“Oh jeez, that’s not smoke rolling out from under the hood of my car is it? Hell, yes it is,” I whisper under my breath. I’m on the freeway, in morning rush hour traffic and I need to get off and quickly as possible. Luckily, people are a little nicer than usual and slow down enough to let me change lanes. Maybe they can see the smoke too.
Sure enough, there is a problem and I’m fortunate enough to have AAA road side service and I have to dig it out of my wallet. I was considering dropping the program altogether it had been that long since I was towed. I was in college and had my old hand me down mousy brown Maverick. That was a different time and a different life and I wasn’t in the mood to relive it. I remember feeling a lot of anxiety then, for so many things. My broken car was crippling life, I had to commute everywhere in Southern California. Friends grew frustrated at having to rescue me. Seems like the commute is still plaguing me, thirty years later, albeit in a different part of the state.
Thank goodness for cell phones, this time I didn’t have to walk two blocks to find a payphone, and dig change out of the ashtray in my car. After talking with the customer service rep I felt a little better. They asked me if I was safe, several times. They probably did that when I was younger too, but somehow I was non-plussed with the question then. But today, it struck me as caring, and more important than my car. I thanked them for asking.
We scheduled for the tow truck driver and it wasn’t even 8am in the morning and they were ready to find someone to get out of bed, or at least hurry and finish their breakfast in order to get me to my mechanic. I was told the wait would be almost an hour. It wasn’t that long only about 20 minutes.
After calling my boss to tell him I wouldn’t be in today I was grateful to have an entire day to myself. My mechanic was great, but they wouldn’t be able to fix the problem immediately. I used to feel guilty about being late to work, calling in sick, or missing work for any reason. But now I figure that’s what vacation time is for, isn’t it?
I nestled back into my car, I had hot tea and a note pad and pen. Time to write, lovely! After posting the dilemma on Facebook, I got to work writing notes for books. Listing everything I need to do for Writerspace, including this blog. After a few minutes I forgot I was in a gas station waiting for the tow truck driver. Until he knocked on the glass.
He couldn’t have been friendlier and I knew he had to leave his cozy house to pick me up and take me 20 miles away just to get my car repaired. But he did it. He was fast, the car was hoisted up in a jiffy and off we were on the freeway once again. That extended mileage is already paying off.
While I’ve got a pretty good attitude on most days, I don’t get stuck in conundrums like this very often. I don’t have to shift around stinky heavy cars. I don’t have to meet strangers on the road side, in the middle of the night, or in bad rainy weather. I sit behind a desk, in an office that’s dry and has both heating and air conditioning. I can keep my lunch in a refrigerator and don’t have to worry about so many things that a tow truck driver has to think about.
I think about the times in my life when I forgot to say thank you and didn’t really consider the conditions of my rescue. I didn’t have as much conscious then as I do now. I guess that’s what they mean when they say priorities shift as we mature. I know when the driver dropped me off at the station he appreciated how much I appreciated all he had done.
He didn’t want his picture taken and I’m respecting that, along with not mentioning his name. “Your welcome, it’s all in a days work,” he said to me as he nodded and drove off.
Thanks to him, my car was repaired the same day. I was back to work on the freeway the next day where I saw someone else getting their car hitched onto the back of tow truck. I wonder if that driver took the time to realize the dangers and risks the tow truck driver does on our behalf.
Thanks for reading, may your next road side assistance be as friendly and courteous and swift as mine. Next time, I’ll have some news about my next novel, “The Grinch Who Stole My Heart,” my spy thriller Christmas comedy.