Nothing wakes one up in the morning like white smoke and squealing belts. Or a shuddering wheel and that stomach-dropping slow motion failing of a car that was chugging along happily at twenty miles an hour up the the first turn onto a major street but now suddenly isn’t. A car that is suddenly not so much a car but a rolling hunk of metal that, only by the power of curse punctuated prayer, made it back up the hill to the first available parking spot.
Wakes you up like an quintuple short expresso on intravenous drip.
(and yes, Dad, I know you are reading this. I am fine. The car is fine…that is, it’s getting a new ignition coil in the shop, plus maybe a few other odds and ends that will continue to make it the safest and most reliable ten year old Subaru in town.)
This was, in fact, my first experience with utter vehicular failure. I’ve always been able to coax what ever I am driving back on to the road to at least limp to the shop. But this time, there was no way on this green earth that I was going to even consider restarting the engine once I’d gotten it parked. It was going to explode in firework style color if I did. I swear. Or maybe dinosaurs were going to leap out of it and attack me. Probably both.
All of this necessitated two things I’ve decided a girl should never be without: the number of a tow truck and a trustworthy mechanic. As of now, I have found both and both men–the tow truck driver and the mechanic (who has yet to return my car to me, and I risk some sort of karmic jinx by saying this, but I have faith nonetheless)–are heroes. They are men who do their job well, beautifully well. Which, in a world where the news is a circus of well educated, well paid people doing things badly, is a relief. It’s a worldly manifestation of those damn Allstate commercials.
See, my car has been the most consistent thing in my life over the past ten years. I’ve had it longer than my job, longer than any relationship. That red, scrapped up and dented, reliable station wagon has driven from this coast of the country and back again. It’s an excellent spot for dinner, always has a great band and had provided many a shoulder to cry on. And it exploded.
But here’s what the mechanic said: You did the right thing. We’ll take a look at it and if we can fix it we will. That’s what we do.
I could have cried on the phone. Maybe I did.
Then he gave me the number of a tow company, who when called literally said, “Your wish is my command”. And it was. He showed up within a minute of when he said he would and performed some kind of miracle rolling my failed car in neutral down the hill and onto the truck with trained stunt driver precision.
These guys are good. The world…that is the world that included a working car…had ended and yet these two men had me convinced that it would be okay. Things were out of my control and I WASN’T WORRIED. This is a kind of magic.
Then it hit me. These men are good at their jobs and they make if clear with every move. And this is why I struggle to do what I do the way I do. I want to be good at my job. I want that sense of confidence to leak through like syrup, until it sticks to even the most panicked child or parent and they’ll trust that things’ll be okay. If we can fix it, we will. If not, well then, we’ll deal with that. We’re professionals here.
And if you ever need the number of tow truck or the name of good mechanic, I’ve got one.