A True Series Of Snowballed Unfortunate Events

A True Series Of Snowballed Unfortunate Events

It’s the last day of April and boy do I have a story for YOU.

I want to personally thank all of my barre babes who have patiently been riding the waves of the past couple weeks with cancelled or poorly taught/injured classes. We made it to the other side! But I feel like I should explain everything that has been going on.

Opening scene:

April 28th: Me, walking down the highway in Redding, California at sunset, dripping sweat. My right arm is black and blue, I have no money, my phone is dead, I have a concussion and am painfully swallowing my last few sips of water. In one hand is a suitcase and in the other is a greyhound bus ticket printed on a 4x6 photo. This is the part in the movie where I would look into the camera and say, "I bet you're wondering how I got here. Well, to do that, we have to go back two weeks."

The following story is 100% true. There is no moral or lesson to be learned. I am writing it out to hopefully find the exact moment that everything went wrong and snowballed into Sunday's events but also so it pops back up from time to time, reminding me of when my life was straight out of a sitcom. I would also like to say that previous to this, I had been to the hospital exactly twice. I am not a hypochondriac. I am a “put ice on it, drink some water, pop an Advil and don’t complain” type of person. That being said-

Here we go.

April 17th: Here I am- a normal, healthy, functioning adult, running errands between classes, getting ready for my trip to Kentucky later this afternoon. I haven't had a true day off since I opened the studio in December so it is a much needed vacation. As I pull out of the Safeway parking lot, a car hits me. No warning, just swerves in front of a truck turning right and T-Bones me. Thankfully, I am in my very safe Prius (which is now totaled) and walk away with a few bruises, a cut eye, and a mild(ish) concussion. Unfortunately, my flight is three hours later and I make the decision to hold off on a hospital visit until I land. “Pop an Advil” person, remember?

April 18th- Upon arrival, I go through the standard X-rays and CAT scans and am told to take it easy but that I should make a full recovery, although still very much concussed. We will circle back to that fact a few times.

April 20th- I wake up in the middle of the night with extreme pain in my chest and shooting down my arm. I try to drink some water and go back to sleep and in the morning it is manageable, albeit painful to swallow. I decide that it was the 2 am Taco Bell and guzzle Pepto-Bismol.

April 24th-The pain is now unbearable, and is far beyond an Advil and Pepto situation. I can no longer swallow water without doubling over and have to sleep sitting up. Taco Bell doesn’t haunt you for five days. I do some research and realize that one side effect of an antibiotic I've been on the past month is burning of the esophagus. Incredibly dehydrated, I head to the ER where I stay until midnight to be told that it is acid reflux and to just eat soft foods. ( I couldn't even drink water. Doctors, please actually listen to your patients.)

April 25th- I barely sleep from being in so much pain and go to Urgent Care for a second opinion. They agree on Esophagitis and say it is a total coincidence that this happens the same week as my accident with no connection whatsoever. They give me an oral steroid to reduce inflammation and suddenly the pain is 70% better! It is still painful to eat and drink, but absolutely tolerable. I am sent to a GI specialist Friday morning. Mind you, I am still teaching 3-5 barre classes a day, concussed and unable to eat or drink anything. I am eternally grateful to my regulars who eventually make me cancel despite my "show must go on" attitude.

April 26th- My sister in law is getting married tomorrow. Although I have many valid excuses not to go, I am a woman of my word and want to see that side of the family. Because of my GI specialist appointment, I miss my ride and have to buy a plane ticket to San Francisco. I could've brought my rental car but truck owner wants me to drive up a truck from Cali anyways. Upon arriving at the airport, I realize that I had changed wallets and forgot all of my credit and debit cards as well as my phone charger. I am naturally an absent-minded person but since the accident, even more foggy brained than usual. It's inconvenient, but I shouldn't have to use them and I just have to find an ATM from my bank to get cash which should be easy. (Bold of me to assume!) Plus, I could just use someone's charger there. Easy peasy. I order everything online-my flight, airporter, and uber to get to Marin and, while a little annoying, everything seems to be turning around for me. WRONG.

April 27th- The wedding is fine and I’m a little spacey but, overall, very proud of myself.

April 28th-I am given a truck to drive back to Medford. It about a 5 1/2 hour drive so I leave around noon to make it there before it gets dark. Now, it is important to understand my relationship with this truck.

I had driven this particular '02 Chevy diesel a couple times but not enough to know it on an intimate level.

