Do not pass Go
Friday August 27th 2010, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Life

So I had all these things I was going to do today, and one was a trek to the outlets in Gilroy an hour+ away to look for warmer clothes for the daughter about to need them.  On a whim, I threw a small knitting project in my purse, feeling a little silly but you never know.  On another whim, I said I’d drive  and Michelle went, Oh! I thought I was going to. Sure, and how about I do it on the way back?


Which is why a more experienced driver was at the wheel and the other driver got to learn new things without having to make any decisions in the moment.

Heavy traffic, lots of braking ahead, I was slowing down–when suddenly the brakes felt dead. Boom just like that.  My car is old but well maintained but oh well.  I was sure I was going to slam into the guy up there ahead of me, but no, the brakes actually worked even if they didn’t feel like it while I was pushing as hard as I could. Thank heavens!

I was in the next-to-left lane and there was an exit just ahead. I managed to get over several lanes and the traffic just opened up for me when I turned on my signal, how in that mess, I don’t know, thank you everybody and somehow it worked without all the things that could have happened happening.

Off. I got far enough down the ramp to where there was, for whatever reason, a stretch of suddenly cleared-off pavement in the margin, not much longer than one car’s length. I took it.   Before and after that point, the breakdown lane was all covered in dry tinderbrush that believe me you do not want to touch with a hot car in a California summer.

And that’s when I saw the smoke.  Just a little, then pouring out from under the hood on the right.  Please don’t blow up on us.  Just please don’t blow up on us.  (I flashbacked: I once saw a car with its engine on fire shooting massive flames fifteen feet high and it was three blocks from my house: the driver had pulled over right under a very dried-out olive tree. In front of a gas station.  I thought, flashback, you are not helping me here.  Shut up. It shut up.)

Meantime, behind us, people were speeding and cutting over the line on the offramp, seeing us and veering back into their lane and I was glad for every inch away from them we had–and very glad to be off that freeway!

Where, while we waited for the tow, grateful for cellphones, we saw a fire truck and then an ambulance making their way forward as the traffic started to back up past that point.  Someone was having a way worse day than we were. Gratitude check there.

AAA towed us to the nearest AAA-approved garage.  While I gave the owner our contact information, the tow driver quietly said to Michelle, This is NOT a good end of town.  Would you like me to drop you two off at Denny’s to wait for your ride home?

I almost hugged the guy. I did hug Richard later.

A shout out to KatherineL, who offered to rescue us when we couldn’t reach Richard at first. Thank you *so* much.

Coming home, trying not to feel weird about leaving my car to an unknown fate in the hands of strangers, Richard had a doctor’s appointment he was only going to make to on time now if he could go in the carpool lane.  We swung by home, let Michelle mercifully out, and I went with him.  He told me I didn’t have to, he could risk it if I wanted to get out too; I told him, You rescued me; I rescue you. It’s only fair.

And I was so glad I had that little knitting project.  My coming grandson’s little hat finally got all but the decreasing done while I waited. I think I really needed that.

And yet–Michelle and I were talking afterwards and we were both saying, You know? For all that that could have been, that was as pleasant as it could possibly have been under the circumstances. The tow truck driver was a sweetheart, the garage owner seemed a decent type, KatherineL was ready to run right there, Richard enjoyed the pumpkin pie piece I bought him to go while waiting at Denny’s. It could all have been so much worse.  We got off easy, we really did.

At least someone’s going to be warmer because of that trip!

17 Comments so far
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Too much excitement for one day! Glad to read your story had the conclusion it did.

Comment by LynnM 08.28.10 @ 12:36 am

Glad your little adventure turned out safely. Cars…..can’t live with them and can’t live without them!

Comment by Joansie 08.28.10 @ 5:37 am

So glad to hear there was a positive outcome to all the drama of a damaged car. Just like computers, when they work, they work very well. But when they’re broken, our lives practically come to a halt. I’m sure glad your guardian angels were watching over you.

Comment by Jody 08.28.10 @ 6:37 am

A bit of real gratitude is good for us. I was so glad to see the clouds the other day, after driving into the sun for a while.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 08.28.10 @ 6:47 am

Praise God for the angels he sent you!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 08.28.10 @ 8:37 am

We all get by with a little help from strangers. Been there, done that!

Comment by Abby 08.28.10 @ 9:01 am

Whew – glad that everything was well taken care of, you and the car! And you have another wonderful story about the goodness of people to add to your collection.

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 08.28.10 @ 9:17 am

God really *is* in the details, protecting you and Michelle, also the other drivers and the tinderbrush, and sending the right tow-truck driver.

Comment by Lynn 08.28.10 @ 10:01 am

Whooosh! You scared the daylights outta me! Thank Heaven you didn’t hit anyone, nor anyone hit you, and you were able to get off the freeway! In one piece — each.

Comment by Don Meyer 08.28.10 @ 10:05 am

whew, glad you’re okay.

I had my brakes go out on the Beltway in DC. Not fun, not fun at all.

Comment by afton 08.28.10 @ 10:55 am

Today, my brakes worked fine…everything else decided to take a break…we, too, made it safely to the side of the road. I hadn’t really meant to emulate you, ya know!

Comment by Ruth 08.28.10 @ 6:29 pm

So glad you two are OK. Angels watching that’s for sure! Several years ago, I headed to a quilt show by myself, on my motorcycle. It died. Luckily on a main street, and I was able to pull it into an apartment parking lot. Alas, I hadn’t brought any knitting or hand work, so the wait for my husband to rescue me was very, very long. Now, even if I’m running to the grocery store, I have my current socks-in-progress with me. You never know!

Comment by DebbieR 08.28.10 @ 7:45 pm

I am so glad all were safe. Richard earned that pie, and you’ve earned a quiet day tomorrow.

Comment by twinsetellen 08.28.10 @ 8:13 pm

Wow. Glad I read most recent first so I already knew this was coming…

Comment by Channon 08.30.10 @ 7:17 am

Nailbiter. So glad it turned out OK.

Comment by Lene 08.30.10 @ 5:04 pm

Talk about an adventure – one that ended well, overall. Thank God!

I suppose it would be appropriate to share a similar experience. My brother was driving us (mom, hubby and I) back to my mom’s place after our wedding ceremony at the court house when his van stopped in the middle lane, right as traffic was setting in on a sunny Friday afternoon.

Since there was not enough room for all of us in the towing truck, mom, hubby and I got to ride in a provincial police car to the nearest convenience store where we could call a cab (no cell phone in our family at that time). I have pictures to prove it (because mom knew nobody would believe us otherwise lol).

Turns out the policewoman was to get married the following July. So she asked me how nervous I was (I wasn’t) – as if we were just catching up.

You cannot guess the shape angels will take when they come along, huh?

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 09.01.10 @ 7:03 am

I have learned that angels come in all sizes and shapes. You just have to watch for them, and give thanks for them. I’m glad you had a happy ending and Richard got some pie!

Comment by Mary 09.01.10 @ 3:03 pm

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