Sunday, August 7, 2011

From the Annamaniacs Files 2005: Blowout

In keeping with this vacation theme I have going because I can't go on vacation and everyone I know is, I'm posting this from my files. I wrote this back when I had a career, or the beginnings of one. A weekly humor column, a novel about to be published, the money to go further than my back yard. Hope you enjoy and please leave comments. I'm trying to break the World Guiness Record for most comments posted to a blog. I only have about two billion more to go.


Warning: Shameless plug ahead!
I was heading south through Montana, on my way to a booksellers convention in Salt Lake City to promote my first novel, “Roses and Daisies”.

Not that I actually had a book to sign. It’s not due out until October, but I was kind of like a trailer in a movie theater — “coming soon to a bookstore near you. The sorrow, the hilarity, the romance, the mystery – don’t miss it.”

Shameless plug over, now on to the rest of the story. Hey, by the way, does anyone else remember that guy on the radio who would tell “the rest of the story?” No? Never mind. Hey, does anyone else remember Rosanna Danna saying “never mind?”

Montana, for those who have never been there, is lots of rolling hills, some mountainous roads, and a few small cities, which are like hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of miles apart.

The speed limit in the US is 75 miles an hour. That translates to about 200K to you and me.

Warning: do not go through the Chief Mountain Bear Buffalo Something border. You will spend three days just driving through mountains until you finally reach the I-15 and realize that you’re only fifteen minutes from the border. You might as well be one of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for forty years.

So after I reach the I-15, I’m happily speeding down the road, singing at the top of my voice when I suddenly smell burning.

Not like Smokey the Bear burning. No, this was the kind of burning you smell just before your car explodes.

I look at my gauges, remembering last year and being stranded in the middle of nowhere in Ontario with an overheated car, and then suddenly I feel something and I see a hubcap rolling merrily down the road ahead of me.

When I pull over I discover that my left front tire looks like licorice strings.

So I go to my trunk, unpack everything, find my jack and pull out my spare. I bring them to the front of my car, and I look at my jack, and I look at my car, and I realize:

I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.

I do not have a cell phone, and I do not have AMA this time around.

On to plan B.

Stand by my car and look as helpless as possible.

I think it must be hard to see helpless on the side of the road when you’re pretending you’re Mario Andretti. That must be why so many cars whizzed by me so fast all I could see were colored streaks. They could envision themselves getting past the checkered flag somewhere in the distance.

Eventually a man and his teenage son stopped across the road and came over to help me. And a few moments later another man stopped. He had managed to see me but he had been Mario Andretii-ing too fast to stop, so he had dropped out of the race and managed to turn around.

He parked his car a little down the road to warn other motorists that we were there.

I have always, in my travels, found people who were willing to help me whenever I’ve had car trouble.

I seem to have car trouble a lot.

Which means I get to meet a lot of nice men. None of them single and looking like Brad Pitt — I wouldn’t be that fortunate.

It turns out my spare was flat.

It had to be flat because life can’t be easy and I’m involved in this.

Fortunately I was only five miles from Great Falls. A miracle when you think that the towns are all hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of miles from each other.

So I drove at 25 miles and hour (as I promised my rescuers) and made it to the city where I found a place that put air in my tire although that task wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds. You would think that places that service trucks would have air hoses.

Yes this is me with my red car and the flat
driver side tire. Only I didn't get the jack on
and my hair was longer, and I'm a girl.

They don’t.

After a trip to the junkyard to get a replacement tire put on my rim and two hours later I’m back in the race.

What’s that? I think I smell something burning.