The freeway shoulder we were trapped on was no wider than the width of our small car. Wedged against the low concrete barrier, the boy and I peered out of the car windows to the river and train tracks far below the bridge we were on. The boy appeared unfazed by our precarious predicament and went back to playing his hand held video game. I was very much fazed by this predicament and began one of those secret silent internal prayers.
The trees were flying by at 60 miles an hour when the husband and I knew the tire was flat. Aided by my loud, reactionary recommendation to, “Do something!” the driving husband managed to limp our car from the far left lane of the freeway to the shoulder on the right hand side of the freeway. The car was rolling on the rim and was not making pleasant noises. We could see that the upcoming exit was quite long, shoulderless, downhill and one big curvy blind spot. Aided by my loud, spur of the moment conclusion that “Oh this isn’t good –ALL the stopping spots are bad!” the husband decided the skinny shoulder was at it’s widest just before the exit. This is where he would have to change the flat tire. He expertly eased the car to within a few inches of the side of the bridge we were on, aided of course, by my loud helpful screams of, “Ahhhhh…YOU’RE GOING TO HIT THE CONCRETE WALL!”
The husband waited for a break in traffic, got out of the car and ran like a track star back to the trunk. As he began unloading the jack and the mini-spare tire, a semi truck exited the freeway, covering the husband in freeway dust, vibrating fear right through me and leaving the boy completely unfazed. The dusty husband, jack and mini-spare in hand, waited again for a break in traffic and then ran up to the flat front left tire. For the next half hour, the husband kept one eye on the speeding traffic and one eye on his tire changing duties. He alternated 20 second intervals of tire changing with running, in calculated self preservation, for the marginally safer shoulder. And each time he ran, he was aided by my muffled, involuntary, inside the car sputterings of, “Oh, I don’t like this one bit!” and “Holy crap! That was a close one!”
In a somewhat incoherent panic, I turned to the unfazed, video game playing boy in the back seat. “This …it’s..bad…really, really……… not…good.”
Without looking up he muttered, “Why?”
My eyes widened to their limit and I shook my bossy finger toward him. I firmly informed him that his father could be hit by a semi truck at any minute. And that would be very bad.
The unfazed, video game playing boy then said, “Oh, it could be much worse than that, mom. A semi truck could hit dad and then hit our car, pushing us up over that small ledge right there. We could be pushed off the bridge and fall all the way down to the railroad tracks. We could then get run over by an oncoming train that just might possibly cause an explosion. That explosion could cause the bridge to collapse and create a crater that we would fall into only to have the bridge pieces fall down to bury us forever. OR…maybe we’d be thrown into the river where we would drown before anyone could get to us."
The husband got back in the car in one dusty, greasy piece. He started to drive away, aided by my new conservative, mini spare driving requirements. The husband turned to me and said, “Well, that was pretty bad, wasn’t it?”
I shrugged my shoulders and non chalantly said, “Oh I don’t know…..seems to me it could have been much worse……”
Check This Out!
My recent Johnny Cash obsession has led to a Highwaymen obsession. Willie, Waylon and Kris along with Johnny performed in the late 1980's and 1990's. Check out live versions of two of my favorites.