Spontaneous Combustion

Julianna and I (have the last few posts *all* started with “Julianna and I”? We must do a lot together!) had our last horseback riding lesson yesterday. You have to picture this: there’s a specific dress code for these lessons, and it basically consists of jeans, a sweatshirt, and boots… as if we’re coming prepared to clean out the stalls. Pleasant thought there.

So we look like… farmers (no offense to farmers anywhere) or country people (certainly no offense to country people), and we’re driving up Providence Road toward 485, having our standard conversation (ex: “What are your feelings on the state of our economy, Julianna?” “Well, Morgan, if the President changes his economic stimulus plan as expected…” etc) when she says to me, “Hmm. My ‘check engine’ light is on. Do you think that’s a problem?” She pauses, and adds for fun, “Do you see any smoke?

I just had to revel in the moment… a younger sister asking for advice, knowing of my considerable experience with cars, trusting my wisdom…

So I responded reassuringly, “ummm, I’m sure it’s fine” …and that, naturally, was the moment when her car abruptly died. We looked at each other in horror, and then together we watched the stoplight above us turn from red to green. There may… have been a very brief moment of panic. On my part. (Julianna is very unruffled when you least expect her to be.) The panic was followed by a calm certainty. “Someone is going to run into us,” I said confidently. “Your car is toast.”

The worst part was that we had to emerge from the car, in full view of the thousands of people driving by. I was in my favorite striped snow hat, with large white sunglasses that make me look either like an alien or an international celebrity, depending on who you ask, anxiously holding my phone (as if that would magically summon aid) and my exotic Himalayan bag.

Help arrived, first in the form of three heroic strangers who appeared out of nowhere to get her car off the road, next when Christine valiantly picked me up (yay! You are a lifesaver, Christine!), and finally when a brave tow truck came on the scene to rescue Julianna.

You know they say that problems are inevitable. (Especially with cars, which are more untrustworthy than computers, in my opinion.) But it’s the way you deal with adversity that defines who you are and what you’re made of. I was proud of Julianna – she’s levelheaded and responsible, even in the worst of times. It’s nice to have someone like her around when you’ve got a basket case like me!


2 thoughts on “Spontaneous Combustion

  1. As bad as it is for a car to breakdown on you, this has got to be the most pleasant of those experiences. It’s the first time it’s ever happened to me – baruch HaShem! – and everything just worked out perfectly. First of all, because the car died *at* a stoplight. Secondly, because it was a point on Providence Road where I know handfuls of people who live within walking distance. And thirdly, because, even with delays with the tow truck and having to be picked up from the body shop, I still made it home with two minutes to spare before the piano lesson I was scheduled to teach. I mean, really – how often do things go like clockwork? I’m praising G-d. It was amazing! Of course, I haven’t gotten the bill yet… :-S

  2. Pingback: 20:20 Hindsight « The Squicciarini Family

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