I'm not a particularly speedy driver. I'd rather have a decent amount of following distance than get somewhere 15 seconds faster.
I KNOW. I have been ready for old age since I was 12.
When I'm getting on the freeway, though, I feel it is imperative to enter the roadway at freeway speed. I've never been able to figure out people who toodle down the onramp at 30 mph, with that casual "no particular place to go" insouciance.
I wonder if they see me back there, screaming "WILL YOU SPEED UP, YOU MORON? DON'T YOU KNOW WE ARE GOING TO BE CRUSHED BY A SEMI?"?
So it was with some level of irritation that I tried to get on Highway 126 last night. The little red truck with the oxidized paint job in front of me was going about 40 miles an hour on the onramp and showing no signs of speeding up.
As soon as we hit the highway, I checked for traffic, speeded up and tried to go around the red truck by entering the fast lane.
I just saw the black maw for a split second, but I felt the aftermath. I had, in short order, entered and exited a pothole the size of a tract-home swimming pool.
Ok, maybe not that big. But big. Really big.
I felt and heard my driver's side front tire flopping loosely, so I cautiously pulled over to the shoulder of the road, which was about a foot wider than my car.
I breathed a bit and listened to Goldie panting in the back, then called AAA for roadside service as traffic flew by, the wind rocking my car back and forth.
AAA estimated that a truck would be there in 45 minutes or sooner.
"Um, can it be sooner, please?" I pleaded, thinking of all the news stories I had read about motorists being struck while waiting in disabled cars on the side of the freeway.
It was dark. Traffic flew by. We used the time to tidy up the interior of the car and to try to keep from complete and utter panic.
God bless those AAA guys. Mario turned on his big flashing lights and put out reflective triangles and used a tiny flashlight to wave the zooming traffic into the far lane while Tony risked his life by changing my tire.
Mario said people never slow down. They have seen lots of people get hit. They did not take the situation lightly at all.
Soon I was on my way, the pathetic donut tire taking the place of my shredded tire. I got off the freeway and crept along city streets, feeling my car's terrible handling with that donut tire on.
This morning I went outside and found out why the car was so miserable to drive. The left rear tire had popped, too. I felt like a total ass.
I had driven 5 miles with a flat rear tire, thinking all the while that the donut was the problem. I figured I had bent the crap out of my rim. Yay. More money down the drain.
I called AAA again. Flatbed truck. Biker dude driver who wants to retire to the Yukon. Good luck with that. He told me stories about getting hit, too. About people who didn't even stop after hitting him.
The tire store guys gave me 2 new tires for free because I had tire insurance. So far the rims are ok. If they aren't, maybe I'll get me some of these bad boys.
So people, my people. Be kind. Slow down when you see a tow truck. Those are real people out there.