It happened lo these many years ago that I was driving along Canada's big highway between the Capital and the Centre of the Universe. It was that time of year when daylight fades early and it was that sort of place where if one were disposed to be freaked out by isolated wilderness, one would freak out - if one weren't beetling along at high speed. Not illegally, of course - only as speedily as one is allowed by the Highway Traffic Act.
What happened was this: as the sun was losing the will to hang in the sky, my car lost the will to maintain speed. Before I knew it, I was sitting, still, on the side of the highway, buffeted by trucks and vans and cars beetling to their destinations. I felt like a dinghy tied to a pier, rocking gently from side to side in the wake of faster and fleeter machines. Their effortless motion made my motionlessness all the more palpable.
I will now skip over the part of the story where I promised myself that just as soon as I got home I was going to finally buy one of those cell phones people were saying were so handy to have in cases of emergency, and the part where the tow-truck driver who hauled my car and I to That Tire Store told me hunting stories. Perhaps I should have been flattered by his invitation to hang out with his buddies, but I began to feel the Steven-King-like atmosphere of my surroundings so I tried to decline in a way that made it clear I hoped he wasn't going to turn out to be a lunatic on the loose and really just wanted to get home safe and sound.
Anyway. Safe and sound I was, eventually. It turned out to be the timing belt and assorted other pieces. My brother-in-law had checked fluid levels for me before I left, but hadn't thought about belts and hoses. (Who would, really, unless one were planning one's wardrobe?) When his father heard my tale of woe, he shook his head sadly at me and said too bad it was that I hadn't had a pair of nylons with me, 'cause then I could have made the necessary repairs myself and avoided the scary tow situation.
The most surprising element of this story is not that he thought I would know how to MacGyver my car with pantyhose, but that I would own a pair of pantyhose in the first place!
Much to my delight I was able to relive the timing belt experience nearly two weeks ago, except this time it was here in Sohoe instead of in the wilds of the Shield, and with a red car instead of a black one. It took a week for repairs to be made. I was housebound and unable to get to work most days, but received such generous help from friends and family that I couldn't but see it as a blessing. The car and I were happily reunited a few days ago and life has returned to normal with an added dash of gratitude.
And I still don't own any hose.