Last week, I was getting on the entrance ramp to US-23N to head to work when Friday Night came on my radio. I may have accelerated more than was wise, which resulted in the car spinning about some 270 degrees and coming to a stop off the left side of the ramp, mostly on the shoulder but jutting a bit into the median.
Which, no matter how smooth the aftermath, is alarming. Fortunately, no one hit me, I didn’t get stuck in the snow, and I hadn’t gone off the right side of the ramp, which slopes down into a clump of trees. The only casualty was the splash guard, which was partly dislodged from under the front bumper. And so I thanked God for my safety, resolved not to listen to the radio whilst on entrance ramps henceforth, waited for the adrenaline to stop flowing, and carried on driving to work.
Yesternight, having decided to get my hair trimmed, I was driving down Sheldon Road when I hit one of those potholes they’ve made such noise about. Bam! Immediate flat tire on my front passenger side.
Which was incredibly annoying. Dang and blast it all, there went my plans for the whole evening: haircut, picture for a new passport, going home to read and clean and generally Take Care Of Business had all been swallowed up by waiting for assistance and the expense of getting a tire fixed. Fortunately, I was able to get off Sheldon, my phone was charged, there was a spare tire in the trunk, and the plans were more or less etched in Jell-O anyway. And so I thanked God for that and made some calls. With my brother Mark’s help, I cancelled the hair appointment, called AAA for roadside assistance, and ordered a personal pizza delivery given the expected 2-hour wait.
Settling down to read Something Wicked This Way Comes, I was heartened when a woman stopped her minivan to ask if I needed help. “Nah, I’m fine – just waiting for Triple A,” I told her. I said the same to two teenage boys who stopped their vehicle some minutes later. When the third minivan stopped, I said “Well, I’m waiting for roadside assistance, but if you want to change a tire, well, go ahead.” So this fellow parks his car, digs a couple of lug wrenches from my trunk, reveals a secret compartment (!) with another full-sized spare tire in it, and spends some 20 or 30 minutes trying to remove the lug nuts. He wasn’t successful, but we spent the time chatting about the neighborhood, the schools and churches our families have attended, Michigan’s foster care system, urban beautification efforts in Detroit, his mum’s garage sales, and the startling spending of the wealthier folks in Grand Rapids. Eventually he gave it up as a bad job and we sat in his car until the AAA guy arrived. Ten minutes thereafter, I headed home.
This morning, I got on US-23 ever so carefully, my radio off, since I have the capacity for basic learning (although I suppose that’s up for debate. Maybe I should be taking a different route? Different car? Moving to Panama?). Everyone was driving around 35-40 mph given the snow, which seemed reasonable enough. A little over a mile down the expressway, the person in front of me braked. I also braked – gently, I thought, but evidently not gently enough: the car spun around 180 degrees, until I was facing oncoming traffic.
Which was swift and baffling and even more alarming than last week’s adventure. Fortunately, I was on the right shoulder, neither hit the guardrail nor rolled down the slope, and no one hit me. After a couple minutes, there was a wide enough gap that I could drive across and turn the car around; a few minutes after that, a wide enough gap to ease off the left shoulder and back onto the road, hazard lights flashing all the way.
And so I thanked God for my safety, drove the rest of the way as carefully as I could, and prayed we all might be delivered from the snow and ice.
Clearly I’ve been delivered three times already. This reveals God’s glory to me if to no one else…but I keep wondering if it might not be more glorious for Him to send a thaw?