The week started with a blow-out on I-90. Unless it’s a sale, “blow-out” is not a good word. It can also refer to diapers.
I got going in the dark, wind, and rain at 6:15 a.m., hoping to get a good parking spot on Utah Avenue, then arrive early and perky at my desk. Instead, the tire blew out around 6:25, leaving me broken-down on the shoulder.
When I heard the sound I thought “surely, that can’t be me” – and “surely, that can’t be a flat” – but when I pulled over and looked down, it was definitely that. The light was so bad I couldn’t see how to get the jack out of the trunk (it was bolted down in some clever, Volvo-fashion), and I couldn’t locate the tool needed to loosen the lug nuts.
So I got on the cell phone. I Googled “Bellevue roadside assistance” and called the first search result that came up. I got a very friendly and empathetic woman, then a text message confirming my driver was on the way. So I thought “great,” and kept the engine running to stay warm. It’s remarkable to witness how fast and careless people drive, when you’re sitting on the shoulder on a Monday morning, in the rain.
I imagined the whole affair would have me back on the road by about 7:30, but the guy didn’t even show up until just after 8 a.m. He was a thick, Mediterranean-looking dude but despite this, he couldn’t get the lug nuts loosened without my help. So I felt better about calling someone out, since I wouldn’t have been able to do it myself even if I had the right tools and capability. The two of us had to squat down in a puddle, count “1-2-3,” then give it all we had to loosen the nuts. Apparently, the mechanic who had put my snow tires on had also put too much torque on the nuts when he tightened it.
So I rolled in after 9, with muddy shoes and wet socks, but at least there was a welcome sign at my desk, with comments from many of my co-workers saying “Yay! You’re back.”