Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good Samaritans, Bad Fashion

Last night we went out to dinner for Father's Day a few towns over because Dad wanted to go to the Bass Pro Shop for shirts (The South--where even bookish, non-sporty men buy their clothes at a store with dead deer on the walls) and that's where the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse nearest us is.

Side note: when did booty shorts at an expensive restaurant become okay? Especially when dressing up is so much fun?

On the drive home, we'd almost gotten over the Three-Mile Bridge (which has a real name, but hey, this is The South. We simplify) when Mom noticed the tire pressure light had gone on. A few moments alter, the tire begins to make loud not-okay, noises. We got across the bridge and into the service road near the Pensacola Welcome Center before it totally flattened. Note: this is the road people take to go fishin' on the fishin' bridge so on a Friday night it's fairly heavily trafficked. (I know, I know, but for real. People do that for entertainment)

It was ten o'clock at night, and I had a scene in my head I REALLY wanted to edit. Such is life.

While Mom called triple-A a guy came up offering to help. He said he worked at Southern Miss and was "a tire changing expert". Mom hung up with triple-A.

Cue the search for the spare. While the guy and my dad tore apart the car, and the nice lady with him told my mom her life story, I pulled out my iPhone.

"Where is the spare 2008 Honda Odyssey?"

Yeah. Guess who found it? All those years of searching for "lyrics to animal crackers in my soup" and "buffy angel watch order" paid off.

Unfortunately, because I am someone's protagonist this guy could not find the tool to loosen our locked lug nuts (that sounds like a code, doesn't it?) so back in the car to call triple-A again we went. While Mom was on the phone, Dad had to tell the passing Good Samaritans we were missing a tool. The guy changing the tire had amusingly thought the one to talk to about the mechanical stuff was dad but since A. Mom is the Does Stuff person in the family and B. Dad can't hear, I'm not entirely sure what these passersby thought we were missing, but it probably was something more along the lines of "screws loose" than "lug nuts tight".

Then, another Good Samaritan pulled up, and announced he could change the tire. He had a four-sized lug wrench and--apparently--magical powers. He found the missing tool. Now this guy was the guy who sells gasoline in all those old Southern movies. Bald, a few teeth lacking, heavy Southern accent, with a large son who doesn't say much except "Here's the wrench, Dad." (You thought he'd say Pa? Yeah, me too.)

But he changed our tire, didn't accept the money Dad tried to give him, and was generally very nice. I started thinking about how even though this place can be backward sometimes, and not my favorite place in the world, people are nice.

But it's not true that it wouldn't happen somewhere else. When I fell in New York last year a lot of people stopped. A doctor passing by, the drugstore owner across the corner and some others. For all that people can be horrible, they can be surprisingly wonderful, too.

"Insert Ann Frank quote here."