Archived Story

Driven to distraction

Published 4:02pm Monday, November 5, 2012

Now I avoided the motorcycle but couldn’t miss the jagged piece of debris that pierced the front left tire. When you know you’re about to have a blowout, you have far more time to prepare. I could hear the whistle of air screaming its release, took my foot off the gas and coasted to the emergency lane as the Hyundai tried with all its might to pull left.

“Have we broken down?” Mom wanted to know.

“You didn’t see the motorcycle?” I asked, incredulous.

“No, dear.”

“We’ve got a flat.”

“Oh! Well, at least it’s a nice day and there’s a lovely breeze.”

“That’s the air conditioner.”

“I see. Where shall we have lunch?”

Mindful of horrible videos where stranded motorists get hit by some inattentive driver and not about to make my elderly mother walk with me to the exit just ahead, I phoned Paul for help and we limped along, revolution by revolution as I was terrified of ruining the car’s rims, and arrived at the top of the exit 30 minutes later, where we came to a stop and waited.

“Have we broken down?”

“We have a flat tire.”

“Well, at least it’s a lovely day. There’s such a nice breeze.”

Thinking hard, I decided I wanted to move to my Mom’s world. How wonderful to feel so secure that, even though our afternoon had imploded around us, all would be well and she would be safe. Before long, Paul arrived in the truck and wrestled, with frustration, stubborn lug nuts and the jack that gave precious little room to crank upwards. I could see his temper rising and anticipated the pivotal scene out of ‘A Christmas Story.’

“This is such a Mickey Mouse Jack,” he said hotly. “We’re going to be here all day.”

“Well,” I mused. “At least it’s a lovely day.”

“And,” said my Mom, poking her head out the passenger window. “Such a nice breeze!”

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