Calling for help

The situation couldn’t have gotten much worse. As the last rays of yellow sunlight disappeared behind the trees, I felt my car start shaking and knew that something was definitely wrong.

I hadn’t heard any strange noises, I thought to myself, but since I like to play my car radio loud enough to scare away any wild life that may be considering jumping into the path of my vehicle, I might not have heard it anyway. I hit the power button, and there it was. The car was making that dragging sound which can only mean two things – either I ran over an elephant and am now pulling it behind my vehicle, or I have a flat tire.

A quick glance at the car confirmed it was the latter. My father always told me that there are a few automotive tasks that everyone needs to be able to do. Changing a tire was one of those things. Unfortunately, I didn’t always follow my father’s advice.

I knew the basic mechanics of changing a tire. Loosen the lug nuts, jack up the car, remove the lug nuts and swap the bad tire for the spare. Unfortunately, putting those concepts into practice proved to be a little more difficult than I originally anticipated.

After pulling all of the various tools out of my trunk – no easy task, since the trunk contained a stroller, two diaper bags, a gym bag and enough redeemable cans to keep the boy scouts funded for three years – I quickly decided that I might need to call for help.

Unfortunately, keeping my cell phone readily charged is not something I regularly do. With the radio off, I could hear the phone beeping, indicating that the battery was about to die. I grabbed the cell phone, dialed as quickly as I could, and hoped my husband had returned to the house.

My sister answered on the third ring, and I realized I had dialed the wrong number. I quickly explained the situation, hung up the phone and tried my house, but the phone’s battery died before I had the chance to reach anyone else.

Although I was still a little nervous, I was sure my big sister would immediately call my house and tell my husband I was stranded with a flat tire. Unfortunately, since I was speaking far too fast for human ears to decipher, she heard only pieces of my explanation and had no idea what I had said.

While I waited for help to arrive, I attempted to change the tire on my own. First, I tried to loosen the lug nuts, which were apparently put on by Hercules. Minutes ticked by and still I had made no progress. No amount of pushing or pulling or begging worked to make the lug nuts give.

I decided to skip that step and work to jack the car up instead. After a lot of effort and several failed attempts, I succeeded and went back to work on the lug nuts. The sky had grown dark and I had still not made any progress, when a friendly passerby decided to stop and give me a hand.

I’m fairly certain that if the kind man hadn’t stopped and offered his help, I would still be stranded on the side of the road. Thanks to his help, I was on my way in 10 minutes.

I guess my dad was right. Everyone should know how to change a tire, or at the very least, everyone should know to carry a cell phone and a car charger.

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