Where [Not] To Park A Car
After a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is… well. Pretty much anything.
But from time to time, doing things is unavoidable. Bank. Grocery store. Dishes. Laundry. I congratulate myself on the rare occasion that I make it happen after work – even small things.
That’s what I did this afternoon, despite my bed and a nap beckoning me home. I drove that extra mile, got myself out of the car, and managed to turn myself on for another fifteen minutes to do something. When I left, I felt so accomplished that I nearly went out for something to eat.
Then I remembered my bed, and a nap. And threw that idea out the window.
My car sputtered when I started it, but eventually idled as normal. This is not unusual behavior. My car has been doing this for a year now, and I’ve chosen to ignore it. When it’s time to have that looked at, the car will let me know. Right?
Well. Today was that day.
As I turned on the (rather busy) road, I noticed the lights on my dash flickering, and the revs dropped low. It was behaving as if it were running out of gas – which I knew couldn’t be the case. I just filled it yesterday! My home isn’t far, and I hoped to just gun it and coast all the way home if I gained enough momentum. That was until I saw the dreaded red light in front of me, and was forced to stop.
The car immediately died, and would not start again.
So, fuck. There I was, broke down in the middle of a busy lane on an already hectic intersection – exactly the LAST thing I want to do after a long day at work. The horns flared behind me, cars zipped around and fingers were flung as if my being stuck there was the utter worst thing that could happen to them.
“Okay, Google!” I chirped into my phone. “Find me towing companies! Because my life sucks right now.” Google diligently provided me a list of phone numbers, and I began to make calls.
There’s a funny thing about towing companies. When you’re parked illegally, however accidental, they are swift to tow your ass away and charge you a great big bill for your mistake. When you actually want them around, they are mysteriously nowhere to be found.
Five numbers failed to answer entirely. I watched the traffic back up behind me, and prayed that no one would rear end anybody. Ending up at the bottom of a pile up would be the next step in making the situation worse. Someone called me back, and told me they could be there in two and a half hours. Yes, let me leave my car parked in rush hour traffic for two and a half hours. Great.
As I made my sixth call, a big white truck veered around and a man walked out. He looked like the dark corner of a biker bar, in a shirt with ripped off sleeves and tight jeans that have seen things. Was he there to tell me off for being parked there, or mug me, murder me, or all of the above? After digging around the back of his truck, he retrieved not a club to beat me with, but tow cables. Without a word, he tied our vehicles taut together before approaching my window.
“I’m going to pull you into a side street,” he explained. “Get ya parked so you’re not stuck in the middle of the road.” And then murder me? I wondered. “You know how to tow?”
I nodded that I did, even though I wasn’t so sure, and we were off. For better, or worse.
It was a short drive to a safe place to park. Somehow I managed to not damage the back of his truck. He released our vehicles, and I prepared myself for the crime that would end up on the paper the next day.
But it didn’t happen. He refused the money I offered him, wished me a Merry Christmas, and went on his way.
Nice people exist? Is this an angel? Have I been wrong about that whole religion thing all this time?
So, I’m home at last, ready to guzzle vodka. I have no idea who the man was, and I wish I could repay him in some way. It’s good to know that there are still good people in the world, who will stop whatever they’re doing to help a stranger out. They are rare, but they exist. Even if they look like scary people at biker bars. Thank you, stranger in a truck! This season, I’ll be sure to pay it forward to someone else in whatever way I can.
Keep the spirit alive, people. You never know how much a little thing can make someone’s day. Merry Christmas!