Sometimes I do taxi driving for the horse-and-buggy Mennonite community. Last week’s adventure topped any from the past. And it happened on our anniversary.
Emma, one of my passengers, had a medical appointment in a city 70 miles away. Her adult daughter, Esther, decided to go along and do some shopping.
All went well until the appointment was over and I discovered we had a flat tire.
No problem, I’ll just call roadside assistance and we’ll be on our way shortly.
Wrong. Murphy’s Law was about to meddle with our entire day.
The roadside serviceman arrived.
Did I mention it was a hot, humid day? And did I also mention that in our minivan, the location for the spare tire may have been invented by a maniac scientist cackling with laughter at the ridiculous place he put it?
In order to reach my spare tire, the service tech had to locate a collapsible gizmo inside the tail hatch, unfasten a small cover on the floor between the front seats, insert the crank and turn. The gizmo was supposed to lower the spare tire to the ground precisely in the middle---UNDER the car. Then the poor tech had to lie on the blistering pavement, unfasten the rope holding the spare, and slide the tire out.
Only it didn’t happen that easily. He tried lying on his back and tugging on the spare tire. Then he tried going to the other side of the car, lying on his side and tugging. Finally, it occurred to him that he should jack up the car a little to gain more clearance.
“How long have you been doing this kind of work?” I casually asked.
“This is my fourth week,” he replied.
Hoo boy, A rookie.
At last the spare tire slid out from under the car. Then came the formidable task of loosening the lug nuts and studs from the flat tire. There were only four lug nuts instead of the usual five. The service tech broke off two of them.
“I can’t get them off,” he replied. You’ll have to get this towed to a garage and call a cab.”
A cab? Do I look like a millionaire?!
So now we were looking at a rollback truck. The driver soon had our car fastened on the rollback and ready to take us to our own community for repairs at a local tire shop.
But how do three women squash into the front of a truck with a male driver? Very carefully, that’s how.
I was glad I carried a large purse that day; I placed it on the seat between the driver and me, while the other two women -one an expectant mother-squeezed into the remaining space. The expectant mother had to slide forward and perch on the front six inches of the seat. For two hours.
The driver made it to our local tire shop. But the adventure wasn’t over yet. Murphy was chuckling up his sleeve as he anticipated what came next.
The workers at the tire shop loaned us a 15-passenger van so Esther and Emma could finish their shopping. The tire people were so kind that I never told them the air conditioning on the van wasn’t working.
Meanwhile Justin, at the shop, was puzzling over how to pry two sheared-off tire studs from the wheel.
Back to the ladies in town. After shopping we left the main part of town when I realized the gas gauge registered “E”. Back we went to a gas station. I was busy watching the numbers on pump five when I felt something wet on my shoe. Gas was running on the pavement instead of in the tank! The gauge must be broken.
We returned to the tire shop; they hadn’t reached a solution to our problem yet. So we decided to visit a local country grocery store while we waited.
Returning to the tire shop later, we found Justin, the tire technician, trying to fix the problem. Lug nuts and tire studs were scattered on the floor. At last we were ready to roll.
Not really. Out in the parking lot, Esther and Emma had to transfer a LOT of store items from the maxi van to our minivan.
And I noticed the guys in the shop had forgotten to put the spare tire back UNDER the van. Out came the two men to finish the job; this time Aaron had to lie on hot gravel to guide the tire while Justin cranked from above. Aaron wasn’t doing the happy dance.
NOW we should be ready. Um, not even yet. They forgot to put the hubcap back on. They had been super busy that day, and probably wished I would just disappear.
Backing up to the garage door once more, I handed Justin the hubcap and breathed with relief as he installed it. Although I didn’t look back as we drove away, I think the guys in the shop may have clicked their heels and thrown their hats in the air when we left.
I was grateful Emma and Esther were such good sports that day. They helped point out the humor in it all.
And next anniversary? I think I’ll just stay home, turn off my phone and read a book all day.
What about you? Have any adventures where Murphy visited you? Don't forget to comment below.