So we’re driving home from Palm Springs. It’s Sunday, June 28th, our 12th anniversary. I want to get home. The car overheated when we drove to the tram. Willey and a new-found buddy from downtown Palm Springs worked on the car Saturday night and it seemed fine, save some slow leaking.
Then we break down. On the I-10, twenty-five miles east of Indio. Mind you, it’s Sunday, all mechanics are at home, watching TV, being with their families. When the car breaks down, it’s 110 degrees outside. We have plenty of water, but it’s hot! Willey and I stew silently. I call the tow truck guy we met at our last stop. I had had an ominous feeling and put his number in my phone. He says he can “be there in 25 minutes.” 25 minutes?! We could be hit by a car, we could sweat our brains out, we could melt in 25 minutes.
But we wait. A homeless couple of guys in a rented U-Haul truck stop. “We can save you money! It’ll cost you $100 easily with the tow…..we’re good Christians, we help everyone out. But we don’t have any tools. We can fix it for you if you have tools.” We don’t. I make a mental note: keep a tool kit in the car. The guys seem harmless enough. The skinny guy, I could take him. Should we be attacked, my Tae-Kwon Do will kick in (pardon the pun), and a swift round house kick to the gut, he’d fly into the freeway. The other guy, Willey can take him, they’re both over 55. They have an adorable puppy…is that a ploy to get unsuspecting people to trust them? I can hear my mom’s voice “Ai goo, shut the door Caroline! Lock everything!” But I don’t. I play it cool. I watch them with one eye, my other eye on the girls. They’re smiling, watching “Hotel for Dogs” on Willey’s laptop, totally oblivious to the doom and gloom of my mind. I have to smile looking at them. It’s at least 110 in the car and they’re not complaining. They know what’s going on, but they choose to entertain themselves with what is at hand. They laugh. “Look mom! Look at this…” something silly is happening in the movie. The homeless guys leave empty handed. They couldn’t fix it. They return 15 minutes later, with wrenches. They try. It doesn’t
work. I give them $20 for trying. The tow comes 5 minutes later.
We stay in the Holiday Inn and order pizza. The girls go swimming and have more fun. I dry their clothes on the air conditioning vent and unpack toiletries again. Willey loses one day at work and I miss a doctor appointment. The car is fixed by lunch time the next day. The time flew once we began solving a crossword puzzle in the paper. We arrive home at 5:30pm, relieved. Home! We love our home, even with the dining room project covered in plastic, the walls dusted with concrete powder. Maggie jumps up and down and runs in circles.
Happy Anniversary darling.