PSSSSTHOU! THAP, THAP, THAP, THAP…..Quickly I hit my right turn indicator and ease over to the shoulder, coming to rest just before the W 60 exit ramp. I WAS going to visit a friend, but the universe seems to have other plans for me today. I guess it could be to stay home with the family and help mitigate the flooding in our basement. Perhaps I am to simply sit on the end of a guardrail and contemplate the cars and trucks (some very large!) whizzing by at speeds exceeding 70 mph.
Or maybe I’m just here to soak in the humidity and sun after days of drenching rains. Yes, I think that sounds best. I’ll just perch atop this guardrail end-cap and be one with the environment.
A red-tailed hawk,… a monarch butterfly,… a sweat bee,… a dragonfly. One turkey vulture way up high, a grackle, a grasshopper, a woman in a minivan with a long, khaki skirt, t-shirt and hair pulled back, wearing no makeup has stopped to see if I need help. She is the only one who has stopped. I thank her for checking, assuring her that help was on its way, then ask if she has the time. She gives me the time as 12:17, so the tow truck should be here soon (AAA said the truck should arrive by 12:24).
The sun feels good on my back; I’ll probably get a burn.
(some time has passed) Perhaps I should have called home.
This was a good three hours of my day last Thursday. By the time I had written the last sentence I decided the tow truck would not be coming to help and I was forced to change the wheel on my car out for the spare. That was precisely what I was trying to avoid in the first place as it was my driver’s front, putting me dangerously close to the passing traffic.
In what seems like a different life ago, I was very adept at working on my car. That is, MY car, not just any car. I had a 1969 Ford Fairlane which I’d named Muriel for the former owner (my grandmother). After purchasing it from her, I proudly inched it out of her garage in reverse where it had been kept. Strewn along the driveway in the wake of my exit were bits and parts of the vehicle just acquired. In that 100 feet I saw that I had only two choices before me: 1. Find a sugar daddy to pay for the repairs on this car, or, 2. Learn how to work on said vehicle myself. I chose number two. That began my long career as a professional student, which I may bore you with later, but for this blog you only need to know that I took several courses to learn how to take care of Muriel. By the time I had finished my auto-mechanic courses I could change a tire in 8 minutes flat (pun intended). Mind you that was 25 or more years and 4-plus vehicles ago.
Faced with the prospect of changing a flat tire in a very hazardous place, I decided to move the vehicle to the most advantageous position possible. Once in position, I removed the donut spare and tools from the hidey-hole in the trunk and proceeded to loosen the lug nuts. I did so while facing traffic and draping half of my body over the hood to keep a narrow profile. When a slew of vehicles was coming, I would stop and wait (away from my car) for them all to pass and begin again. In this way I was able to get the flat changed in record time - 45 minutes (UGH!) on a steamy afternoon along the freeway.
It was good for me though; sort of put my senses back in order: I am NOT helpless. I still do NOT require a cell phone to survive. Life is good!