It started raining yesterday in the early afternoon and didn’t stop all night long. This morning, still raining, the road was nearly impassible even for a capable 4X4. I considered this a good thing, because I have this superstition that cops won’t pull you over just to be pricks at the cost of getting wet, cold and muddy. It’s probably not a very reliable superstition, but I go with what I’ve got. Anyway there wasn’t any trouble so I guess I was right.
Got to the shop early, because I had arranged to meet D&L there and I wanted to have all the ducks in a row and swimming industriously before they arrived. They did arrive right on time, in a very muddy large Dodge pickup and exclaiming over how they’d barely made it. We did our shopping, they dropped me back off at the shop and headed back to the gulch.
Time passed. As the Jeep came down off the rack I felt my heartrate jump: Ten minutes on the road and I’d leave pavement, home free. But for those ten minutes I’d be vulnerable. I don’t do it often enough to relax about it, and every time I’m convinced there’ll be a flashing light in my rearview.
Time to settle the bill. Did you know that requesting 20 new lug nuts (the Jeep has always had an eclectic collection of lug nuts, requiring multiple wrenches) cost me an extra $50? I was a little shocked at that, but not half so shocked as when I tried to pay up and the guy said, “Oh, I don’t take plastic.”
Why did that surprise me? I really wonder. It shouldn’t have. The guy currently running this shop is, like, me in another ten years. He clearly thought I was dumb as a box of rocks for carrying a debit card around, and I have the feeling I barely escaped a lengthy lecture.
I said, “You know…you probably should have mentioned that when we talked over the job that first time.”
Well, now I was stuck. There I’d been waiting, all worked up, for something to go wrong and it happened before I could even pay my bill. S&L are out of state, J&H moved away, there was only one number I could call and I’d already imposed on them once today. I called D&L.
By wild coincidence they planned to come back into town anyway, having some banking business to do. I explained the problem, and L not only agreed to pick me up but also insisted on writing a check to the shop, letting me square it when we got to the bank. (This proved impossible due to my afore-hinted lack of Government-Approved Photo ID. But I got more than halfway there, and will finish the next time we go to town.)
The dirt hadn’t gotten anything but muddier in the four hours since I last visited, and the Jeep spent a lot of time sideways. I didn’t care: No sooner did I splash down into that goo than I felt my heartrate drop. Anyway I was convoying with D&L, who were slipping and sliding at least as much as I was, and between the two of us and a tow strap we were all going to get home sooner or later. Once out of town, we only had to worry about Ma Nature and she’s not half the bitch the State is.
What’s that? You want to see the new tires that one of you paid the lion’s share of? Sure thing!