Back by popular demand, I am republishing this harrowing account of the day I hit the sofa while driving on the interstate. First published 9/24/10.
Most people dislike driving on the Interstate. They cite many reasons for their displeasure
- Drivers tend to drive too fast
- Drivers change lanes without signaling
- Exits are not well marked
Actually, no one in my family will even drive on an Interstate unless it is a life or death emergency. I, on the other hand, prefer the Interstate. No doubt this is tied into my general tendency to get lost. Even with my GPS, whom I have so aptly named Molly, I have difficulty. I tend to be a bit skeptical when Molly tells me, “You have reached your destination,” and we are in the middle of nowhere.
I find it very comforting to remain on one road. I have no interest in poking around back roads. Driving on an Interstate has a calming influence on me. Imagine the sudden change in my serenity when I hit a sofa. Yes, it is unnecessary to reread the sentence, I hit a sofa driving west on I-26; other people hit dogs, cats, deer, bicyclists, vehicles, boxes, but I hit a sofa?
After the jolt, I look up. I am moving forward. This is good, right? I look around. All lanes of traffic are empty. I knew I had to get off the damn interstate.
I ventured down the winding exit ramp. The buildings on either side were all boarded up. I was definitely on high alert for objects in my path. My gut screamed at me to pull off the road, and check the damage. I remember this area from LT’s last COMSTAT report. I believe my chances for getting robbed or assaulted are ~ 65 %:perhaps a little lower since it was broad daylight. Pulling over, I jumped out of the car, and ran around to the front to check out the ‘sofa damage.’ The rim of the tire looked like a wrecking ball had made contact with the rim at maximum swing velocity.
Now, I am scared. I have not a clue where I am. I have forgotten the name of the street exit. However, I know going straight will get me to a major thoroughfare, but then what?
Not wanting to flaunt my helplessness one minute longer, I jumped back into my vehicle having made the decision that if the tire went flat, I was driving on the rim until I felt safe, regardless of the distance.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought this wonderful chain of tire service stores had a branch in this area, but I would not allow myself to hope, for fear of a massive breakdown if I was mistaken.
So I puttered along in the far right lane with a death grip on the wheel. I kept hearing sounds, strange sounds. I had not a clue what they were. I sure as hell was not going to stop and find out.
On the verge of a total breakdown, I see a glimpse of orange ahead of me on the right: Gerald’s Tire Service. Knowing it may be a mirage, I held out until I pulled in and jumped out of my Rav 4.
An interested, helpful looking young man walked toward me just as I broke down saying “I hit a sofa on I-26.” He questioned me repeatedly, “You hit a sofa? How does someone hit a sofa on an interstate?” I could not help him out on the answer.
He led me into the air-conditioned waiting area, nodding to the attendant to “watch this one.” He told me not to worry, everything would be ok. Seemingly only minutes later, he was back, grinning, “Mrs. Johnson your tire is fine. The rim is bent, but it is not hurting the tire in any way.”
Knowing hugging him was probably out of the question, I did what many grateful southern women do at a time like this, I burst into tears, repeatedly thanking him for taking care of me. Instead of handing me a big fat bill, he hands me a red rose, telling me it is ladies day at Gerald’s.
Who says chivalry is dead?