In my defense, I was handed 60 bucks and sent on a solo roadtrip concussed in a truck with no AC and no phone charger.

I make it to Redding before pulling in to a gas station with about 1/4 tank. It's hot. Like, high 90's hot. And I have no cards, remember? I go in to give the cashier money before realizing I locked the keys in the truck.

I run back out and am relieved to see the passenger window cracked open. I stick my hand through the slot, reaching to hit the unlock button, when the door suddenly swings out. I lose my footing and twist my arm. I am literally hanging from this truck and my arm is now bleeding and turning a very ugly color. I'm so embarassed and try to quickly swing the door shut and release my arm from the window. At this point, I'm so flustered and hot and tired, I just want to get out of there. I quickly fill the tank, surprised when it stops halfway. Here's where it all goes to H E double hockey sticks. One block away from the gas station, the truck dies.

I'm turning right, waving people around me, freaking out because I have no idea what is going on. I call truck owner and that's when I realize my terrible mistake.

I put gas in a diesel truck.

Some very sweet people push me into a parking lot where I have to hang up because both of us are freaking out simultaneously and my phone is about to die anyway. So now I'm stuck in Redding, three hours away from San Francisco and three hours away from my house, with $15, a broke down truck, a phone at 1% with no charger, standing in 95 degree heat with nowhere to go.

So I start walking.

I decide that I need Wifi and AC and then I'll be able to think clearly about the next step. Somehow, my phone battery lasts long enough to point me to Starbucks at a Safeway. I spend $5 on a charger and get to work. At this point, it’s 6 pm on a Sunday. No car rental place is open and, even if I found a way to get cash, all the hotels in the area require a credit card on file. I have to get creative because sunlight is running out and I did NOT survive Alameda High School to die in Redding, California.

I find a Greyhound that is leaving at 11 pm and will get into Medford at 2:30 am. They require a printed out ticket but all printer joints are already closed. So, I start the walk to the bus station, hoping I can find a solution to all my errands on the way. Hydrated, charged, and motivated, I set out on my journey.

A Rite-Aid lets me print my ticket out on a 4x6 photo.

Now we are caught up to that opening scene.

I pass the truck where I leave my suitcase and hide the key for truck owner to pick up the next day, promising to pay for the inevitable damages. I never pass an ATM but hope that I won’t need cash.

"Why don’t you just take an uber?" you ask.

Well, then I would have to wait at the Greyhound bus station for 5 hours. As long as it is light and I am outside, I feel somewhat safe and in control of my surroundings.

A homeless man starts following me, wanting me to listen to a song on his phone. Before he gets close enough for me to hear it, I say it is my favorite song which makes him happy enough to turn around. I kept repeating this mantra- "I am plucky, spunky, and street smart. I am plucky, spunky, and street smart."

Like some sort of depressing 13 Going on 30 reboot.

But the sun is setting and I have to think quickly. Where is the safest place to hang out until 11 pm on a Sunday night in Redding, California?

A bar, of course.

I walk two miles to the most well lit bar I could find. The very sweet bartenders are understandably alarmed by my situation and shower me with bourbon and tots for the next 2 hours. (You guys the real MVPs) Also, huge thank you to Chris the cowboy who offers to have his biker gang escort me there and for saying I have a very muscular back. It’s barre, baby!

I keep explaining to everyone that I am not homeless despite being very dirty and sweaty and that I am actually a very successful person who doesn't usually have to beg for tater tots. I don't know why this fact is very important to me.

At 10 pm, an equally concerned uber driver hands me over to a very nice security guard who sits with me until the bus gets there, showing me pictures of his daughter whilst shooing away dumpster divers.

I am fully aware of my privilege as a white woman carrying around a MacBook in the middle of the night. I arrive in Medford at 2:30 am where another lovely uber driver takes me to the studio. Somehow, I have just enough cash to get my rental car out of the airport parking lot and finally get home, exhausted but in one piece, at 3 am.

It is a very scary thing to have no money or safe place and I know that, although I've worked very hard to be where I am, I've also been blessed to never have to worry about being on the streets.

So I guess I learned to not take for granted what I have, including my overall health (I am on the mend, obviously, since I could eat 1000 tots last night).

And to maybe not travel alone and concussed anymore.

Also, being surprised with tater tots after walking a total of 8 miles in the heat is a joy beyond compare.

The end.



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