will see her again someday in heaven, so they go on their way comforted.
Almost every religion or culture speaks of somewhere people go after they die. These places are called many different things and are described different but they all have one thing in common, you only get there by dying. Are these places real and are they different places or the same?  
In my recent Psych 600 class, this topic came up for discussion, centered on the main question, is there something else or nothing after death. One question arose asking “is the belief in the afterlife merely a humanistic attempt to make sense out of our existence?” I can see the reasoning behind the question. If there is nothing beyond death, then why are we here and what is the reason for our mortal existence? The flip side is that IF there is something beyond death then our mortal existence can have meaning and our actions can affect what happens to us when we die.
So I pose this question to you in hope you can put forth a worthy argument for or against the afterlife, is there more beyond our daily struggle to survive? Is there a reason you were born, other than to live out your days and die and then that’s it?

Once you face the truth

Growing up, my father often recalled the stories of a childhood filled with homelessness, hunger, and alcohol abuse. This is one of the reasons he worked tirelessly to provide for our family and care for others. He would talk about times he and his siblings would scrounge for change in order to get enough food for the family each day. I believe this is the main reason he left California at 18 years old and never returned. He wanted to separate himself from the life he experienced in the skid row slums of Alameda, CA. He would explain the hardships the family suffered because his father would get a paycheck and drink it all away. 

My father passed away in 2011, after my mother passed away in 2007. As their only child, their passing became my nightmare. I will not blame them for what has happened since then. I will reference those pivotal events as the beginning of a downward spiral which has lead me to become what I am today, an addict. That sentence is the hardest I have ever written. I do not write these words, nor do take this fact lightly. Now what?

What started as a casual activity, shared among friends, has transformed into a solitary daily event. Before you think this is a confession that has an overcoming outcome at the end, I must warn you it is not. I have not been delivered, beat the devil, or any other term you want to add. I am an alcoholic. How did I get here? I’m not sure I can point to one event that tipped the iceberg. I don’t have repressed memories of a haunted childhood that have come to light. I have never suffered mental, sexual, or physical abuse that has caused me to seek comfort in a bottle or in pills. I can not blame someone else for this, nor do I want too. 

So I have admitted my faults in front of God and anyone else reading this, what now? I could go on and on about what I could do, should do, or will do. I could say this is the first step of recovery or the fight begins now, but that would be a lie. I like drinking. I like the feeling it gives me and the way I can retreat into my own world with my headphones on while I’m drinking. I hate the way it makes those close to me, feel the way they do about me when I’m drinking. I regret the things I say to my family, even though I can’t remember it. So, I move forward. What now? I don’t have the answer. Not even sure why I am writing this because now everyone knows that I know what is happening. 

Once you face the truth there is no way you can sent the facts. Now what?

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