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Monday, February 23, 2004

In which our heroine faces mortal danger, or I get a flat tire

Mortal danger is overstating the case, of course, but how often do you get to write that?

The weekend was lovely and rainy -- I saw people, ate food, slept in, took in some free theater, read and read and read. It was truly a great weekend -- up until about 1 AM Saturday night, when I left the bar at which I had enjoyed some fine company and a diet Coke to discover that somehow, I had managed to puncture my front right tire with a metal spike. Do not ask me how this happened. It is impossible to explain.

Because of the rain, I pulled into the nearest gas station (featuring bright lights and some vague semblance of cover) to inspect the damage. Then, I thanked the gods above that my cell phone was fully charged. Then, I called my insurance company, which promised to send a tow truck along.

Estimated arrival time: One hour.

It began to pour.

I had a few things working in my favor -- one, I had a bunch of clothes I'd been meaning to donate to Goodwill in the trunk, including an ill-fitting, but warm, sweater coat. Two, I had a coat already, along with a scarf and warm hat. Three, the gas station was deserted but for an attendant. Four, I had an interesting book with me.

So I layered the sweater coat over my lacy top and under my other coat, told the attendant I would be there for a while, turned off my engine, locked the doors, and snuggled into the hat and scarf before beginning to read. The rain pattered down, the windows fogged up with the eventual return of my body heat, and I grew so comfortable that I had nearly nodded off when I heard the faint grumble of the tow truck pulling up behind me.

I bounded out of the car, a lump of coats. "Are you here for ME?" I practically squealed.

Hector grinned, and we were motoring.

Yesterday, though, when my car and I limped into a Pep Boys on the spare tire, the experience was a lot less pleasant. I had hoped to get my actual tire fixed quickly and move onto some cafe-writing afterwards -- instead, the wait was estimated to be two hours and I had to get my valuables out of the car. Hence, me hauling my not-a-purse-bag and laptop case up and down Pico Boulevard, hoping like hell the constant sprinkling wouldn't increase to the point where, on top of everything else, I'd have to juggle an umbrella.

Shelter was found at the Westside Pavillion Barnes and Noble, where I sat on the floor and read comic books, and the Apple Pan, where I tested a hypothesis and found it to be true -- theirs is indeed the best tuna melt out there. Overall, not too bad an afternoon, and I've had worse weekends in general.

But one thing's for sure -- next time a storm comes, I'm going to do my damnedest to stay out of the rain.

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