"I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers."
I always hated that Tennessee Williams quote. That character when it was written was a terrible stereotype, and it hasn't gotten better with time. (Streetcar Named Desire, for the curious, but I assume y'all's been educated).
Yesterday, I drove off to the wilds of Rochester through ice and snow and heavy wind... and exploded a tire in the first hour of the trip. I got out the manual and proceded to do what I could, and quickly got stumped by a diagram, which frustrates me to no end as I used to write technical manuals for a living and do better at reading diagrams than a lot of people. I swore then and there that the next time I'm buying a damn vehicle, I'm making that dealer show me every jacking point on the vehicle, and not just "where the jack is" and if he assures me I'll never need to know where the damn jack is again, I'm taking his ass to court. I did not buy a vehicle from the ass who would not let me put the tailgate up myself, "because it would be too heavy for me to do." I did ask him who the heck did he think was going to be doing it on a daily basis?
I did, before getting out of the car, attempt to call AAA. There's a reason why I have AAA, and this is a huge part of it. But you can't dial a number if the battery in the cell phone is dead, and for that reason alone I was very angry with myself. I am now going to keep the charger for the phone in my purse, but that's not going to be helpful still in this sort of situation.
I had backed up about 500 yards on the bare rim so that I would be on a convenient exit ramp for a closed rest area. This gave me a little bit of safety room so I didn't have to worry so much about getting hit by a semi going 65+.
I did watch in joy when a semi did come to a stop in front of me and also back up the ramp to get closer to me. Well, okay, it wasn't complete joy. I thought of Earl, one of our oldest friends of Jazz and myself back from our dating days. He probably did drive a truck for a while, always had a CB radio, and knew more about cars than my da, and my da can probably fix about anything with ductape. I thought about too many New Detectives TV shows where the bad guy was a trucker who got girls into their trailer and then did terrible things before killing them. I thought about how wide open the field was to my right and how long of a walk to the nearest exit and/or house, even though staying with the car is 95% of the time the best option. I thought about the quilting show where the lady quilts in the back of the cab while her husband drives and all of the truckers with dogs on shows I've seen. Overall, the impression of what ought to step out of the cab was pretty hopeful. Although, it was a petroleum truck, so part of me cringed about *that* load of baggage.
I got Claude. He was very reminiscent of Earl. SCraggly beard, weatherbeaten face, and a real smile that reached his eyes. I had impressed him by grabbing the manual and showing him where I was trying to put the jack, and he said to me, "You aren't one of them independent women, are you?" And I smiled, as he intended, and I said, "Yes, sir, yes I am." And we did together work on changing the tire. I hated the fact that I probably would not have been able to tighten the lug nuts so well, or have the strength to lever them off. And we talked for a bit about his dad who is the town historian for a place not too far away, and my interest in medieval history. I thanked him sincerely, and we parted ways.
Overall, I felt very lucky for being so stupid. The rest of the day went pretty well, and I'm glad of that. Coming home was no trouble, despite the horrible blowing snow. But it's good to be home... and now I need to remember to go get a new spare.
Thanks, Claude, wherever you are.