Since I started this blog I have had a few kind comments that it is rather lyrical, soothing, calming. . . . .you get the tone. I do lead a rather unexciting life. Well, some of the exciting things are not posted here due to my consummate discretion. One has to consider other people’s private lives, after all. And so the picture of my doings under the Montreal sky has settled into one of gazing at raindrops or standing in the middle of my back-yard entranced by the song of beady-eyed birds. However, I do live in a city and I do drive on highways. Today I became one of those people we usually look upon with pity or scorn or trepidation as we speed along, because we know that sooner or later, our turn will come. I must admit that I understand nothing about the way my car works. I know the names of various parts of the car, but what they have to do with actually getting me from one place to another is a total mystery. I am not proud of this ignorance, nor do I think it funny, feminine, ditzy, blond, typical. I do not think about it at all and yes, I know that is totally irresponsible. I have been and continue to be responsible about hosts of things but cars. . . . . are not one of them. In view of what happened today, I reluctantly admit that I should shift my area of irresponsibility to something else. Perhaps I could skip a time or two on recycling day or not check that my mortgage payments went through quite so obsessively. After all, not quite knowing what you are doing with a ton of metal hurtling along at 100km per hour involves more of a possibility for real physical trouble. If I had known better, I might have realized that my steering going all “wonky” had a cause. I might have realized that it was not the surface of the road that caused that strange dragging sound. I had a sinking feeling that something was terribly wrong but as I was speeding along to an appointment for which I was late and which I had already postponed once, well, I did not, as my grandmother would have said, “face up to things.” Finally the dragging sound became impossible to ignore and I slowed down and pulled over to the shoulder of the 20 highway. So. . . . . if any of you were part of the modest traffic jam this afternoon at around 3:30 pm, yes, it was me. It was me getting towed ignominiously off the highway so that a nice man could change my tire in a very snooty parking lot belonging to the Beaconsfield lawn bowling club,. I did not cry or have a melt-down. What was very encouraging was that before I could even call the emergency road crew, they showed up in my rear view mirror. Apparently the look-out guy patrols up and down the highway and he spotted me without even being called. It took a little while for the tow truck to arrive. The driver, a man of few words, took it for granted that I was going to steer my darling car up on that awful ramp. He obviously had lots of practice with people who were stressed or, like me, were ignorant and his simple commands, “put your car in neutral gear. . . .put on the hand brake. . . turn the steering wheel to the right until I hold up my hand,” were obviously well practiced. His burly confidence inspired my obedience. It was clear that hysterics were not on the menu and the only moment that was at all frightening was when I scrambled up into the cab beside him and he turned to ask, “Where am I taking you?” After a blank moment I said, “To the nearest place where my tire can be changed.” What did I know about garages on the West Island late on a Saturday afternoon? He took pity on me (or sized me up as a good tipper) and changed it himself. The most inconvenient thing about the whole process was having to drive home agonizingly slowly on Lakeshore Blvd. I even got to meet the patient person who had been waiting for the “date”. But that will be for another day.