12.04.2011

Damsel in Distress












Coat: Old Navy, Dress: Muse, Booties: Forever 21, Watch: Michael Kors, Bracelets: Ivy & Leo and Handpicked, Necklaces: Forever 21 and Handpicked, Purse: Nicole Miller (photos: Oliva Ervin)
"The subject of the damsel in distress, or persecuted maiden, is a classic theme in world literature, art, and film. She is usually a young woman placed in a dire predicament by a villain or monster and who requires a hero to achieve her rescue. The helplessness of the damsel in distress, who can be portrayed as foolish and ineffectual to the point of na├»vete, along with her need of others to rescue her, has made the stereotype the target of feminist criticism." (Wikipedia) Being a proud, card-carrying feminist myself, I hesitated to even entitle this post "Damsel in Distress". However, that is what I think of every time I put this coat on. I bought this coat in 2003, the year I moved down to NC from NY. One unseasonably cold and rainy morning in November I put it on an headed out the door to my new job. I had only worked there for 3 weeks at the time. If I am the damsel in this story then my 1997 Mercury Sable is the villain. The body of the car still looked really good (and the sound system made you feel like Beyonce was right there with you, sitting shotgun), but the AC was broken, the heat worked only half of the time, and worst of all the transmission was absolutely shot. I was embarking on an adventure every time I got into that thing. If you had the "pleasure" of being in a vehicle with a temperamental transmission then you know exactly what I am talking about. The constant jerking and the fear that comes with having to slow down to a complete stop.  You see, when your transmission is bad your car stalls and sometimes turns completely off when you stop...randomly. I would get anxiety in bumper to bumper traffic, coast through stop signs, and pray out loud at (seemingly endless) red lights. My car had "crapped the bed" a hundred times at that point. It was pretty annoying and extremely embarrassing, but I had about $37.00 in my checking account that the time so fixing it (a costly endeavor) was out of the question. On this particular November morning I had made the (over an hour) commute with only a couple of stalls, but when I went to get off the highway at my exit the exit was jam packed and at a complete stand still. I had made it almost to the top of the exit when it happened. My car stalled and shut off. Dead, at the top of the exit ramp with 20 cars and a jam packed highway behind me. I was THAT girl and in typical damsel in distress fashion, it was cold outside and pouring down rain. The kind of rain that makes high-speed wipers useless. Cue dramatic music. When all of a sudden my hero came on a white stallion. Well, it was a brand new black X5 BMW. Yes, most of the people at my new job made, what I thought at the time, was an obscene amount of money. So, not only was I the new girl at the office wearing the same 3 work outfits in a "new" way every day so as not to call attention to the fact that I had NO money. I am now stuck on the side of the road, in the cold rain in a new city, with no money, no cell phone, in a bright fuchsia coat. My friend, Vico (well he is my good friend now, but then he was a rather intimidating senior account executive on my office) stopped to help me. You see, I had popped the hood of my car to feign self sufficiency and was outside in the rain trying to diagnose the problem. Vico (the hero in this tale) later told me that he saw my unmistakable bright pink coat from a mile away and called a tow truck from his cell. He stopped, put me in his new car (even thought I looked like a drowned rat in all of that dripping wet wool), waited for the tow truck with me, told them what shop to tow my car to, and offered to pay for my new transmission. Vico told me I could pay him back in increments when I got paid. I'm pretty sure he knew that I made less than $30K a year at the time. My pride wouldn't let the words "okay, thank you" come out of my mouth, but the enormous tears welling up in my eyes said what I couldn't and he handed the mechanic his credit card. So I guess you could say my coat flagged down the hero and in a sense saved the day. Damsel, villain, emotional climax, hero...check. The happily ever after is that Vico and I have been dear friends ever since that day I now have a MUCH more reliable car.
*The End*







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