You know it’s going to be a rough morning when you wake up and it’s the warmest it will be all day. At 7 AM. 4 degrees below zero, and the temperature is steadily dropping. Your car will struggle to start, you will soon lose all feeling in the tip of your nose, and the coffee in your thermos will lose 90% of its heat before you finish your 15 minute commute to work.
Or. Your front tire will blow out in the middle of a five-lane highway interchange, and you won’t make it to work. That’s definitely one way to have a bad morning.
I don’t deal with crisis well. ESPECIALLY car crisis. See previous post: Dealing With Car Troubles as an Adult. So when my front tire exploded while I was going 60 MPH during rush hour at a curve that three major highways meet at, I kind of broke down. Quite literally.
I was able to move onto a shoulder and avoid any collisions. Blessing #1. But there I was, at one of the busiest interchanges in South Minneapolis, and it was a whopping -8 degrees outside. Luckily, I had just recently switched my insurance to include Emergency Roadside Assistance, and had the number on speed dial before I had ever even moved to the Twin Cities. I called only to hear this lovely recording: “We are currently experiencing heavy volume of callers. You’re wait time is 20 minutes.”
And that is when I lost it.
It was only minutes prior that I had been listening to the weather on the radio – with the alarming warnings that even five minutes outside could lead to frost bite and hypothermia. I internalized that as “If you are outside, you will die.” So I messaged my parents to say my goodbyes. They calmly responded with “Stay in your car, and call a tow truck.”
I googled Minneapolis Towing – another reason I was hysterical. I didn’t have the first clue who to call or where to even get my car towed. That was the whole point of having Emergency Roadside Assistance, so I didn’t have to do this. I called the first company on the list. The guy who answered could tell how distressed I was. Maybe it was the sobbing, breath-inhibiting sentences I was failing to form. He told me they were swamped and gave me a different number to call – a smaller company that probably wouldn’t be as busy. I had almost managed to keep my composure with the next tow truck company – until the woman told me it would be about 40 minutes til the truck could get there. And then I lost it again. Black-out hysteria style. The last thing I remember saying is “So you are sure I can’t freeze and die in that time period?”
Meanwhile I had texts out to everyone I knew. Including a friend at work. Who informed the rest of work. And then I had a call from a very concerned superior. Who caught me at a particularly rough moment of hysteria. So…that’s awesome. Three weeks into a new job, and I’ve already cried to my boss about how I can’t handle adult problems. Great start to a working relationship, right?
I decided to pass the time in my frozen tomb by hunting down Geico. When I got through, I had some very choice words from them about what it means to pay for Emergency Roadside Assistance and to be abandoned during an emergency. Let’s just say I think I have free emergency towing for the rest of my life.
What felt like four hours later, I was finally rescued. The first thing the tow truck driver said was “You just had to break down in the busiest and most dangerous part of town, eh?” I immediately felt that my hysteria was justified.
The best part of the morning was by far the conversation that took place between the two tow truck drivers. They bantered back and forth in some of the thickest Minnesota accents I have ever heard. And yes, they had beards. I lamented about why I chose to move to an even colder city than Madison, and one driver responded with “Yeah…I’d live down south fer shure, if it weren’t for all dem critters.”
I didn’t ask him to elaborate on critters. But yes sir, I agree. Critters are the worst.
Alas, the Polar Vortex strikes again. Claiming my two front tires, my office reputation, and my waist line. Cuz you know I stress-ate those tacos all damn day.