Monday, August 27, 2012

The time I stood in the slow lane

Flat Tire! -1 for me Photo Credit: jerkmony

Saturday did not go as planned.  The plan was for Drew to go to his meeting in the morning and be home by mid-afternoon.  I was going shopping for Ben with my mother in law.  When Drew got back we were going to get together for dinner.  The shopping part went fine and Drew's meeting went fine.  It was the getting home by mid-afternoon that didn't go fine.  Much earlier in the day, my cell phone went dead because Ben had been playing it on so much.  No biggie because my mother in law had hers.  I texted Drew to let him know what had happened and didn't get a response.  A little weird, but oh well.  As we were at our last stop for the day, I heard from Drew.  He called his mom's phone and I picked up.  I started to chat about the day and he cut me off.  He had a flat tire and was stuck on the highway.  He needed us to come pick him up and bring Fix-A-Flat.  Praise God that Food Lion was next door and had Fix-A-Flat.  My mother in law grabbed a can and we headed off.

It seemed like it took us forever to get there.  We just kept driving and didn't see him.  We were starting to get worried and then there he was!  Except it was the other side of the road and we didn't know how to get there.  Come to find out there aren't a whole lot of U-turn areas on that highway.  There was an exit right by him, but by the time we saw him we had missed the exit.  We had to drive what seemed like several more miles to get to a U-turn area.  We slowed down to enter it only to find out it was one way, not the way we were going.  However, it was too late because we were already committed to the turn.  We quickly went through while a couple cars who belonged there patiently waited for us.  We finally got back to him and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Except that sigh was premature.

I gave him the Fix-A-Flat and he put it in his tire.  He got in a tried to drive it up the road.  He got about 10 feet.  It was shooting right back out confirming his suspicion that the problem was the valve stem.  So now for plan B.  We went up the road a little bit to a hardware store and he got the last 4 way wrench they had.  We were almost back to his car when he wondered if the jack he had would work.  Thankfully there was an auto parts store not too far out of the way.  We stopped there and he got a jack stand.  We got back to his car and he pulled it off the shoulder in hopes he could change to the spare without being in road.  The jack started digging into the ground, so that obviously didn't work.  He angled the front of his car back to the shoulder, but couldn't get the jack under it.  So he moved the whole car to the shoulder and still nothing. 

The only option he had left was to be in the highway changing the tire.

That worried me.  It worried my husband and my mother in law too.  Drew's uncle died changing a tire on a highway several years ago.  I had to do something to protect him and keep the fear at bay, so I stood in the slow lane in front of my husband.  While he was working on the tire, I was making sure people moved over. I have to say most people were wonderful.  They moved over in plenty of time and posed no threat at all.  A couple of them made me want to curse because they took longer than they should.  I could probably make some grand parallel to spirituality, but...

My story isn't over yet.

I don't really know how long I stood in the road.  I know it was long enough for my feet to get hot!  When my husband got done and put the car back on the pavement, the spare looked a little flat.  He thought he would try it anyway.  He got maybe half a mile.  Then the spare went flat.  It was coming off the rim it was so flat.

Now what?

We used the last of my mother in law's cell phone battery to call his dad who has a rollback to tow us.  We sent Ben with Nana back home while Drew and I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  While we were waiting, 2 people stopped to see if we needed any help.  I was amazed that someone stopped and also amazed that so few people stopped.  We are so quick to assume that people on the side of the road have the help they need or that they are psycho killers that no one stops.  I for one think that is sad.  At that point we had no cell phone that worked and no spare to be had.  No one passing us would have known we had been there for 2 hours already and had one to go, but they shouldn't have to know that.  There were many couples and families that passed us with out so much as a glance backwards.  My husband was driving his 1970 Buick Skylark GS.  And at least 2 other hot rodders passed us.



I am not advocating that everyone should stop or that women by themselves should stop.  I'm just saying in a 3 hour period only 2 people stopped to try to help.  That is a sad state of affairs for the American public.  So what I am I going to do about it?  When I am with Drew, we will stop more often.  We rarely have to be somewhere so badly that we can't stop and ask if they need help or a phone call.  Even if they don't need help, they will know that someone wanted to help.

The end of the story: His dad came to pick us up after an hour because he was on the old highway and we were on the new highway.  The cell phone having battery would have helped!  But God showed up, kept us safe, and gave us a pretty good story.

Side note:  Didn't see one cop in 3 hours either.

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