But – equality!

I mean, do we want equality with men er no?

From this post on twitter

Neal O’Kelly is a piece of work. Women with a broken-done car alone on the highway or a back road deserve no special treatment. We’re equal now, right? And how long does it take to change a tire, really?

Honestly, it’s our own fault if we get murdered.

Years ago – before cellphones – I was driving from Texas to California and I don’t even remember why. I was on a highway in Arizona and blew out a tire, which is not something I wish on anyone going 65 mph in a Chevette.

I managed to make it to a truck stop, driving on the rim, which yes I know you are not supposed to do but I think there wasn’t much of a shoulder and I didn’t feel safe pulling over to the side of the road.

I was in a truck stop.

It was the middle of the afternoon.

The sun was out.

I pulled out the tire iron and started working on the tire, to no avail. I could not loosen the lug nuts.

Two men in a pickup drove up next to me.

They got out.

They said nothing as they watched me trying to remove the wheel.

They looked as if they hadn’t bathed in a few days. Or shaved. Shaved maybe ever. Long, scraggly hair with dirty gimme hats, t-shirts with the sleeves cut off, dirty blue jeans.


I was concerned.

I stepped back.

No, I was scared.

I looked at them and looked at the convenience store, wondering how fast I could run.

(Not very. I am a very slow runner.)

They approached me.

I stepped back again.

They looked at the tire and at my tire iron.

“Got a four way?” one asked.

What on earth is a four way? Was that what they wanted to use to kill me?

“No?” I squeaked. I would not be a party to my own death.

A few years later, when cellphones were a bit more in use but still not something everyone had, my car broke down in the middle of nowhere on a rainy night. It wasn’t a flat tire – I could have fixed that, so I was just – stuck.

A car finally drove by and stopped.

A man got out.

He stood next to his car and called out to me: “Do you need help?”

I cracked my window and said, “I need a tow but I don’t have a phone.”

He said, “I have a phone. I’ll put it on your hood and then come back here while you use it.”

He paused.

“I have sisters.”

He knew.

Turned out it was the water pump of that car.

Actually, it was a bad rubber seal – a part that probably costs a dime or less to make but Toyota cheaped out on, which caused a $400 repair.

When they were replacing the pump, they asked if I also wanted them to replace the timing belt as well.

If anyone ever asks you this, tell them yes! Because the belt itself is not that expensive – it’s the labor to get to it, which is the same labor as replacing a water pump.

Say yes or otherwise, a few months later when your timing belt breaks, you will be spending another $350 in labor, an expense you could have avoided.

One of the Arizona highwaymen sighed and returned to the truck. He pulled out a metal thing that looked like a cross.

He returned and within three minutes, these wordless scruffy men had removed the bad tire and mounted the spare.

They grunted in reply to my effusive thanks. Thanks tainted with guilt that I had assumed the worst about them.

But – we never know.

We never know which is why I now keep a four-way in my trunk.

2 thoughts on “But – equality!

  1. I suspect most of us have a story from our road warrior days! Mine is the afternoon my VW tire went flat. Fortunately VW did try to make it easy to change the tire, but it was still one of those jobs you hoped to never have to do. I had successfully seated the jack (in the special lift slot VW provided) and was slowly – very, very slowly – raising it up when the pickup truck stopped. A much older man (you know, like 30) got out and insisted on doing the rest, while I played surgical nurse and handed him the parts as he needed them. He couldn’t have been nicer, but despite my thankfulness, I was relieved when he drove off leaving me to re-stow the parts on my own. One never knows, do one? I think the moral is that there are more good guys out there than bad ones, but they don’t wear any signs that say “good guy”, so you have to trust your gut and hope for the best. Even in 2022.


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