Old people move slowly. I know I've said it before, but it bears repeating. This morning, Auntie finally awoke at 9, and was ready to roll out of the house by 10. I was ready at 7:30. Ah, well. Breakfast took about another hour and a half, and I took my cousin to see the Erie Canal (might as well show her something she'll likely never see again, but that damned mule song is back in my head). I stopped at a gas station to fill up on gas and air and we headed south to the thruway.
Less than a mile away from the highway someone stopped in front of me. Suddenly. I hit the brakes, the car shimmied, and I knew immediately that we were in a world of trouble. We missed hitting the pickup, but the car was suddenly very, very noisy when I hit the gas.
There was a truck stop dead ahead, so we limped in. The donut was dead. And I had just pumped it up 15 miles earlier.
The truck stop had a garage. They only handled big-rig tires. I reassured the woman at the counter that I'm not usually a baby about things but gave her the short version of the last 24 hours with tears shimmering in my eyes. No spillover, honest. She went for the boss, explained it all to him, and he tore up the office looking for the phone number of the tire guy down the road.
Turns out the tire guy does used tires, and he thinks he has one in my size. So they pump up the poor little donut, I put on the emergency flashers, and head off down the road with the banjos playing the theme from "Deliverance" in my head.
The sight of the little garage would have done little to reassure me if I were a true city dweller, but I have small-town roots and memories that reassured me that this place was run by one of the good guys. I unloaded Auntie, unloaded the trunk to get to the slashed tire, and drove behind the building into a shed stacked to the rafters with secondhand tires. At that point he could easily have made all three of us disappear without a trace LOL.
Fifteen minutes later Beauty had a brand-new used tire and our new best friend had $40. We'd spent more time at the truck stop looking for the phone number and getting the tire inflated.
On the way home I got a call from my brother asking what the plan was for dinner. I had my cousin put him on speaker and treated him to the following: "I've been on the road for 36 hours. I slept on a couch and I'm still wearing the same underwear. I'm pretty sure I used a second-hand toothbrush to brush my teeth this morning and I'm STILL NOT HOME so I'm sincerely hoping this is your way of telling me YOU have a plan!" Yeah. Like the little angel asking Santa where he wanted her to put the Christmas tree.
We arrived home about 4. I hit the shower, heated leftovers, and made it to the Boo at the Zoo. And my cousin got to go!
So altogether I drove over 350 miles to accomplish basically nothing beyond testing the limits of my endurance.
And tomorrow we get to do it all again, only closer.