I have had rehearsal each night this week except for Monday, when I went to visit my friend, Edna at her new apartment. Tuesday, I was able to share rides with my mom, which meant I had two hours to read part of my newly purchased forty-five-cent Jane Austen novel while I waited for her. Wednesday, I was on my own. I was pleased to find an easy on-street parking spot for the minivan, and I locked it and left it.
When I came back, I hopped in the van and started it, and began to pull out of the space onto the street. Something was wrong... the brakes were squishy, and not at all like before. The brake light wasn't on yet, so I figured I would drive it as far as the Auto Zone (about 2 miles, with only one turn and four stop lights). At the last stop light, I had to shift down to be able to stop completely... and then I saw smoke pouring out of the hood! Bad idea!!
The engine was not overheated, and the brake light still was not on, but I crawled along for the last half mile at about 25 mph with my flashers on. As I turned into the uphill driveway of Auto Zone, the brake light came on. I figured that the problem was probably a lack of brake fluid, and I planned to run inside for that so I could make it home.
I parked the car pretty poorly in the almost-empty lot, praying that the store would still be open. Unfortunately, it had closed about 20 minutes before I got there. My dad came to my rescue with another vehicle, and refilled the brake fluid to get us home.
What a frustrating way to end a long day, both for my dad, who owns the van, and for me. I'm grateful that we're safe, that we have alternate vehicles, and that I was able to stay calm throughout the ordeal.
Regardless, I could do without any more adventures of the vehicle sort.