Just finished my shift at KTU, and was merrily on my way to Atlantic City for the Promo Only Summer Session/DJ Expo. It is an annual music convention where deejays, radio program directors, and artists from around the country come together to network, discuss the music industry and hobknob with one another. It's also a wonderful opportunity for artists to showcase their songs and their talent to their peers in the industry. And this year was my chance.
So I'm on my way to Atlantic City, but I'm hungry because I hadn't eaten since 2pm. So I stopped at a rest stop: the last rest stop on the NJ Turnpike southbound just before the Garden State Parkway. Just took the food to go, no time to wait - I had a long ride ahead of me - alone. I begin driving, approaching the ramp to resume going on the turnpike, when I noticed that it divided: Cars Only on one side; Trucks and Cars on the other. I DESPISE driving on the "trucks" side...so I was driving in the middle. It was dark. I go to swerve to the left, and BAM!!! Oh, my.....all I know is there was a loud bang, and I jolted, and everything spilled everywhere. What the...???
There I was...smoke on the right side. And my car was stuck. I still could not understand what was going on. My brain was in a state of chaos. I put the car in park.
Oh, MY GOD!!! I had driven onto a median, a small concrete island, just standing there in the middle of the road. I had driven onto it, and I was stuck. I tried to reverse but it was in vain. I was done. Damn. Ugghhh! Why now? Please, God, let the car work? Please, I really need to get to Atlantic City. The whole reason I was trying to get to AC on Sunday night was to avoid all the traffic, and to get a full night's sleep. What the hell do I do now? I'm by myself, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere. Okay I have AAA...I search my wallet. Ugh, I don't have the card with me. I call information. AAA cannot send road assistance to the turnpike or the parkway...well, what do I have AAA for then?! I'm transferred to a towing company that honors AAA and begin trying to describe where I am...I have to wait. What am I going to do? I had a pullman full of clothes for almost a week (I'd have to change twice a day during the convention), my lap top and a bag full of toiletries and hair paraphenelia. How, where, what am I going to do with all this stuff? I just kept thinking that to go back home would surely SUCK!
I called my friend, Brenda, who I have called my "personal assistant," in a past blog to help me. She didn't live too far away.
"Chica, (that's what I call my close girlfriends), um, are you awake?"
"Yea, what's wrong?"
I tell her what's happened. She thought when I said median, she thought I hit the wall.
"Can you come get me? I don't know what to do? I don't want to go back home."
I described where I was, and she told me her husband John would come and pick me up.
And then I saw the light.
I mean the lights...
State Trooper pulls over behind me, and I immediately get out of the car. I was blushing. I HATE when I blush..it's so embarrassing to already be so embarrassed. I tell him what happened, and I felt like an idiot.
"I am SO humiliated! I have NEVER done anything like this in my life!"
He looks at me long and hard, but surprisingly with sympathy.
He walks over ot my car.
"You should shut off the engine. It appears you're leaking oil."
Once I looked down, I realized any hope I'd had for driving to Atlantic City had dwindled to dust.
"You should be careful there...there's lots of oil...you could fall,"
I walked into my car to find a pen. Nothing. I always have a pen in my car, but NOOOO, not today! Further humiliation. I open my trunk and pull out my publicity photos with a silver Sharpie. Hey, it's all I had. I call information to find out my AAA number for the tow truck. As I'm writing, the officer states,"Are you giving me an autograph?" He laughs, I laugh. Hey, something had to break the intense awkwardness I was feeling. He asked me what kind of convention it was. For a moment I fantasized being outrageous and saying something like, "Well, officer it's a sex toys convention...and I have vibrators in my bag and there are women in need..." But of course, I opted for the truth: "I'm a singer, and it's a music convention where people from across the country come to network, etc." He asked me what kind of music...I mentioned freestyle...he asked me if I was on KTU..I said yes. And at that moment, I was humiliated once more. I realized, that even though he didn't ask, he knew I was Judy Torres. Now I'm not Judy Torres, freestyle queen; I'm the idiot that drove over the median, who had no make up on, and had Popeye's chicken strewn all over the car. Eesh!
He asked me if I wanted a report, and because I was so nervous, I declined. It was hard enough to know the whole thing was my fault, let alone, explain it to my insurance company. I admit, people, I wasn't thinking straight. The officer called in the incident, and waited with me until the towing company arrived. I was thankful to him for that, because it was very dark out there, and felt even scarier with the few trailers parked around.
Towing Company man comes out of the truck, looks up and down. Yes, he laughed.
"Wow, you really did a number on this one." He gave me a card and told me he'd take care of the rest. I took my bags out...all 5 million of them, pulled my E-Z pass, and multiple car chargers, and was not looking so cute. LOL. The officer offered to drive me to a closer location, closer to where my friend's husband, John, would be. Some may say that it was his job. But quite frankly, once the tow truck arrived, I don't believe he was obliged to do anything else for me. I think that although it was a bad situation, God brought the right officer to take care of me. Yes, I believe that with all my heart!
The officer put my bags in the trunk, and for the first time in my life, I found myself in the back of a squad car. It was a tight fit. He apologized for me having to sit in the back but those were the rules. I was fine with the rules. I began making all the necessary calls - to my manager, who sarcastically asked me if I was on crack, the hotel, and the man in charge of the event. We pulled up at a Wal-Mart, and John was there waiting with a mild smirk on his face. Can't blame the guy! Okay, okay, I guess it was kind of funny. But not as it was happening! As my bags were transferred into John's car, I asked the officer, if he had a card so I could send him a thank you note.
He politely stated, "No...don't worry about a thing. It's fine."
I felt like I truly owed him. He was kind of a knight in uniform, lol, and he made sure I was safe, and it really relieved a lot of panic in my head.
"What's your name anyway, officer?"
He said nothing.
I looked at his badge, and read it aloud.
So freaking ironic!!!
The same last name as my ex-boyfriend, a.k.a., the Lobster!!
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
John laughed, and I was just truly in amazement..it's not exactly an everyday surname. Officer Goncalves looked confused. And so was I.