What does one learn when one’s car abruptly stalls in the center lane of the interstate in heavy Friday afternoon traffic and won’t restart?
1. Don’t freak out. Don’t forget to breathe.
2. All will be well. Say Help. Thanks and Wow will come later.
3. Angels are with us and may be in uniform. (Three state patrol officers, one of them twice; a military man in camouflage—I could see him; and whoever called the first patrolman while I was still grappling with #1.)
4. Get a car charger for your cell phone. (I have one.) Keep your phone plugged in so it’s always fully charged. (I do not.)
5. Carry water. (I do.)
6. Always have a book, and a note pad and pen. (I always do.) It helps take your mind off needing to pee while waiting three hours in the sun for a tow truck. (See #5.)
7. Fork out the money for AAA Plus. (I did.)
8. Once you call AAA, don’t cancel it because you think your car has miraculously healed itself. (It has not.) In the five minutes before you call and reinstate, the estimated one hour wait time can become two hours (added to the 45 minutes already waited of the one hour), especially on Friday afternoon.
9. If your mechanic tells you there is a repair you need soon, don’t wait. (I did.) It’s not like you are going to win the lottery while you wait.
10. Forty minutes of Barbie infomercials on tow truck driver’s 8-year-old daughter’s electronic device seems like three hours. (See #1.)
11. This too shall pass. And then there shall be beer and pizza, especially beer; and if you are lucky, a sister. (I am lucky.)
12. See #2.