As you've learned by now, moving is a magnanimous pain in the ass without anything in the process go awry. When it does, an otherwise shitty day gets even worse, and grown men are pushed beyond tired and irritable to and near-rampage-esque levels of ass chapment. As you may have figured out by your cunning intuition by this point, I had a bad experience. It went as follows:
1:00pm: Pick up 24' U-Haul truck from downtown location, right at the intersection of "Ghettoass Drive" and "Don't Come Here At Night Ever, Boulevard." My friends and I pulled up to find my truck, which looked like a reject semi from the Civil War era. It was almost as enormous as it was beaten up, and upon putting my $100 down I was able to look at it closer. The front end looked like someone had rammed a brick wall repeatedly with it, and the back and sides told a tale of some crazed moron doing donuts in a wheat field. I climbed into The Beast to see it had 230,000 miles, nearing the Quarter Million Club and still on the streets. I was concerned, but seeing no other adequate option around, I went on my way.
1:05-1:10pm: Drive the few miles back to my house, averaging a speed of just over 12 miles per hour as I acclimated myself to the choppy transmission and air-compressed brakes of The Beast. I ran over two cars and a homeless person, but gave the "my bad wave" to them all so it was cool.
1:15pm: Arrive at my house. Thankfully my driveway was created specifically for this particular vehicle, allowing me to just fit on it without protruding out into the busy State Line road. Begin packing "the big stuff", realizing after much doubt we actually needed a truck that big (see "underestimating a job").
3:00-4:00pm: Finishing packing, head toward new home. I make my friend drive because I am a pussy. Despite some wind and traffic on the highway, this all goes fairly smoothly.
6:00pm: Done with the truck, I call U-Haul to see if I can just drop it off near my house since it's about one minute away. They send me to three different people only to tell me I have to tack it back to the original pickup point (about 25 miles away). Frustrated, I consented and with a friend driving in front of me (after I convinced him it would only take an hour and we'd back in town in time to drink the beer I now owed him) we went on our way (after first replacing the damn gas I used at $593.34 and one and 9/10 an appendage/per gallon). (That was a lot of parentheses).
6:30pm: About 5 miles from the drop-off point in Ghettoville, The Beast starts to beep loudly at me and I look down to see "Check Gages" flashing violently. The temperature gauge had gone beyond the red into the "you're f***ed, buddy" zone, and it was at this point I saw smoke rising from the hood, and "oh shit" escaped loudly from my lips. I signaled to my buddy ahead of me that I had problems, and we got off at the next exit.
6:31pm: On the side of Random Ass Road, the smoke is now billowing from underneath the hood and filling the cab. We went to the front to find coolant not merely leaking from the radiator, but horse-pissing it's way out onto the concrete below. "That can't be good," my friend stated. We held a small ceremony at that moment to commemorate his completing his Masters in Obvious Statements (MOS).
6:36pm: I call the U-Haul number in my paperwork that was pointed out to me when I picked it up, where (seriously) the lady said, "in the unlikely event of a problem call this number". In hindsight, this translated roughly to "when that giant piece of shit inevitably breaks down because it's been driven to Neptune and back thirty times and you're screwed, call this because it's not my problem". After a series of automated crap and being on hold, I was able to tell some customer service rep that I was on the side of the road. She asked me roughly four hundred questions, repeated them all, and verified them all before telling me they would find a mechanic and call me back.
6:45pm: I get a call back letting me know a mechanic "should be there in about 45 minutes" and that they're sorry for my inconvenience. I kicked something hard.
7:00pm: I get a call from Jeb the Brilliant Mechanic, who tells me he will be there in about half an hour if I could explain to him where I was exactly. This proved painful, as apparently the shop U-Haul decided to call was located in Cambodia and had never heard of Kansas City. I told him I am done with the truck and he can just tow it, to which he told me I could not do that because I'd be charged with abandonment. So we waited.
8:00pm: Jeb arrives, and I am relieved. It is now dark and the shorts and t-shirt we wore all day were no longer appropriate attire for the temperature. Jeb the Brilliant inspects the truck, and tells me he has what he needs to fix it. He goes back to his truck and gets some piece of crap, puts it on the leaking valve, and pours some water in the radiator. "That should do it," he said confidently. "Uh, well everything you put in just now is clearly running directly out of the other side," I retorted. "Well, if you just have a few miles to go you should be fine. I'll stay behind you and your friend can drive in front of you." Fine, screw it let's go.
