What do you do when you see someone broken down along the side of the highway? Hood up. Steam pouring out. Talking on the cell phone to the spouse or AAA (or both if your spouse works at AAA.)
I usually think, “It sucks to be you,” as I speed by.
I fear stopping to help unfortunate souls for several reasons. The first being that I am always late and no one would believe that I stopped to help someone. I do have the ability to change a tire in about three minutes, but that’s three minutes on top of the 20 that I am all ready late. Even though I know there is no difference between 20 and 23 minutes late, I don’t want to clutter up my sorry excuse with a plausible one.
Another reason is that people are scared of me. As a white male in my thirties, I fit the perfect stereotype of the guy that drives up, smiles, shoves you in my trunk, draws weird designs all over your body in magic marker and buries you in my mom’s crawlspace. I’d hate to freak anyone out. I’m sure most stranded people would rather wait for a sexy, 20 something in a red Mini Cooper to stop by and help them. You can’t shove a body in the trunk of a Mini Cooper. Unless you cut them up first and no 20 something hottie is going to get blood on her Blue Cult jeans.
If I did stop and help someone, they would probably need to use my cell phone. Just think of the complexity here. Roaming charges. Long distance charges. What if they text their mechanic? Now all of a sudden, my phone number is known by all sorts of freaks. I don’t want Ed from Ed’s Garage calling me. That dude is white and in his thirties. Not to mention what will happen if my wife casually searches my recent calls and finds a number that isn’t one of the ten that I am allowed to call. She wouldn’t believe the “I helped someone” excuse either. I’d get beat with the phone and have to sleep in the garage again.
I would also hate to help someone and spend all that time getting thanked and accepting gifts from the broken-downee. Many people are trained in the art of annoying thankfulness and feel it necessary to give you a gift of thanks. Sadly, most people don’t have gifts in their cars and you end up getting a White Castle box filled with flowering weeds from the side of the road. Just so everyone knows; cash is not insulting.
As I write this I’m realizing that I have the trifecta of car-breaking-downage in effect. My car is paid off. My engine light is on (but may be going off as it has been on for three months and that bulb ain’t getting any younger.) I do not have a spare tire. You can’t ask for a better combination of reasons for my 1995 Honda to give up on life and die on 270 in the morning/afternoon on my way to work. Oh yeah. I need an oil change bad. 10,000 miles bad.
Tomorrow morning/afternoon, as I am pulled off to the side of the road, please stop and help me. But only if you are a 20 something and wearing Blue Cult jeans. Can you drop me off at my mom’s house? I can write you directions on the back of this white castle box with this magic marker. My, what a small trunk you have.