A day to remember from when I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Women! Listen to Your Man
“Don’t use the truck while I’m away,” he says.
“Why not?” I ask. “My back is a mess from pushing the Beetle to start it every time.”
“I’ll have a look at the Beetle when I get back, but meanwhile, don’t use the truck.”
After he leaves, I grumble. Fine for you to say ‘Don’t use the truck.’ Your back isn’t a wreck. I’m working too. To hell with this. I’m taking the truck to work.
The next day I get dressed for work. I have a 30-mile drive through uninhabited countryside to teach at an elementary school in the next town. Ah, yes. It’s so fine driving the truck, even though it is an old beater. I don’t have to push it to start it, and the radio works. It even runs quietly because unlike the VW, it has a muffler. Yes, I thought, I deserve this. I’m working and I deserve this.
But I don’t deserve what happens next.
As I round a slight curve in the highway, the truck wants to leave the road. I fight to hang onto the steering wheel to avoid careening into the ditch. I pump the brake and get the speed down to something manageable. Still holding the steering wheel in a death grip, I manage to come to a stop, just barely off the road, but safely on the shoulder. A quick inspection confirms a shredded right front tire.
Now what? I ‘m about ten miles from town and in the middle of nowhere. I take my school bag, lock the truck, and start walking.
It’s quiet out here on this sparsely used highway. At least it’s not raining for a change. I’ll be late for school. Nothing I can do about that. Maybe someone will come along and I’ll catch a ride. But at this time of the morning, why would anyone be driving this lonely road? I’m having guilty thoughts about using the truck when the Captain specifically said not to. He hadn’t said why though. I thought he was just being chintzy, as the Beetle is much cheaper on gas.
But wait! Do I hear a vehicle? Will it stop for me? I get out on the middle of the road, hoping it won’t barrel right over me. It sounds like a big engine.
Glory be! What comes around the bend but the blessed school bus. The gods love me after all. I jump aboard explaining my near disaster and am delighted to be dropped off at the school steps. I’m not late after all. Everything will be okay.
I phone my brother-in-law, Vaughn, who works at the local garage. He says he’ll see what he can do.
After school, we drive out to the blowout site with a compressor in the back of the garage’s tow truck.
Vaughn pulls up to the back of the truck. “It’s the right front,” I say.
“Well…looks like you have a flat in the back too.”
Vaughn pumps up the back tire, removes the mashed front tire, and has to pump up the flat spare tire before putting it on. He gives me a hug and says good luck.
I drive home praying silently that nothing more will happen. I vaguely remember the Captain once saying something about the truck tires only being cheap retreads. I guess I’ve learned my lesson. My day has been as bad as it can get, hasn’t it?
I pull into the driveway at home and blow out a long breath of relief. I get out of the truck and it seems there’s yet another tire doing the same thing.