8:15-8:17pm: I back the truck down the wrong way of the road back to the highway, pissing off at least 30 people and almost injuring 8 and a stray cat. I made it roughly half a mile before the truck started overheating again, much to my utter and completely non-sarcastic surprise given it had no f***ing fluid in it. I pulled off the next exit, only to have The Beast die on the exit ramp. With cars piling up behind me (note I am now in a bad area of town), I told Jeb we need to just pull it around the corner and get it towed. "Can't do that," he explained, "They'd make me get a tow truck and it would take me three and a half hours." Puzzled, I asked "Uh ok, so what do we do now then?" I inquired. "Well, I'm going to hook you up to my (tiny, tiny) truck with this chain and cable and pull you the rest of the way. Now, you won't have much steering and the brakes will be tough, but do your best."
OK, at this point I'd like to take a Saved By The Bell style timeout. It is here in the story that I should told Jeb that I don't care if it takes him six days to get a tow truck and he can't eat until he does, I'm leaving. But I didn't because I am a nice person and didn't want to get charged for "abandonment", and realized only after the ordeal how ridiculous that was. Ok, let's continue Steve's Personal Hell.
8:25-8:30pm: Jeb-tard has "secured" my 24', eight ton, powerless Beast to his child's play 4×4 piece of crap. My friend led the way, and we all went down the right lane of a very busy highway at about 15 miles per hour. It took all of my relatively strong right leg to apply the brakes and prevent from crashing into Jeb, and when I hit them too hard I jerked his stupid little truck nearly off the ground. We went roughly a mile before the cable snapped.
8:31pm: We pull over onto the side of the highway, and my poor friend backs down the shoulder to rejoin me and Dipshit. I implored him, "Please, can you just tow this? I'm going to hit you and/or innocent people are going to die, namely me." He replied with "Nah we'll be fine, we're just going to have this chain between us now so I have no brakes, you'll have to stop both of us." Again, in hindsight I would have flipped him off and sped away with my friend, but I didn't.
8:38-9:15pm: This span of time marks arguably the worst of my life. It felt like hours passing as Jeb drug me down the highway, and I maneuvered my way out of multiple near-catastrophes. I prayed that God either spare me and get this over with, or to strike me with some lightning and get this over with. Thankfully (depending on your personal perspective), the good Lord went with the former and I lived, with no harm done but internal anguish and some red hairs turned gray.
9:16pm: We arrive at the drop off point, mind you we are now squarely in the ghetto. It takes about two seconds for some crackhead to come ask what I believe was money and something blue, at which point I thought this ordeal was going to end with one of us getting stabbed. We shoed away Tyrone Biggums and I dropped off the keys, then literally ran to my buddy's car and we drove off. Jeb advised calling U-Haul to complain.
9:45pm-1am: My buddy and I recount the evening over about 200 beers.
The next day I called the U-Haul location, and they rudely told me to call the 1-800 number to complain. Upon doing so, they put me on hold, and came to tell me they could give me twenty-five U-Haul VIP dollars in return for my trouble. I mentally climbed through the phone and strangled the lady with the cable that almost cost me my life the night before. I kept my cool, however, and told her my story. "I'm getting a different story for the mechanic," she said, essentially calling me a liar. I mentally climbed back through the phone and used to the chain to finish the job. At this point she offered to turn the twenty-five into REAL money and insisted this was all she could do. I reluctantly let her go, thankful just to be alive. I'm using Budget from now on.
EPILOGUE: After realizing how horribly wronged I truly was, I wrote a letter to U-Haul via their online customer support form. Within two days I received a call from a rep, who immediately apologized and gave all my money back as well as 50 U-Haul dollars. Though this won't replace the years I lost off my life through the stress of that horrid night, I guess all is well that ends well. I think I'm going to use the U-Haul dollars to buy a bunch of boxes and burn them on Jeb's front porch. Ignorant bastard.