So fellow travelers, I am about to discover the Cambridge spirit of generosity author Jon Katz often writes about in his blog.
When I pulled the very noisy loaner car into the parking lot I knew what I found would not be good. As suspected I saw an exhaust pipe hanging loose. I shook off needle pricks of panic by reminding myself these are the moments for which I have my triple A membership.
However when I got through to emergency road service I was told even though the car was driveable it would have to be towed to a service station. I knew that would guarantee a delay of several hours and I was literally ten minutes away from Bedlam Farm. I said I would call back if I wanted a tow truck.
Shooing away angry thoughts of how could this problem have been missed during a recent brake check, I forced my mind to focus. I knew all I needed for the moment was a way to secure the pipe to keep it from hanging lower and dragging on the road. As my mind started racing through my options of how to get help I caught sight of a tiny building on a corner across the street with an auto repair shop sign. Inside the open garage door was a young man working on a truck up on a lift. I drove my car over to their parking lot and went inside.
“Hi there,” I chirped in a squeaky attempt to sound calm, “I need some help with my car.”
The young mechanic grinned “I know, we heard. Let’s take a look.”
He went out, looked under the car and came back. ” Exhaust came apart at the catalytic converter. ”
“Mmmm, I know my brother-in-law the mechanic would say that’s not good.”
When coping with automotive emergencies away from home I make a point of working in a reference to having a brother-in-law who is a mechanic. In fact he owns and operates successful two service stations. I refer people to him all the time. Honest mechanics are a precious find worth sharing.
Nodding in agreement, the young man went on to explain it would not be difficult to fix, but they didn’t have the parts in stock (“because Ma’am it IS an older Toyota”) so they would have to order parts which would take several days to arrive. I explained I was just visiting the area and I asked if there was anything they could do so I could drive the car until I could get the exhaust fixed. He thought for a few minutes and asked how far I had to go. I told him home was about 175 miles west on the NYS Thruway. He went into the garage, talked with the fellow working on the car out there for a few minutes and stuck his head in the door.
“Boss says we’ll see what we can do. Just sit tight.” Relief flooded my eyes. I blinked rapidly hoping it wasn’t obvious.
Less than ten minutes later I was on my way with their confident assurance I could drive across several states and not worry about losing the broken pipe. They said there was no charge, but I set a twenty on the counter even as they protested it was not necessary. I insisted they just go get themselves a pizza or a few beers after work as my thanks for helping me out when I needed it. Did I mention good honest mechanics are priceless?
When I pulled onto the road, instead of heading left into town towards Bedlam Farm, I found myself turning right and driving back to the loft apartment.
“Where are you going? The Farm is that way” I asked the Deborah at the wheel.
“Shut up,” she snapped. “We need time to regroup and figure out our options.”
to be continued
Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.