Damsel in Distress

by Jonah


Even when I can handle it myself, I’d say my favorite perk, by far, of being female is having males come to my rescue when I have automotive problems.  

Also, sometimes it’s unwarranted. Berck needed to take the Focus today, so that left me with trying to get the Miata up the hill.  My first attempt left my wheels spinning, so I needed to back up off the icy tracks and onto the snow on the edge to get some traction.  Unfortunately, right at that moment, our neighbor Al drove up behind me in his white van.  That left me less room to back down our one-lane alley.  Then I suddenly saw Al in my rear-view mirror trying to push my car.  I opened my door and stuck my head out to tell him I needed to back up, but before I could, he told me that I might have better luck if I backed up off the icy tracks and onto the snow on the edge to get some traction.  I sighed and said I thought that sounded like a good idea.  He also told me to use the emergency brake and hold the button in to keep the wheels from spinning as much, which actually worked pretty well.

 
During my lunch break today, I thought I’d be nice and go wash Berck’s car.  I drove over to the nearest car wash and then waited for an eternity for the four morons in the car wash bays to try to figure out the payment machines. Finally, it was my turn.  I did a thorough job and used the brush all over the car, even the wheels.  Then I headed back out onto the road hoping I’d have enough time to run by the grocery store.


The car wash is on a little road that empties out into an on-ramp onto South Circle.  It’s a tight curve, and you have to try to accelerate quickly into oncoming traffic.  I take this curve a lot, and as long as I’m not driving the Land Cruiser, I’ve never had any problems. But today was not one of those days.  I don’t know if it was because my tires were wet and soapy or the snow tires just don’t have as much grip.  I made the curve and then just kept rotating, sliding off the road to the right and spinning around backwards.  There’s no curb there, and the ground is flat.  I headed forward, and the car seemed fine.  I waited until there wasn’t any oncoming traffic and pulled out into the right lane.  But the car was not fine.  Unfortunately, that stretch of road is an overpass, and there is no shoulder.  So I limped along until I came to the first turn, which is an entrance into a trailer park.


I got out and investigated.  My newly cleaned car was now filthy from spinning around in the dirt. But more importantly, the left rear tire had come unattached to the wheel.  I texted Berck and then opened the trunk to get out the jack and lug nut wrench.  That’s when a gentleman in a pick-up pulled up as he was exiting the trailer park and asked if I could use some help.  Of course I could, and he took over, undoing the lug nuts with his own drill and socket he had in his truck. He had my spare donut on hardly any time at all.  Berck still hadn’t responded, so I drove back to my office.


When he finally saw my message, Berck told me to take the disassociated wheel and tire to Rex Tire, where they determined the wheel was fine (whew) but the tire was toast. I went back to work and waited for Berck to come, since driving 30 miles home on the donut was not advisable. Berck had just given a set of Miata wheels and snow tires to his buddy at work, so he borrowed one of them back and met me in the parking lot at work.  I got to watch another man jack up my car and replace the tire, this time while I at least could be helpful by holding a flashlight.  Berck complained that I’d let some stranger over-torque my lug nuts.  Then he took me out to dinner.


Maybe I’ll wash the car again tomorrow.

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