Monday, April 27, 2009

A Damsel in Distress

A lot of things are quite frightening in life such as scary movies, dark alleys, disease, and Teletubbies. We all have our personal fears that we try to avoid so as to keep some semblance of mind. For me, driving has always held an element of fear, and my record with Dobbs Tire & Auto serves as a wonderful proof of reason. This fear is no secret to anyone who has seen me drive. For this reason I will always offer up my car for a road trip, but I am usually never elected to be the chauffeur. As a result, my map reading skills are near an expert level though.

Just a few days ago I was forced to make the drive from Columbia, MO to Chicago, IL by myself. Now I have made this particular trip on solo missions before. However, this time I was only staying for 24 hours for an interview. Basically I was trying to do everything in a jiffy, including my amount of time on the road. Once I crossed the bridge from Missouri into Illinois it was smooth sailing; the highways were as clear as can be. Of course after some time I found myself behind a line of semis so I naturally coasted into the left lane to pass them. As I did so a bright silver light flashed in front of my eyes. Except that it wasn't a light at all, it was actually a large piece of metal that had just flown off the truck in front of me. Since I was accelerating on the highway there was no way for me to actually stop, nor was there any where to veer off to. Fortunately two of three things happened: I was able to slow down to an acceptable speed and the piece of metal landed before actually hitting my car. As for the third thing, well my front right tire ended up having a rough meeting with the piece of metal. I knew instantly that the metal punctured my tire. It was then that I became "that girl" on the side of the highway. On my cell phone of course, in my pastel striped rugby crew neck.

With having little knowledge about the features on my dashboard, I clearly had absolutely no knowledge of changing a tire. Fortunately good samaritans still exist, and a local man and his son from Hamel, IL (the next exit up) pulled over to assess the situation for me. He confirmed what I had feared: the tire was leaking and that I did not in fact have a spare. He lead me into Hamel to take me to the one garage in town. Of course it was five minutes after 5:00 P.M. when we strolled up the drive and they were very much closed for the day. This good samaritan though told me of a Dobbs in Edwardsville that he was fairly certain I would be able to make it to on my tire. So back on the highway, in the opposite direction of Chicago no less, I went. Once off in Edwardsville I noticed that I was driving over a lot of rock. Obviously it just turned out to be that my tire was now completely flat. I drove with three wheels into St. John's Methodist church lot because a) churches are always a safe haven and b) I had to use the restroom. First thing was first though and I had to call AAA to get a tow truck to take me to Dobbs. AAA is a great service that will pick you up anytime from anywhere if you have your members card, which I quickly found out was left at home. Down the long family phone chain Iine I went in search for the phone and membership numbers. After a full first round of no answers (this is including work and home lines) my sister Emily finally called me back. I was back in business and within 15 minutes a tow truck showed up and brought me to Dobbs.

Sitting in the waiting room at Dobbs felt like forever. This is probably because I was there for an hour and a half. With all this time I was able to fully absorb all the events that had happened in the past three hours. Yes, three hour delay. Anxiety swept over me, and after the fourth time of checking with the Dobbs my Dad finally called me back. When my Dad asked what was wrong a response that was mixed with tears, screaming, and exhaustion was released. I picture it to look similar to that of Kate's (from Jon and Kate Plus Eight) when Jon didn't use a coupon for a light bulb. Magically though my car appeared right after this with a full right tire, and so did my silver lining. Apparently the tire was under warranty by Dobbs so the total replacement was a mere $2.50.

Back to I-55 I went, but it didn't take me long to figure out I was too tired to make it all the way to Chicago. Instead I decided to reroute my trip, and stop in Champaign, IL to visit my cousin Brooke at the University of Illinois. While the drive was far short of a desirable excursion, I was quite impressed my resourcefulness and calm (obviously up until talking to my Dad). Of course I have to give credit where credit is due. The trip would never have been completed without my cell phone, iPod, and the new Arby's turkey bistro sandwich. It's all about the resources.

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