October 01, 2006

Cruise - Day 1

Well, it's actually early evening one. Interesting how this goes. The ship starts sailing in the evening. Throughout the night, you are headed for your next destination. When you get up for breakfast, you are there. Teresa had just dropped us off at the terminal and drove away. The latest we could be there was 4:30pm and we were there about 4:20. They were already doing a lifeboat drill with all the passengers. We found our stateroom and dropped of the things we had carried on board. It was mandantory that we participate in the lifeboat drill. We were directed to Muster Station 12. After the drill, it was back to the stateroom to check things out. We were quite impressed by how large it was. I had visions of us standing along the bow watching San Pedro harbor slip away as we start on our journey. That was all shattered with the ringing of my cell phone. The reason I have included the first photo is because I was looking down at these guys from our stateroom window when my phone went off. I look at the caller ID and see it's Teresa. I feel my heart drop. I was hoping that she had been unable to get on the freeway and was asking for directions, but the time between her dropping us off and the call was too long. Even if she hadn't found the freeway, she would have been home by now if she had taken surface streets. I answer the phone. She is almost incoherent. I hear accident. Shit!!!! "Did you hit something!? What happened!?" I hear here say that she hit something. I couldn't make it out. I thought that maybe she had hit some stationary object. Then the cell went dead. No signal. Mike and I run up to the bow outside and get a strong signal. I call her back. From what I could make out, she had gone to make a lane change. She checked her mirror, looked over her shoulder in the blind spot and then started to move to the left. Suddenly, she hears noise and realizes that she's been hit. She tries to move back to the right, but whatever has hit her is moving to the right too. Turns out it was a large commercial vehicle. It has chewed the driver's side bumper, the fender and scraped the side of the car, just missing the door. They both come to a stop. The rear tire is shredded, the rim destroyed. The car cannot drive. The driver of the truck gives her a company "1-800" number and the number off the truck and takes off. As far as Teresa can see, there is minimal damage to the truck. However, since there was more than $750 damage to her car, they were supposed to give her their driver's license and proof of insurance. So, these motherfuckers basically abandoned a 17 year old, distraught, girl with a disabled car. After they left, a tow truck appears on the scene. My daughter thought that maybe the roofing company had sent this truck to pick up the car and so she didn't think anything was wrong when he hooked up the car. That's where she made the first phone call to me. She was actually sitting in the passenger seat of the tow truck when she called me. This is where things get really, really bizarre. I could not figure out how this tow truck came into the picture. This is the conversation between me and my daughter as I can best remember it:

Me: "You're calling me from the tow truck?"
Her: "Yes!"
Me: "Where did this tow truck come from? Is it AAA?"
Her "No! I didn't call them. He just pulled up"
Me: "Wait a second! Who called him? Did the police come to the accident scene? Did they call him? Is the car being impounded?"
Her: "No. No one called the police. This truck just showed up and hooked up to the car."
Me: "Wait. This doesn't make any sense. Where did this truck come from?"
Her: "I think the guy who hit me called them."
Me: "I seriously doubt someone who left the scene without giving you any information would call a tow truck. Where is he taking you?"
Her: "Power Volkswagen"
Me: "No!!! Power Volkswagen is gone!!! He can't take you there! They are no longer in Torrance. You have to go to Pacific Volkswagen! Besides, they are the one who we bought the car from. You have to take it to them!" (At this point, I thought that somehow Pacific Volkswagen had been contacted because they offer a free tow to their dealerships.)
Her: She's talking to the driver. I hear her say that the car has to be towed to Pacific Volkswagen. It's around this time that I hear her say, "Oh! He's taken me to whatever body shop.
Me: "Wait a second? A body shop!? Where did he take you? I want the car towed to the house. Did you sign anything?"
Her: "No"
Me: "Did you ask him to tow the car?"
Her: "No! He just pulled up and hitched up the car. I thought he had been sent to the scene."

At that time, I wanted to talk to the driver. He refused to talk to me. I think it was around this time that Mike took the cell phone to get more information. It turns out that this tow truck driver tows wrecked cars to this body shop and gets kick backs from the body shop owner. Mike finally got the driver on the phone and chewed him out. He refused to pay for the tow job and threatened to call the police. Soon as the guy heard the word police, he unhitched the car and took off. During all this, I asked my daughter if we should abort the cruise and come help her. She declined. She didn't want to ruin our cruise. I didn't car. I wanted to help her. I asked her if I should call my sister, her aunt, and have her take care of things. She declined again. At this point, the gang plank was pulled away. They pulled the anchors up. The ship gives several large blasts over it's horn. We are leaving. There is no way off now. If we are to go to her now, we are going to have to wait until we get to San Diego. We are standing on the bow of the ship trying to calm our daughter and get details of what the hell just happened. I was extremely worried about her. She is at some sleazy body shop, with the owner. Her car is disabled. Mike called the police to have drive by and make sure she was okay. I told her to call AAA and have the car towed to the house. I wanted her home more than the car, though. I told her to call me as soon as she got ahold of AAA. She called me back and said that they were going to be there in a half an hour. I told her to please call me as soon as she gets home. We are under sail. I was worried that we were going to lose our signal. Turns out we didn't need to worry. There is something called Cellular at Sea. We had a strong signal. Oh! And to make matters worse, Teresa's cell phone battery had gone dead. Her last few phone calls were from the body shops land line. The owner was nice enough to let her use it. We were supposed to eat dinner at 5:30pm in a sit down restaurant called Vince's. It's the equivalent of a 5 star restaurant. Very classy. For obvious reasons, we didn't make it. I figured that AAA should have towed the car back by about 6:30 pm. Still no phone call. Mike and I are wandering around the deck. Unable to really enjoy the open ocean, or the lights along the shore. I called home at 6:45pm and Amanda answers. Teresa wasn't there yet. I told Amanda about the accident and told her to please have Teresa call as soon as she gets home. I try the land line number from the body shop. I get an answering machine. I left a message anyway, hoping that the owner was outside with Teresa. Maybe he would hear me talking and would come in. No dice. I am really worried now. It's dark. Mike calls the police back and asks if a patrol car showed up. Yes, they did dispatch and a police officer showed up at the scene. He talked to Teresa and calmed her down. There wasn't much he could really do for her, though. So, he had left. Not too long after that, Teresa finally called. AAA was late. The driver didn't tow the car, he just replaced the tire. She was able to drive the car home. With a busted taillight, a fender all that had dropped down and was rubbing the tire and pieces of fender sticking out. I wish he had towed it. However, she was home safe. That was all that mattered. Now, we could enjoy our cruise. Since we missed out dinner slot, we found out there was a buffet on the 11th deck called the Windjammer. Mike and I went up there and helped ourselves to some delicious food. I really can't remember what we had that first night. We sat down at a table and watched the ocean pass by. We also saw another cruise ship that we slowly passed. Since I knew that Teresa was now safely home, with the car parked out front, I could relax. After dinner, we retired to our stateroom and went to bed. I was worried that I would have trouble falling asleep, but I nodded off.

Tomorrows entry - Day 2 - San Diego

Posted by Valkyre at October 1, 2006 08:40 PM