It was my mother, in the end, who bailed my car out a week later. She was in town for the holidays, and I felt pretty low, not only for letting her down, but also because I knew that I was no longer going to get a new car stereo/iPod player/Sirius satellite radio combo for Christmas. Instead, she spent the money for my gift on the City of San Francisco's Driver Offender Program. So much for my resolution to surround myself with good music.

After we paid at the tow yard, I saw her, head down, weeping. My mom never cries. My stomach sank. "What's the matter?" I asked her, putting my arm around her.

"Your life is a mess!" she said to me. "And you just seem so ... so ... hardened."

I said I was sorry, and that I would pay her back. She said I could pay her back by getting my shit together. I hadn't really budgeted for that in 2008.

"I'll try," was all I could say to her, making a resolution to not be a scofflaw anymore.

"Okay," said my mom, wiping her face. "Let's go home." God, did I feel like a loser.

I slumped in my seat and made a mental note to call a tax accountant in the morning, yet another thing I need to take care of before it's too late. I switched on the Bone to try to drown out the day's events. Plus I knew that my mom loved .38 Special. Yes, due to my own incompetence, I could now look forward to many more months of the Bone. Jesus God, I really did need to get my shit together. Yep, turning over a new leaf! Sometimes you just have to grow up.


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