Lemony Snicket might have known something the rest of us try to forget. No matter where you are, no matter how good and responsible you believe yourself to be – unfortunate and terrible things may still happen to you.
I knew my car was making noises. Of course, like any good procrastinator, I decided to keep waiting a week, hoping that the noise wouldn’t end up being anything too horrific and that it would be able to wait until later to be repaired. As I should have known from experience, life doesn’t work that way. And so it was that on my way home from a particularly relaxing Saturday afternoon, I stopped to get gas and then pulled out, only to have my car shudder with a snap and then coast to a stop in the middle of the road.
That was about the time that the “If Only’s” started running through my head. If only I’d done something about the horrible sounds coming from my passenger axle sooner. If only I hadn’t stopped for gas and just continued until I got home, maybe my car would have broken down closer to a repair shop.
But, this was all nonsense. What was done, was done. My car was motionless, and with the emergency brake on, I called my family.
I can say this: I have the best family in the world. We may not be rich, but we have each other. My sister – who is much stronger and athletic than me – rushed to my aid. She has a cooler head than me in situations like this. In no time at all, my car was on a tow truck and headed for the repair shop in my town.
You’d think that would be the end of it. But, no. My relief was only short lived. It’s the nature of fear to keep coming back, making you afraid to do ordinary things like walk into the dark kitchen because some monster might be waiting behind the cabinet to snatch you up and suffocate you.
And so it was with my car.
To my surprise, my car was fixed straight away. A day later, I had my patchwork quilt of a Ford back and was happily driving to work. It ran so smoothly, it was glorious. What could possibly go wrong now with the road ahead of me?
Well, my car was not finished with me. Perhaps she thought it was too easy for me before. Perhaps some dark wizard cast a spell on her. Whatever the case may be, as I went to leave my job last night, I pulled out of the parking spot in the lot and heard the sound that haunts my dreams. It sounded like rubber grinding against the tar.
To my horror, I stepped out of my car and saw that my back tire was completely flat.
No! I wanted to yell, and perhaps I groaned as I leaned against my car. How could this have happened on the same day that I got my car back? I had freedom for about two hours before it was taken away by fate – a series of unfortunate events. It was about this time that my brain started wondering where the flat had come from? I didn’t have long to wonder because it was then that I saw the curved piece of jagged metal sticking out of the middle of my treads. It was long and angry looking.
It could have come from the shop’s driveway. Maybe it came from one of the two construction sites I drove through to get to my job. Or maybe it came from the area of the parking lot where the snow bank had receded. Wherever it came from, what was done, was done. I was once again stranded, not so unlike the cowboys in the westerns I’ve been reading when their horses are stolen. Except in my case I wasn’t stuck in a prairie – I was stuck in a concrete jungle; a concrete jungle that conveniently closes at 6:00 PM, which is the exact time I get out of work.
So, I did what any stranded person would do. I pillaged a cinder block from inside my office (one that wasn’t being used to prop up the desks so that they can be a standing work station) and jacked up my car. Then, with all the strength within me, I managed to get the tire off in time to be picked up by a friend who drove me to the only car place still open.
Two hours later, I got a new tire.
But, that fear is still in me when I get into my car. I walk around and inspect the tires. Will they go dead when I’m in the middle of nowhere?
I was lucky this time. Rescue wasn’t far away. But, just like in the books, you never know when a series of unfortunate events will descend upon you. When it does, it will be up to you to put your resourceful cap on and dig a way out of the hole!