Roadside Assistance

I am a survivor in more ways than one. I had cancer and pulled through and that is my main claim to fame in the survivorship category. But I also had a bit of a minor scare on the road not long ago that also tested my reliance and ability to tackle another type of adversity.

Imagine a long winding road. You are driving at night and your right rear tire deflates causing a bumpy feeling in the ride. You slow down and pull over to have a look. Sure enough, a flat. You have seen all those scary movies when people appear out of nowhere, somehow knowing that this is the exact spot you would end up after a fortuitous flat. But that’s a movie for you.

You know you have a reliable air compressor in the trunk so you don’t panic. You are still waiting for the people who come out of the woods with axes. You try to pop the trunk but it is stuck. Now you panic. You seem to be in a kind of mysterious no man’s land, too far to walk, and definitely too late to hitch a ride.

You try the trunk again, and after ten tries you slam your open hand hard on its surface in anger. This does you no good at all. You try to gather your wits and come to some kind of solution. Meanwhile, it seems to be getting misty in the distance, hiding objects and buildings, if there are any, from view. You are afraid to get lost when approaching any nearby residence. You also know how people react when strangers come to the door.

You stop panicking and tell yourself you have a brain, so why not use it. You get an umbrella out of the back seat of the car and try to pry the trunk open with it. It breaks. You check your cell phone for service, there is none. You start to panic.

You wait for a car to pass by, hopefully it will be a tow trunk, or at least a nice woman with kids in the back seat, who will seem harmless to you. Unless you saw that particular movie…..You start to feel incredibly tired and scared.

Fear is our worst enemy and renders our knees weak. There is the horrific kind when your doctor first tells you that you have cancer. And then there is this minor, but still intense kind, when you are stuck on the highway in the dark. It doesn’t matter the intensity; fear is fear after all.

You get in the car and turn on the heat to get warm. It works. You are not revived enough to try the trunk again. It works. Nothing seems to be itself when you are in a panic—that is a good rule of thumb. Now everything is normal. You pull out the air compressor and the spare tire and go to work by the strong light of your emergency flashlight. It takes fifteen minutes. Hooray for you. You get back into the car and drive off with pride.