So, last week, I mentioned, briefly, a little thing about having a blowout on the side of I77 South on the day after Christmas.
And I did.
I was one of those poor, unfortunate people that we all see, from time to time, broken down on the side of the Interstate during holiday travel. We all see them, we think "poor bastards" and hope against hope that it will never be us.
Well, dear little readers, I was the poor bastard on the day after Christmas.
It didn't happen the way I always thought it would. It wasn't dramatic. I was driving along, listening to the Ipod, the Beans were in the back seat and I hear this thumping.
And I had this little minute where I felt TOTALLY like my friend, Alicia, because I know that I had the same look on my face. Incredulous. In denial.
"Is that my car?"
"Do I have a flat TIRE?"
So I pulled over and I got out and I looked and I could not believe what I was looking at - A FLAT TIRE!
So I stood there for a minute sort of mentally willing it not to be.
That was absolutely no help.
Then I decided I would fix the damn thing. So I opened the trunk, pulled out the spare donut, and managed to extricate the jack.
The whole time I'm just doing it to look like I'm doing something because I just KNEW that some guy would stop to help me.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
So I got the jack in the right place and then couldn't figure out how to work it. So I got in the car and got the book out of the glove box and figured out how to work the jack. All the while, I'm just biding my time until some nice guy stops to help me.
Still didn't happen.
Then I got out and successfully jacked up the car and got the hubcap off.
Y'all I was so proud. Aggravated. But proud.
Then I tried to take off the lug nuts. No dice. I could not do it.
So I unjacked the car back down and I got in the car and I did what any self-respecting, highly educated girl does in these situations.
I. called. my. mother.
My mother, long a proponent of nonchalant overreaction says, without irony "call 911".
And that's what I did. And the State of Virginia sent a state trooper out about 15 minutes later and he changed my tire.
And just as a little aside at this point, but also a point of pride to me and my mountain upbringing, I knew what mile marker I was at. Just. Sayin.
But back to the tale -
I felt a little guilty but then I figured - 'I pay a bunch of taxes. Somebody should have to come and help me every once in a while.'
So then I was mobile, but still about 130 miles from home and driving on a little donut tire with a recommended high speed of 45 miles per hour. My problems were not over.
So I drove about 15 miles to Hillsville, Virgina, where the trooper told me I could buy a tire at WalMart.
And that's EXACTLY where I wanted to be on the day after Christmas. WalMart.
I refused to accept my fate and I figured that if Hillsville, Virginia were like every similarly sized town in North Carolina, there would be an easy to find and prominently located Autozone.
I was not wrong.
I drove into Hillsville and got to the top of the hill (not kidding) and there on the left was the Autozone. I was SAVED!
Autozone doesn't sell tires, but they directed me to a garage about one block down. He said "we just talked to them, and they're open and they sell tires."
So I went down to Auto Alignment & Service Center of Hillsville, where I was confronted by three guys, none of whom had any teeth. Again, I was undaunted. My papaw didn't have any teeth. I am down with that.
But they were sweet and kind and I, conveniently, speak superfluent Redneck. It is my native tongue.
He said "you've got sixteens on there and I only got seventeens, but they'll work and you really need two". I pretended like I cared about any of that and said "Sir, I am here to give you money. Just fix it."
And he did.
I was in an out in 20 minutes.
The memorable quote of the day was from "Seth" the guy with 9 fingers and no teeth who came out to jack up the car and remarked, upon seeing Finn and Lola -
"Them's purdy dawgs."
And I said "Thank you. They are, aren't they?"
So my trip back to Charlotte that day was delayed, but I got home safely and I was reminded that there are helpful people in the world and that I can handle the challenges. I also think that I've had my holiday car trauma. I'm bullet proof for a while.
And now I know where to go if I need help in Hillsville, Virginia.
Image: Remember What it is Like to Fly by Tiffany Teske.