I am currently single. I don't have the luxury of a man to fix things around the house. My son, bless his big heart, tries, but he's only 14. So, who do I call when the faucet leaks? SuperDad.
My Dad is just the best. When the washing machine breaks, or the furnace goes kapute he is there in a flash. SuperDad bursts through the door, toolbox in hand, with a big S on his chest and long red cape flapping gently in the breeze. No problem is too big or small for SuperDad to fix. As my Great Uncle Dave used to say "Your Dad could put the ass back in a cat".
Dad isn't just a wizard with all things mechanical, he's also very wise. He was there for me throughout my divorce, with support and strength. He's who I turn to for parenting advice. He's the Worlds greatest Grandfather to his three Grandsons. He'll tell it to me straight when I screw up and he doesn't judge me when I do. He's always there for me, through the good, the bad, and the really ugly. SuperDad rocks.
I currently drive a Grandma mobile. It's a '91 Plymouth Acclaim that I purchased from my Grandmother for $100. She's Old Reliable. 125,000 miles and starts every morning. So, when I was driving home from work Tuesday and the front right wheel on Old Reliable started wobbling to and fro, who did I call? SuperDad of course. "The passenger tire on my car feels like it's going to fall off. I thought I had a flat when I pulled into the garage at work this morning, but I checked it and it was fine. The lug nuts are tight and I couldn't see anything wrong with it. I left work and it seemed fine, but when I hit a bump it starts wobbling and I'm afraid the wheel is just going to break off" He asked where I was and 'we' decided I should drive to a nearby gas station with a repair garage.
Normally, I try to handle a crisis logically and methodically. I go into an autopilot mode. At least, I think I do, except for when I am lost in unfamiliar territory. I have a lousy sense of direction. I swear, I could get lost in a paper bag - carrying directions. I'm one of those - turn off the radio and don't you dare talk to me, type of people when I am lost. Like that's going to help the situation?
Apparently, I am the same way in a vehicle mechanical failure situation. I don't mean flat tire stuff, that I can handle, but a wheel dislocation during rush hour? Nuh uh! Logic went right out the window Tuesday and I went straight to panic mode.
I pulled back into traffic with my hazard lights on, creeping along, sure that at any moment the joints and arms that hold the tire secure to the car would collapse and I would be stuck in the street with a wheel laying on it's side and annoyed commuters honking at the inconvenience of my horror. The wobble was intermittent. I made it to the gas station and pulled into a parking spot. The vehicle emitted a relieved clunking sound when I finally stopped. I could feel beads of sweat forming on my upper lip.
I approached the (ehem) gentleman covering the register of the small convenient store/gas station. He was 40ish with a receding hairline which he compensated for by letting it grow longer in the back. This fact was accentuated by whatever grease he used to hold it all in place. The obvious gold chain around his hairy neck only added to his charm. I could picture him hitting on young women in a nightclub with tight pants and a 70's silk shirt unbuttoned to reveal his hirsute chest, much like Steve Martin in the SNL Two Wild and Crazy Guys skit. He probably still lives with his mother too.
"It feels like the wheel is going to come right off" I said....."Have you ever had a wheel come off when you are driving?" He quipped. "No" I answered "Then how do you know what it feels like?" He chuckled. I wanted to reach over the counter and bitch slap him. This silly, silly man did not know that you do not taunt a woman in distress, she'll gouge your eyes out in a heartbeat. I think he grasped a portion of the concept from the flaming daggers that were shooting from my eyes. He quickly told me that they would be happy to look at it, it would be a few minutes as there was a tire job currently being serviced. Whatever, dumbass.
I purchased a soda, since I had suddenly been unable to produce any kind of saliva due to my ordeal. My mouth felt as dry as a desert. I phoned Dad and updated him, after figuring out exactly where I was, he informed me that he would be there shortly. SuperDad to the rescue once again.
I then phoned my coworker, who also happens to be my best friend of 25 years, and told her of my plight. She had left work after me, but passed me as I sat waiting in my car. She offered to turn around and come help as best she could. I assured her I was OK and that Dad was on his way. I gave her a description of my Dad's truck and she started laughing, "He just passed me on the inbound side of the highway - he should be there in a few minutes".
Dad inspected the workings of the whole arm joint hold the tire to the car thingy and suggested that he follow me to his mechanics. "Just stay in the slow lane and keep it under 45mph. If it's the CV joint it would fail at low speeds" I trust Dad implicitly and know he would never put me in harms way. After informing Mr. Dumbass that I was leaving, off we went.
Gratefully, the old girl felt my white knuckles on her steering wheel and stayed true throughout the commute. Clairvoyant Dad knew I was nervous and called me on my cell. He told a story of an old Chevy work van that he had years ago. "I'd hit 60 mph and the steering wheel would shake so violently that I'd have to pull over". "Why'd you keep driving it?" I queried. "It was a challenge". He chuckled. Brave, courageous SuperDad knew how to calm my nerves.
Normally, Tuesdays are a bitch of a commute in Boston. I think people like to avoid Mondays, so the traffic on Tuesday is usually very heavy. But...not this Tuesday of course. Light traffic, I could have done 65 all the way home. Here I was, in the slow lane going 45. I could feel the eyes burning into my head of the passing drivers as they shouted "What the hell is wrong with you? You're on the HIGHWAY for crying out loud!" I know that's what I would have been thinking.
I parked outside the garage, only after heaving a huge sigh of relief that the images of crashing horribly on I93 had not come true. I was safe, SuperDad was right, as usual.