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The flat tire (standard:non fiction, 1261 words)
Author: kyspartanAdded: Mar 22 2002Views/Reads: 3653/2099Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
I've always depended on the kindness of strangers...

Yesterday started off like most of my weekends seem to these days.  Up
at 7:30, I took my shower and got the kids fed, dressed and groomed and 
their bags packed.  Not an easy task, as any parent knows.  Sometimes I 
feel more like a cheerleader than a mom.  “Come on Ben.  Time to get 
up.  You can do it.  Let's go!”  At 9:30 we left the house and started 
the half hour drive to get Ben and Molli to karate and then Austin to 
his father's house so I could get to work by 11:30. 

The ride was mostly spent mollifying my dear Molli, who was upset that
she had to go back to her mom's house after only spending one night 
with us instead of the usual two.  Her dad and I both had to work all 
weekend, and even though Ben is a fairly responsible twelve year old, 
we don't feel comfortable leaving the kids alone for long periods of 
time.  I smoothed her over by promising a shopping trip next weekend to 
buy a pretty new spring dress for a wedding we're going to. 

As we turned off the expressway and onto the busy road to karate class,
one of the tires on my car decided to go completely flat.  I pulled 
over to check it out, cautioning the kids to stay in the car because I 
didn't want them to get squashed on the road. 

Yep, it was flat.  Down to the rim flat, in fact.  Now what the hell was
I going to do?  Though I've seen it done many times, I have never in my 
life changed a flat tire before, nor do I really have any desire to do 
so.  At the risk of sounding sexist and offending feminists everywhere, 
I think changing tires is a man's job.  I keep a list of such jobs that 
men in my life are required to do:  Taking out the garbage.  Mowing the 
lawn.  Checking out strange noises that my car makes.  These are all on 
my list, right under changing tires. 

So, there I was, on the side of the road with three kids and a flat
tire.  I got back into the car and called my husband on the cell phone. 
 He was at work, and I knew he couldn't do anything about it right that 
second, but I just couldn't think about what I should do.  I mean, I 
knew I needed to change the damn tire, but that was not what I wanted 
to hear at that particular moment.  Maybe I just wanted some sympathy.  
Someone to say, “Ah, shit.  That stinks.”  Or maybe I thought he would 
have an alternative suggestion to me having to get all grubby changing 
a tire by myself. 

I dialed the number for my husband's job and waited on hold while they
paged him.  As I listened to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak 
Tree”, instrumental version, I realized I should probably check the 
status of the spare tire.  At least I hoped there was a spare back 
there.  I really couldn't remember if I knew anything about a spare.  
Again, not my territory.  I got out of the car again, popped the trunk, 
and started unloading all the karate gear, Molli's overnight bag (a 
huge pink think that she lugs to our house each weekend filled with her 
favorite stuffed animals including an enormous starfish named Ned), 
Ben's trumpet and keyboard, Ben's backpack, and Austin's sleeping bag 
and pillow that he needed for preschool on Monday.  Where did all of 
this crap come from?  It seemed like a lot of stuff, sitting there next 
to my car on the side of US 25. 

I was really feeling annoyed with the whole situation when Dave finally
answered his page. 

“This is David,” he said, in his “I'm at work and have to be pleasant to
people on the phone because it's my job” voice. 

“I'm standing here on the side of US 25 with a fucking flat tire!” I
yelled over the passing traffic.  “I've got all the kid's shit out on 
the side of the road, and I'm trying to get the spare out.  I was just 
driving, and the stupid thing went flat when I pulled off I-75.  All 
the kids are sitting in the car, and I don't know what-” 

“Excuse me.  Need some help here?” I had been too busy yelling in the
phone to see the man and woman who had pulled up next to me. 

“Yes!  That would be great!”  I yelled in response, telling Dave I'd
call him back without giving him a chance to reply.  I was in luck.  
Someone to help me with this predicament.  I wouldn't have to get 
grubby after all! 

The Good Samaritan surveyed the situation, his wife leaving to run an

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