Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Flat Tire - March 2013

The red hazard light on the dashboard lights up and my car slows from 75 to 70 to 65. My heart beats races as my car slows and I pull off into the desert dirt. I pray and cry, alternately. I sit on Interstate 10 westbound eight miles from Marana Town Limits and 20 miles from my apartment in Oro Valley. It is 3 a.m. I wait. And wait and pray.

I have never had a flat while driving on a highway. I’ve driven thousands of miles on interstates across I-70 from New Hampshire to Indiana and on to Colorado. I’ve driven countless county roads looking for trailheads and campgrounds, and on dirt roads throughout the northern Maine looking for adventure. And, never a flat tire. This cold, winter morning is my first flat in my brand new Subaru.

As the tow company mechanic finally arrives to help, I should be arriving to the half marathon starting line in Mesa, but instead, all my fears of death and dying are running through my head. I should be boarding the nice, safe, warm bus filled with anxious runners but instead I watch on the sidelines as a man jacks up my car and places the small tire on.

As I watch him put on the tire questions continue to run through my head: Why did I get up at 2:30 am for this race and drive by myself? Why do I need – why do I feel compelled – to have all these adventures? Why by myself? Why didn’t I just go up to Mesa the night before? There are answers to all these questions, complex, complicated answers but I don’t want to think about them right now.

After the tall, quiet mechanic replaces the slashed tire with the donut I am back on the road, but in the wrong direction: back home. The sun has yet to rise over the Catalina Mountains as I drive back south. I call my mom and tell her what happened, once I know that I’m not shot, maimed, or in any danger.

Perhaps the answers to these questions rest in the fact that I don’t think of consequences to my actions and decision. I’ve always been like this, and maybe it’s time to change.

Maybe I need to have a nice, safe life living within the confines of the place where I now live.

Maybe I need to start playing it safe.

Maybe it would be nice to have a calm, predictable life with no sense of adventure.

No Way!

1 comment:

  1. I do agree with you, Kristen! No way should you just place it safe. Life is really short and you shouldn’t let the fear of having a flat tire or any car trouble stop you from enjoying life to its fullest. Always remember that it's normal to encounter problems like that and I'm sure there will be people who are willing to help you. :D

    Bobby Ladson @ George Town Shell