Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bowed but not broken

So there I am. Tootling along the Saw Mill River Parkway, going to pick up my husband, happy to be a little early so that I can knit at the train station - like the dutiful little Donna Reed type I like to pretend I am. (If you don't know who Donna Reed is, you're too young to be reading my blog.) Anyway, I am south of Mt. Kisco and north of Chappaqua when it happens. The front right tire blows! First, I pull the car to the side and up on the grass. Then, since I have about 10 seconds worth of charge on my ancient cell phone,I call AAA and speed-speak (not a big challenge for me) and give them my location. Then I wait - and wait - and wait. Not that this is triple A's fault, mind you. Apparently, there's a protocol to be observed when one breaks down on a county road. When help does turn up, it turns out to be the Marx Brothers - in disguise - and one at a time

First it was the cop. Turns out "Gummo" can't do much, but he is authorized to call the local "Help" vehicle. Then a truck arrives. It has a gigantic HELP sign on its side. "Harpo" can make the call, but he can't change the tire. So he calls the third one, "Groucho", who proceeds to tell me that the second one was a lazy liar and should have done the tire change there. Now he's going to have to tow my car for a nice safe (and expensive) ride. Then the second one reappears and a fight ensues between the two of them as they both debate who was wrong and what should have been done and would be done in the future.

What, you may ask, have I been doing during the 90 minutes that this little scene took place? What do you think? Knitting by the side of the road. Thank goodness it was a scarf so i could wind it around my neck as I worked and attempt to keep warm. I credit it with keeping me not only warm, but also calm. However, when the fight broke out, I got a little testy with the both of them and pretty soon it got kind of ugly. Since I was the one with the pointy needles in my hand, they listened but only for a moment. Finally, as boys will do, they banded together and looked at me with total disrespect for breaking down in the first place.

Since my first priority was to get going, I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and kept my mouth shut. I gathered my knitting, climbed into the cab of the tow truck, told the behemoth with the tire wrench that we'd be going now and waited for him to put my saab on the truck. A challenge was still ahead, however. He only got the message when I asked him how much this little jaunt in westchester was going to cost. Well, he said, "It's $65.00 for the hook up, $35.00 for the tire changing and I'd prefer to tow it back to the garage and do it nice and safely." Right - and people in hell prefer ice water, too, I thought. The garage was 20 miles away and even he didn't have the gaul to tell me what the per mile charge was on the tow. I pointed out the nice convenient exit about 1/2 mile away and told him it looked plenty safe to me, and that given his size and ability, and the fact that it was still daylight, I had confidence in him. That's when the grouchy side really emerged. But I got my way (first time that day, I might add - and I got away for a mere $l00.00)

So, what did i learn from this sojourn? First, never break down on a county road - it's all a racket and your local AAA is powerless in the face of it. Second, never argue with guys who make their business by traveling the roads and looking for breakdowns. Third, always ask the price of everything (this one i already knew - learned it from my first (and only) divorce.
Fourth, never, and I mean never, leave home without it - your knitting, that is.

NOTE TO READERS: Thank you for some of your great responses. I only wish i could answer you personally. However, blogger.com doesn't allow for response to messages marked "anonymous" which is what happens when someone posts a message through my site. If you're ok with it, I'd love to have your email address so i could reply personally - I promise i'll keep it safely tucked away and no one will ever have access to it.
If not, here's a collective thank you, again!
ph

3 Comments:

Anonymous kay said...

This is such a scary story! What if you hadn't had your knitting?

That is Teva Durham's scarf, right? I am in love with her new book and I don't even have it yet. xox Kay

6:53 PM  
Blogger benedetta said...

yeah, that sounded pretty scary! thanks for the advice on how to deal effectively with such an eventuality. glas the scarf kept you warm and calm

9:12 PM  
Blogger alltangledup said...

oh that sounded terrible. I've been lucky when I've had flats, usually, a big guy was sitting beside me to fix it. One thing that I learned in Uni was to stay inside locked car if it happened at night and only open the door to police cars. That NYer in you made sure that you didn't get ripped off. Mechanic can be very bad with women.

9:29 AM  

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