Permit me to preface this post by telling you that I spent half of last week and the weekend in the Texas Hill Country with my mother and sister and her family, then drove back Sunday morning with my now 21-year-old niece, Kelly (who’s ridiculously good looking) to spend the night with friends before leaving from Houston for a few days in Vegas.
You see, it’s Spring Break in America and this is the last Vernal Equinox rife with ribaldry and random whatnot for Kelly. She graduates from Texas A&M (yes, this orange blooded Longhorn can ONLY type that out and deal with her Aggie devotion while high on cheap vodka and hopped up on goofballs) in August and will start a marketing gig here in Houston shortly after that.
I’m fond of my young Kendrick sapling who stands 5’9″–her mother is barely 5’2″; her aunt (me) is five feet even and her maternal grandmother is well, very short. So short that she’d be fully welcomed into the Fraternal Order of Keebler Tree Trunk Cookie Bakers, Local 47387.
How Kelly got so statuesque coming from the female genes she came from, is beyond me. Her father’s people are tall…go figure that DNA shit. Anyway, Kelly and I always laugh when we’re together and we always have fun and great conversations. I have a very good relationship with all my sisters; kids, but I’m a bit closer to my sister Karol’s kids, by virture of proximity. I spent a great deal of my time with them kids in my 20’s. We’ve been close ever since.
Kelly and I talked about her coming to Houston; where she might live; what her options would be in terms of nightlife, shopping, etc. We were in my sedan and just 20 miles outside of Houston, surrounded by Teamsters in Mack trucks heading east. The traffic, even civilians in their cars, was barreling down Interstate 10. I had to go 85 mph just to keep up with one older, tattooed Peterbuilter who kept making lewd tongue gestures to Kelly as we passed each other often, depending on our speeds, lane availability and of course, his tongue muscle strength..
If you’ve driven any amount of time, you’ve invariably suffered a blow out. When that happens, there’s an unmistakable way in which the car shakes. That’s if the tire splits in half…up the middle.
Like mine did.
At 85 mph.
We were surrounded by leering truckers gacked out of their minds on No Doze or worse, who need to be in Atlanta in three hours. Now, keep in mind that at that location, they were still more than six hours out of New Orleans. Speed was something they would achieve either with a pill or the proverbial “pedal to the metal”.
As if channeling the driving prowess of the late Steve McQueen, I deftly grabbed the steering wheel, spewed forth many F-bombs while gently applying the brakes to minimize my 85 mph speed, and put on my blinker. I managed to dart in and out of traffic, avoiding certain death and managed to get to the right shoulder of eastbound I-10, while also dodging long, shredded tire treads slamming against my windshield. I suddenly realized what Tippy Headren must have felt while filming The Birds.
By the time I pulled over and stopped, I was on my rim. It looked like it had teeth marks in it. I thought I smelled smoke.
Of course, no one stopped to help. Truckers who we’d passed earlier drove on by blaring their horns and doing God knows what with their hands below out line of sight. I got out; popped the trunk and stood there looking inside it knowing full well I had no idea how to change my tire. Kelly was just as ignorant in the ways and means of tire changing, but she she had the good sense to belong to Triple A, who unfortunately, couldn’t get there any sooner than an hour…maybe. That was going to be a problem; I had to be back in Houston by early afternoon to work on an assignment for another P/T thing I was doing.
She hung up and joined me at the back of trunk. We moved some stuff around and lifted the floor of the trunk which revealed where my temp tire was stowed. I pulled out the jack and Kelly unscrewed the tire hold. I was bent over. No one honked. No one stopped. But for some reason, I felt horrible about my ass presentation to the motoring world. I knew it wasn’t a pleasant sight and feared drivers who gazed upon those two queen sized pillows stuffed in my jeans would in fact, turn to salt and further endanger others on the roadway.
I’m nothing if not caring.
I then realized that I wasn’t thinking; not using my head. I realized that we had ASS-sets that could help us get the tire changed. I told Kelly to bend over further to show off that finely tuned A&M ass. By the way, she was wearing very form-fitting yoga pants.
Within two minutes, a truck with two men–obviously, a father and a son–drove up behind us. They got out, shook my hand as I assessed the situation for them, but they both stared at Kelly. I’m used to that. I’m one of those women that pretty woman gravitate to. I’m funny and smart and they’re devastatingly gorgeous. We, as two people, complete this perfect triumverate of attraction. Like this cartoonish Abbot and Costello. It’s always been like that. Not sure why, but they flock to me…like gay men.
Long story short–dad and son ( and Jr. had an extremely interesting over bite and large noggin) changed out the tires in less than five minutes. We offered them what we had in terms of cash–a whopping 18 dollars. Dad refused it, telling us they didn’t want any money and that it was their pleasure tp help, but Deliverance Child grabbed the cash out of Kelly’s hand and ran back to his father’s truck counting it with the cypherin’ he done learnt with his sixth grade edumacation. My friends, there is no other driving force in the world than that which compels a strange young encephalitic man /child man who desperately wants to buy a bag of weed and a chocolate Moon Pie.
We looked at the old tire. It was split up the middle at least a foot (I kid you not) and then in the middle, exploded in this Medusan looking steel belted frenzy. It looked like Don King was poking his head through what was left of the radials.
We rolled into Houston going incredibly slow–we were passed up by mopeds and Rickshaws, but we made it.
I’m getting a new tire tomorrow morning. I understand how lucky we were. Blow outs are horrendous and have ended up in cars flipping and lives lost. And yeah, I know it was horribly sexist of me to use my niece to force someone to stop and help. I know motivations like this set women back decades, but then again, isn’t it motivations like this that’s also kind of proven that we’re also damned resourceful? And besides, had I been in that scenario by myself, I might as well have pitched a tent and unless a bus full of male, AARP types, half blind by diabetes, but feeling benevolent toward a non gaunt, middle-aged woman in distress were to pass by, I’d still be there beside I-10, fed and nourished only by the trash that would’ve been thrown at me by mocking passers-by.
So color me wily.
And yes, color us both lucky. Lucky indeed, but we made it to Houston in one piece. And we did it by the grace of God, my quick reactions and reflexes and of course, my niece’s fine young, nubile ass.
Oh yeah, it was also my first day of work at my new job. Great people, cool place, but I’m exhausted.
I need some time off.