austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Going to the job, fighting off the road hogs

So we were stuck on a car with an unchangeable tire on the Hutchinson River Parkway. Mom called BMW technical support and they said the county police and a tow truck would be there in around ten minutes. So I stood around, with Dad nagging me to get on the concrete divider, because you know how drivers will aim right for the people, stuck car, and concrete divider given the chance. (Mom stayed in the car.) And while it was a cold day, at least it wasn't really truly bitterly cold, and we watched one LearJet after another taking off from the Westchester County Airport.

And ... we waited ... and ... waited. A lady in a station wagon stopped to ask if we needed help and we spoke as truly as we knew: we did, but there's supposed to be a police car and a tow truck on the way, but we appreciated her stopping. We also appreciated the town cop who stopped. He wasn't sent by BMW's masterminds, he was just driving around and was surprised no county police had stopped. He promised to come back around and check up on us. We got to thinking how nice it was BMW was flying someone in from Germany to take care of us. Another guy in a more generic car stopped, and all we could do was pass on the word that Technical Support promised there would be someone there within twenty minutes. One brown van with open windows drove past; the college-age kids inside laughed. That wasn't so helpful. And hours after the first call, no county police, no tow truck, no nothing. If you have to get away with something, the Hutch on a Saturday afternoon is the place and time for it.

I asked Mom if she mentioned to Technical Support that she was a doctor and had to get places (she's a PhD in clinical psychology, leaving me eternally wary of acting too much like myself), an act of pulling rank she very rarely does. She hadn't used that yet, but they were promising there'd be someone there within a half-hour. As I went to tell Dad that, up came a tow truck, and better, he stopped. Moments later a county police officer stopped.

I like to believe that stranger things don't happen to me more often than they do to everyone else, so I need to ask: consider the various times you've met a mechanic, for any reason. How many of them have been one-armed?

He was a cheery guy, and was apparently delayed because he had to deliver a car to the Bronx. By using our weird little jack to lift the car enough to wedge his real, hefty jack under a part of the car, which he used to lift the car enough so our jack could be used to lift it a little more, which he used to fit his jack under the car he lifted it up high enough to put on the spare tire. (I know it sounds like I got this down wrong, but that's how it happened.) In the time it took to run the credit card through the machine (the longest part of this operation, since apparently the signal was weak) we were ready to go, at spare-tire slow speeds, into Connecticut. There the road turned into the Merritt Parkway, where we saw evidence of campers. My dad, the Eagle Scout, couldn't imagine camping off the Merritt Parkway in February. I have a more general idea of places and times I couldn't imagine camping.

Mom regretted that she didn't bring any of her books. Since I was standing outside most of that time I was sorry I didn't really have the chance to read mine, particularly as it's about 2,038 pages long. She considered starting mine, but she already had three books in different stages of reading and thought four was maybe too much. But if I hadn't had to stand outside the car I would have had enough reading material for the delay. Mom also noted how nobody else she has ever met has ever had a one-armed mechanic. Well, Dad and I didn't arrange it.

Trivia: 67 nations participated in the International Geophysical Year. Source: Source: Something New Under the Sun, Helen Gavaghan.

Currently Reading: Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, Stephen Ambrose.


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