Sunday, May 31, 2015

Chance Evening, with flat tire.

I'm writing this from the waiting area of a local Ford Dealership this Friday afternoon. I blew a tire last night on my way home from Vancouver, Washington. So let's see now, a flat tire turns into... 4 new tires + front wheel alignment + new battery + front brakes (both sides) rotors and pads.

I knew it was coming so no fault to anyone, but dang it "THE PLAN" was I'd have the credit card paid off next month!

About 2 grand later, yes I'm grateful knowing in the big scheme of things it's a first world problem. And, as it turned out, it was a very interesting evening last night.

I was heading down the home stretch for Renton at about Highway 18 and 167 when my front left tire pops. I managed to slowly hobble along the ride edge of the freeway for a couple of miles to the next exit and make my way into Lowe's parking lot just off A Street in Auburn. I'm totally stressed out of course, but I did have a little laugh when I turned off the engine and a post I read last week came to mind. "It's truly the little things in life that are so very precious." 

Indeed! I believe that's absolutely true, but I really had to pee after driving 150 miles up Interstate 5 today, so I head into the store. There ain't no place at all along SR 167 without being in all your glory to traffic, both ways.

Text Message: Roadside assistance ETA 1 1/2 hours. I call my friend Dave who lives nearby. My timing is good and a few minutes later we're hanging out waiting for help. Then this guy walks up (wait for it) asking for money.

He spun us a fabulous story and it was well worth the listen. His car was stolen this morning along with his keys, phone, wallet, and a vintage 1960s Gretsch guitar that was in the back seat. Up until then I'm still thinking "that's possible, maybe even true" .. but my internal radar flipped on at Gretsch and I keep silent about my life long passion for guitars. Dump no gas on the fire tonight, please.

Then he fills the silence (as if everything else wasn't enough) and says, "And I got fired from my job this morning for not showing up." Go figure I'm thinking as he raises his hands as if surrendering, continuing with, "I called the cops, but you know..." 

Okay, now it's over the top. I know variation on a theme and I've heard many of them at my local grocery store parking lot.

Seriously, I'd pay for the stories. I'd be happy to chip in dude, but I don't have any money. I don’t carry cash, then he walks off...

Flat tire in Auburn WA...

Then a truck driver walks over and starts talking. He's friendly and offers to help with the spare. Thanks, but no. I've already called for roadside assistance and they should be here any minute.
Bill is delivering a dozen small garden trailers to Lowe’s this evening from Montana. He arrived a few minutes late so the store manager refused delivery. That is so not cool in my book (at face value) and now he's spending the night in his truck so he can unload them in the morning.

He seems okay with it, even in good spirits, though his girlfriend just dumped him last week.
He’s gone too much and he loves his dogs. She doesn’t.

As we're talking I'm in my head embracing a totally renewed appreciation for life. Turns out Bill's from Idaho, grew up in Lynnwood, then went on to share some great long haul truck driver adventures.

Text message: New ETA, we’re running late, 45 minutes, maybe more. So Dave and I walk across the lot to Applebee’s for a bite to eat and a beverage.

When William from roadside assistance pulls up truckdriver Bill and Dave and I are standing next to my flat tire like it's around a campfire. Then that 1st guy shows up again. He gets it, there's no money. He just wants to hang out and joins in.

It only takes a few minutes to get the spare on and William is also friendly and chatty. So now we're 5 guys in a parking lot chance meeting that the unexplainable enigmatic universe thingy brought together. We're all sharing stories and laughing about life, just being guys. It's a beautiful spring evening in the Pacific Northwest.

Then as mysteriously as we had gathered, with handshakes and good cheer, we part ways into the night and I'm back to the road for home.

Thank you God, Goddess, Spirit of All there is... I'm grateful and well aware this day could have turned out very different. Blessings to my friend Dave and please, if you will, look after those guys I met today.

As I pull out of the lot I hit the play button on the CD player, it's cued up to an old favorite I brought along for the trip. As the opening track starts I crank it up and smile.

What a great album! Magical Mystery Tour, indeed!
"La lahhhhhh! La lah la lah Mystery Tour. La lahhhhhh!..

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