ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- At this point in my life, when any small crisis immediately becomes a HUGE BIG DRAMA, it was refreshing to have a problem dealt with so smoothly and sensibly and with such dispatch.
I was driving back from Benny's daycare, listening to Pachabel's Canon and repeating my personal serenity prayer ("I have no fucking control over that, so I won't give a shit"), when I noticed the driver next to me was having a seizure.
OK, so he wasn't having a seizure, he was just trying to get my attention. And since I was wearing my 7:30 a.m. uniform of faded T-shirt, rumpled khakis and coke-bottle glasses, the only explanation was that something was wrong with my car. "Your tire is flat!" the man shouted as I rolled down the window. "Back there!"
Oh, crud. My car had just returned from Indianapolis (a 275-mile drive, one way) and I knew my tires were low. Now one had collapsed altogether.
Now, I am not exactly famous these days for my calm, confident responses to life's little curve balls. Generally I react to minor setbacks (a closed day care, a sick cat, a dropped earring) with rhetoric and hand-wringing suitable for a Greek tragedy. When I arrived at the doctor's last Friday for a checkup, I was so wound up from packing clothes and dispensing cat medicine and cleaning the house for a possible showing, that my first blood pressure reading hit the roof. My second one was normal, thank goodness. The nurse said the first reading was probably a bad cuff, but I know better.
Back to this morning. I simply drove to a nearby Discount Tire. They took the tire off and floated it in water to find where the leak was. "I'm turning in this car in two weeks," I begged. "I can't spend much." Discount Tire did not fail me. Those guys scrounged up a used tire from somewhere and put it on the car, free of charge. In 30 minutes I was back on the road.
Alas, my new maturity couldn't last. Within an hour I was in a loud altercation with a stubborn roll of packing tape, my shouts echoing off the walls of our nearly empty storage space. Oh well, I thought as I ground the tape roll under my heel (hard to do in flip-flops), I'm not always like this.