Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rough Ride

Last weekend I was at my parents’ house.  As I attempted to make the drive home, it fast became one of the most miserable two part drives of my life. 

Things started smoothly enough.  I stopped for gas at a really ghetto gas station in Marion.  They were advertising a chicken liver and gizzards meal and that they accept food stamps.  Two things I have never seen at a gas station before.  I was playing a game while driving—the “Can I get to this exit before this time” game—which is played pretty much how it sounds.  You figure out an exit number, then the time you want to be at the exit.  Like… “Can I get to exit 45 by 8:30” and then you do what it takes to meet that goal. 

Then came the ominous sound.  ERRRRR….ERRRRRRR…..ERRRRR…..The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning……40 mph storm…..gusts of up to 70 mph……affecting the area where Ashley is driving right now.”

So I call Andy.  I let him know, “Hey, I might be late.”  We chat a bit. 

Then came the ominous sights.  “Andy, the sky just turned black above me.  Like really black.”

So he does what any good twenty-first century husband would—he went to weather.com.

“Ashley, I need you to stay calm.  I’ve never seen this before…the radar where you are is black.  It’s beyond red.  I think you need to pull over.”

Then the storm began.  And my windshield wipers tore into shreds.  And I could see the rain being torn in two directions by the wind.  Close to the ground it was going across the road to the left.  Higher up, it was pouring to the right.

I did pull over.  Right on the side of the road.  For the very first time in my life.  And I sat there for a good while with my blinkers on until I could regain visibility even without the use of my shredded wipers.  During that time, Andy and I decided it would be best for me to get to Indianapolis and spend the night at his parents.

I eventually made it to Indy where my wonderful father-in-law replaced my windshield wipers and I was finally able to  calm down.

Then yesterday.  I attempted again to make it home.

At one point on my journey home, I thought in my head…. “Gee, it could be really dangerous if your tire went flat or blew out on the interstate.”

Then, as I got off one interstate onto another, I started to notice my car not speeding up properly.  Then I started to hear what sounded like a helicopter.  I quickly realized that I was the helicopter.  In the middle lane of three lanes of traffic.  On I-65 South of Indianapolis.

My rear driver side tire was completely exploded.  Like totally gone.  The whole sidewall blew out.

I couldn’t get over.  I turned my blinkers on.  I kept on breaking.  And eventually, instead of dying, which I was certain was going to happen, I got off the interstate, where I quickly noticed two things.  The first—those shoulders sure aren’t very wide.  And my tire sure was flat.

So I call Andy.  Again.  This time at work.  And I let him know, “For the third time, one of the tires on my car has completely exploded and I’m pulled off on the middle of an interstate.”

He begins talking me through the process of changing my tire, the whole time I’m praying for some nice man to pull over and help me out.  I’m sure I could do it, but my mental capacity was pretty close to nil at this point.

Thankfully, a nice man pulled over and changed my tire.  He did it in about 5 minutes, where it would have taken me more like 55.  He lived nearby, so he gave me directions to several different tire stores.  He even waited and waved me onto the interstate and followed me to the next exit to make sure I got there safely.

I quickly (as quickly as you can get with a donut tire and nerves of Jell-O) pulled into the Tire and Lube Express at the Greenwood Wal-Mart.  Where I promptly replaced all of the tires on my car because that was the third one that had blown up.  The first two had been at low speeds here in town….one three summers ago, the other two summers ago.  And my husband told me that under no uncertain circumstances would I be returning home with those tires.  He was done with them.  I was done with them.

So an hour and half and a few hundred dollars later, my new tires, my new windshield wipers, and my very frazzled self made our way home.

The rest of the drive was pretty easy.  At least, I think it was.  I don’t really remember much.  Except that when I pulled in my driveway, I cried for the first time.  Because my nerves were shot. 

But I made it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just one of lifes many challenging experiences. It's in the valleys that we grow. Love you G