Monday, July 4, 2011

Cabbage Patch Kids, funnel cakes and flat tires in Atlanta

One Thursday night last October I drove to Atlanta so that I could visit some family for the weekend. I had an amazing time, ate all the things I wasn't supposed to eat: chocolate covered strawberries, funnel cakes, cinnamon roll pancakes, more cinnamon rolls.

I visited Babyland (where the Cabbage Patch kids are "born") and I went to Helen for the first time, as well. Tried to make it to Anna Ruby Falls, but it was closed by the time we got there. 

I drove home Saturday night so that I would have all Sunday to read for school and write my papers--well I intended to drive home until my left front tire blew out on the highway.

It was about 5 p.m. and I was going 65, maybe 70 miles an hour, when I heard a loud POP and my car jerked to the right. I drove off the highway, with the rim of my car dragging against the asphalt, and pulled into an empty parking lot.

Luckily, my family is great. I called them while I waited for someone to come and put my spare tire on. They made me come back to the house and took me to breakfast the next day (more yummy food), then to buy a new tire. Then, just as they had done the day before, sent me on my way.

Halfway back to Savannah, in the Macon area, my right front tire blew out (as I was telling a friend the previous day's story on the phone). "Shit, I gotta call you back. It's happening again," I told her and once more pulled off the highway.

I was composed only until I hung up and pulled over. Then I called 911 crying and frantically told the poor operator something along the lines of, "I'm on the highway, I don't know where I am. I just had a blow out, I had one yesterday toooo! I don't have AAA! I don't know how to change a tire! I need to get back to Savannahhhh!"

I guess the sob story worked because she sent a state trooper over to do the job for me. By the time he got to me (an hour and a half later) I had almost stopped crying and by the time he finished changing my tire I was almost (almost) happy about the blow out. He was the cutest, sweetest, funniest state trooper I've ever met.

First of all, he didn't know how to change a tire. But he figured it out with my help. I even got my workout mat out of the trunk for him so he wouldn't hurt his knees while working. Second of all, he told me I was super exotic (everyone who knows me knows how much I love compliments)... and then he asked me if I was from the Philippines. Ummm?

I told him I was Cuban-Colombian and to this he said, "Oh, I love Cuba!" and then "Colombian? Where's Colombia? I ain't never heard of no Colombia before! Where's that?"

Keep in mind that not only am I in the middle of Georgia, but I'm also talking to a middle-aged black redneck state trooper who has really never left Macon, except to visit Cuba. Go figure.

He worked diligently on my tire while asking me friendly questions.
Him: What are you doing driving this long road without your boyfriend?
Me: I don't have a boyfriend!
Him: You don't have a boyfriend?! How does a pretty girl like you not have a boyfriend?
Me (crying, again): I don't know? But I guess it would be really helpful to have one right about now, wouldn't it?

Once he finished putting my spare on he bid me adieu, but only after pointing me in the direction of the nearest Firestone and wishing me the very best of luck. I wish I would have asked him for his station's info or even just his name so I could call or write or send smoke signals to thank him once again, but in my hurry I didn't and I regret that. You don't find people like him every day.

I still haven't learned how to change a tire; I'm thinking I probably should sometime in the near future. But I did learn a valuable lesson that weekend. I didn't run out of luck. Instead I realized how lucky I really am.


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