Posted by: tlnemethy | December 2, 2012

Road-Ragers and Road Rangers

Many of you know I carefully choose where I drive and when and if I can get around getting behind the wheel I generally find a way. I’m one of those rare few youngsters outside of New York City who never wanted to get a license in the first place. Sure, its handy, but I’d rather not die in a mangled wreck on the highway. I like slow speed meandering, similar to grandmother’s who sit on pillows yet still cannot see over the steering wheel. I am a putzer. If I know the area well or if it’s the butt crack of dawn I’ll drive. Midday equals traffic and therefore, unless I know shortcuts away from the road-ragers  and dedicated shopaholics, I don’t leave the culdesac.

I guess you could say that I have an acute fear of endangering my life with an automobile of any kind. But, contrasting the fear is a deep desire to be chauffeured to destinations unknown. Like an infant, I find the white noise of engines to be soothing to my soul and I never pass up a drive as long as I can claim shotgun. I guess I’d never come across a death trap of an automobile before.

While I took the copilot seat, Beth drove to the airport to pick up our house guests. The gas gauge was broken apparently, meaning we guesstimate how much is left in the tank by the amount of miles we’ve put on since the last fill-up. We figured we’d fill up after picking up the girls. Bad choice. We’d barely pulled back onto the highway from the airport when the car stopped accelerating and shook its way to a halt in the far right lane. It was not even light out yet.

We tried to start the engine, but it never turned over again. The death trap had taken its last breath. My stomach is working on forming an ulcer at this point. It tends to do that a lot on my “vacations.” I’m flashing back to all those “Deadliest Accident” videos on TV where bozos smash into breakdown lane cars because they’re rubber-necking. Beth calls 911 and the operator tells her that the Road Ranger’s on his way. I’m intrigued if this guy is gonna ride up on a horse. Not that that would help us at all.

I’m facing forward, ignoring the vibration of the car as the vehicles to our left thunder by. Beth gasps and I see her looking back as a big tanker engine honks its horn. I know its gonna hit us just from the sound she made. I still don’t turn around because at least when my neck snaps it’ll be a clean forward break instead of a messy lateral one. The tanker blares by us with maybe a hands width away. We just escaped death and all I can think about is Final Destination and the fact that I’m now going to die in an even worse manner. At least it would have been a quick fiery death.

The Road Ranger pulls up then, and leans in the window to chat with us. I’m concerned that he’s going to get sideswiped. He hears about our problem and proceeds to lecture us on having better transportation, namely something with a gas gauge. He tells us to pop the hood and we fumble around with our phones as flashlights for a while until he sighs and comes back to find the switch for us. He just gives us a sad look when he pulls a wire and the hood pops. Seriously, a WIRE is the hood pull. WTF. He pours a ton of gas in the tank and has us try to start the engine a few thousand times. Finally, looking perplexed, he pours gas directly into the engine which I’d never seen done before. Please start. Please start.

He leans in the window again and gives us directions to the nearest gas station to fill our tank. David Street exit. Check. “When I shut the hood you need to punch it and just drive. Don’t slow down. I’ll tell you to go when traffic is clear enough to just hit the road.” Paraphrasing, of course. He hasn’t even shut the hood yet.

Go. The engine turns over and then dies when we punch it.

Go. Same thing.

Go. Same thing. With each attempt we are rolling back down the highway closer to his truck. He doesn’t seem to care. We try again and finally it takes. We zoom off all of us just hooting and waving our hands out the window as we go. We didn’t even have to pay for anything. Apparently, Florida is nice to needy road siders.

Also, just a FYI, we followed the gps to get to the “closest” gas station, meaning it took us miles out-of-the-way. Damn gps. When we finally rolled onto the highway again with a full tank we passed a sign for the David Street exit. It was not the first option like he’d said. Oh well.



  1. Reblogged this on Javmode.

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