Monday, June 15, 2009

Life is a Highway

Unlike other times in the past, I can say with complete honesty it wasn't my fault when I ran out of gas shortly after merging onto the interstate this morning. Religiously I've made it a habit that as soon as my gas light comes on, I set my odometer and know I only have thirty miles to go before things get ugly. In the past when I was young and that one time last year, I've pushed the limits and several times paid the price. For some reason there has always been a good samaritan nearby who decides to take time out of his or her busy day to rescue me.

Knowing I had a 9:00 meeting this morning, I made it a point to do something I rarely do, which is get to work on time at eight. I knew I'd need that hour to prepare - revise some documents, brainstorm ideas - things that were supposed to have been done a month ago but somehow always got pushed to the bottom of my list. I left for work at 7:45, noticing as I cranked Ol' Bessie up that I would certainly need to get gas at some point today, the odometer telling me I was nine miles into my thirty-mile grace period. Not wanting to waste any valuable time, I didn't even consider stopping for gas on the way in.

I pulled onto the interstate and was serenely riding along listening to the morning talk show. I felt the car hesitate, but that's nothing new or alarming so all I did was double-check to make sure I'd read the odometer correctly. Yes. Why then did the car keep farting like that? Normally it doesn't do it that badly unless the A/C is on and I'm attempting to climb some sort of incline, but neither was the case. Fart, fart, fart, aaaand...dead. Feeling as though I had entered the twilight zone, I pulled off onto the shoulder. Things being how they are these days, I did what anyone would do and reached for my phone. Brian probably wouldn't be too pissed after I showed him what the damn mileage read.

It was at that moment I realized my cell phone was dead. It had been for most of the weekend and when I half-heartedly searched for it Saturday night, I realized the only charger I have for this phone was not anywhere to be found, most likely because I'd left it at the office Friday. So to review: dead car, dead cell.

I got my purse and keys, locked the car and started walking. I figured it was only another two miles until I'd reach a store or whatever, and hey, this way I'd get in some unplanned morning exercise! But before I could even form a complete plan, a car pulled off the road a little ways ahead of me. I walked up to it and inside was a portly, jolly-looking man who asked if I needed help. Yessir, I surely do.

And as always in these situations with me, he wasn't a serial killer or raper of short, chunky, middle-age women, but a very nice man who happened to work at the fuel center at Fort Jackson, the military base located a mile or so back. He took me there, filled up his little red gas container, brought me back to my car, put the gas in the car and told me not to trust my gas guage anymore. He wouldn't take any money for his troubles, but instead gave me a hug and told me to try and go to church soon. Typical Southern Baptist and the total person you want to pick you up when you're stranded on the side of the road.

I made it to work with a half hour to spare before the meeting, got my shit together and spent the rest of the day thanking God and Dad for watching over my stupid ass yet again. After relaying to Brian the whole story, I shook my head and said what a bad day I had...but he stopped me and said, "No. It was actually a great day." And of course like usual, he was right.


Anonymous said...

Aww! It actually wasn't a bad day, huh?

It's so nice to read feel-good stories like this one. Kinda reminds us that not ALL people are jackasses.

Anonymous said...

You go out and temp fate with a dead phone and a lit gas gauge...and this is what it deals you. I hope you played the lottery today!

Shari said...

Hi Kim,
Okay, I was at the Sam's today with Leila during a thunderstorm. We ran out to Vannie and I put the keys in the ignition,click,click,click,click. Insert prayer, Please God, don't let this happen today....I cranked her again and voila. Thank God, indeed. At least I was in a parking lot, so it wouldn't have been too bad. But still. Oh, and yes, my phone was dead as well. Whatthe?

Julie said...

I think most people are nice, when given the chance. Too bad that we're so scared of the few bad apples.

LL Cool Joe said...

That's a really cool story. I doubt anyone in the UK would stop and help you out. I think you Americans are a much friendlier bunch of people. I've always received so much genuine warmth when ever I've been in the States.

I could tell you, you were nuts getting in the car with a complete stranger, but sounds like your other options were limited.

Seems like God was looking after you. :)

Kim said...

My faith has been temporarily restored in humankind. Though later I did start to think about what might've happened had someone not so nice pulled over. *Shudders*