Three strikes and …
We left after work, and I was suffering from some pretty terrible heartburn. After almost overdosing on Pepto-Bismal (is that even possible?), Intern and I headed to meet VP at his house, where we were to leave our cars that night. When we got there, VP says to me, “You’re driving, right?” Um, no? I had no plans at all to drive and had truly thought the plan was for him to drive. My heartburn was killing me, and I needed an oil change. VP said he didn’t have any gas, so I agreed that we could take my car. After telling him about the heartburn, he volunteered to drive my car, and I was agreeable.
Almost immediately, VP started joking on my car. It’s not that old: a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am (I should note, however, that the Grand Am logo on the back fell off, so I just say I drive a Pontiac). I have several cracks in the windshield, but hey they aren’t hurting me, and the car still passes inspection. Maybe the rims are a little dented, so it shakes like the alignment is off, and perhaps three out of the four speakers are broken, but that really doesn’t bother me because all I listen to is talk radio anyway. Otherwise, my car has been a trooper. It has served me well. VP makes fun of it for having no pickup, for shaking, for the cracks on the windshield, etc., and then says, “Sure hope your car makes it to DC and doesn’t break down!”
Famous. Last. Words.
Maybe an hour into the journey, we’re chatting it up, and VP looks at me and calmly says, “Catherine, we have a flat tire.” He very capably pulls off to the shoulder (um, if I were driving I would have probably been having a panic attack with a flat tire on a highway going 70 or so). And he is right: It’s like the mother of all flat tires. Strike one.
What’s funny to me is that there was no part of me that was like, “Wow, I gotta change this flat tire now.” My first thoughts were, “Wow, VP has got to change this flat tire now.” And that’s when I knew it: I’m a failure of a feminist. And I felt like an asshole for being an incapable woman (and yes, I know there are many women capable of changing a flat tire. Props to them. I’m just not one of them).
VP goes to town changing my flat tire, and then the jack breaks. Strike two. And yes, I’m positive the jack is broken. I can’t tell you how many people have said “Are you sure? It’s hard to break those!” Yes, I’m sure. The jack was broken.
We called motorist assistance, who assured us they would be there shortly. I proceeded to sit on the side of the highway and observe the random skulls of roadkill strewn about. I guess I have never thought of it, but you know all those dead animals on the side of the road? They eventually decompose. And leave skulls and skeletons behind. These are the things you learn when you are on the side of the road with a flat tire.
A concerned citizen stops and checks on us. We explain that we are waiting on the state police to come out and help. Same concerned citizen then refers to Intern and me as VP’s daughters (this is strike one for VP’s ego, but in all fairness, it was dark. And I look 16.).
Just before the police officer arrives, VP asks me why it looks like my hazard lights are faint. I go to the car to check it out. The battery is now dead. Strike three.
The police officer arrives and helps VP change the tire. He’s a little cocky (read: a lot cocky), and frequently jokes on VP when he doesn’t immediately know how to use the new jack or has troubles getting the bolts off (in case you are keeping track, this is strike two for VP’s ego). I ignore the cockiness, blinded by the hotness of the police officer – blonde hair, blue eyes, decent height, really good skin. Maybe I have a thing for police officers now? Or more generally, men in uniform? From here forward, this police officer is going to be State Police Officer, or SPO. Not to be confused with PO of blogs past.
Intern and I discuss hotness of SPO and I ask if I should get his number. She laughs, probably thinking I’m kidding. Oh, Intern. Yee of little faith. Not only is this the Year of Yes, it’s the Year of Flirting With Reckless Abandon.
As SPO is helping get us on our way, we have some small talk. Where you from? How do you like it? I’m from Richmond. Oh, you used to live there too? Want to come visit me sometime? OK, so I didn’t ask him to come visit me sometime. But I thought it.
Me to SPO: So, are you single?
SPO (surprised at the question): Yes.
Me: Well, let me give you my card then.
SPO: Let me get one for you too.
[Cue exchanging of cards. Mine has my cell phone number on it, and his is very official and only alludes to his first name with an initial: N. Nick? Nathan? Napoleon? (I hope not!) Neil? Nelson? Newton? Nigel? Noah? Noel? (I hope so!! Cue Felicity fantasy, where my favorite character was named Noel.) The suspense is killing me. Must. Know. His. Name. Now.]
SPO: Well, definitely give me a call.
Me: Oh, no, don’t you do that. I gave you my card. You give me a call.
SPO: I definitely will.
We get back in the car, and are on our way. After a short stop to fill up the tire with air. And for me to laugh giddily with Intern about the randomness of the behavior I just exhibited.
VP, Intern and I all go out for a beer. VP really needs it after the two strikes against his ego and the manual labor of changing the tire. He did all the heavy lifting tonight. I just looked (mildly) cute, apologized profusely for how terrible my car is, gave my card to a stranger and took random pictures of roadkill skulls.
After the beer, we pull into the parking lot at the hotel. VP is still driving. He accidentally pulls up too far and hits my car on a wall. Just a flesh wound, really. Some new scratches on my bumper. Builds character. It would be another strike, but we are already out.
I wonder if SPO will actually call? That would definitely be making lemonade out of a roadtrip where lemons were being thrown at us left and right. And if he does call, fingers crossed his name is Noel.
Oh, and just for fun, here are some pictures of one of the skulls we found on the side of the road. Any guesses on what the hell this animal used to be?