A blonde lady might be intimated by an automobile flat tire, but not me. I’m the blonde with dark roots you remember. I also know my father taught me how to make simple repairs. True, that was more years ago than I care to remember, but the basic survival instincts stay with you.
At first I did look at the flat tire in question and thought, putting my hands on it, maybe it’s just cold. I’ll let the sun warm it up for a couple hours and see what happens.
“Knock it off,” I could hear my father say. “Change the flat tire.”
Leaning back into the car, I pressed the trunk release button. I wished I’d worn slacks, but was grateful that my shoes were flats and not heels.
I groaned out loud as I rummaged around in the trunk. I knew the jack was nicely hidden behind something. There I found a few assorted tools, chamois, a beach towel, road flares, and a tattered old blanket. The tire would be under all this.
I would have a Firebird. My father would be proud that I was smart enough to keep the locking lug nut key taped to the spare tire. Now I attempted to assemble jack parts according to memory. I issued a fifteen second burst of profanity.
I placed the jack under the fender and turned the handle to raise the car. How long will it take to actually raise this car? I continued turning the handle. I issued a second set of profanity.
I picked up the lug wrench and fit it over the lug nut. Who ever came up with the name ‘lug?’
I put counterclockwise pressure to the lug wrench until the nut loosened. I applied all the force I had to the wrench, all the while questioning if I might hurt myself. Sitting on the ground, panting, issuing more profanity: I stared at the lug nuts.
Standing I put the wrench back on the lug nut and tried kicking it (the wrench) with my foot. I felt something give. I might have broken my toe.
“Hey, Little Lady.” Concentrating on the flat tire I did not hear the man’s footsteps approaching around the car. Stepping away from my car I could see a gold Chevy pickup truck parked behind my car. I could hear a “Three Dog Night” song still playing. There wasn’t a speck of dirt on the truck and the license plate read: “It’s a 36”
I hated being called Little Lady. It unmistakably made me feel as though I was ten years old. “I’m fine, thank you.” I said, rubbing my foot. “I just have a flat tire. I can fix it.”
“Well Little Lady, I only stopped because it looks like you could use some help.”
What was I doing? A small part of me was indignant at being treated as though I was feeble minded, but even worse, I hate to admit that I was happy to be getting some help. More than likely – this manly man – could finish replacing this tire long before I could have taken off these lug nuts.
Pride is a difficult thing to swallow, yet I said, “Yes, I could use some help. Thank you.”
He slid his hand in his trouser pocket. He handed me his cell telephone. “Here, you might want to call the garage on Main Street to come help – like you should have done in the first place.”