Almost every morning I escort backpacked boys to the bus stop, and then race to ballet class. I love the effect all of that tuck, lift, stretch, and burn is having on my hormone-ravaged parts. (Tamoxifen should be every bit as delicious as a 3 Musketeers for all the damage it does to a midriff.) But, barre class begins a rather exact number of minutes after bus stop child disposal, leaving very little wiggle room to snag one of the unmetered parking spaces coveted by lululemon-clad women in legwarmers. We’re happy to shell out $20 per class for a flat belly, but it’s that much sweeter to save the buck on parking. Today I congratulated myself on my good fortune as I backed my car into the choicest spot that didn’t require quarters, then skipped into the studio, blissfully unaware that someone was trying to kill me.
On Thursdays, Leslie and I usually sneak out of barre early and race over to Bible Study. Today we decided to be late, because it feels rude to sneak out early, and Jesus appreciates a girl with a great ass. (Having established that Bible study-attending Churchy types can be irreverent as well as shapely, I’ll put in my usual plug for Thursday morning women’s Bible Study at the Redeemer.) Hopping into my SUV with my still-shaky legs, I turned the key in the ignition and… nothing. I flagged down Leslie and said within earshot of my would-be assassin that I’d leave the dead car in the lot and call AAA after circle time with Jesus.
AAA, for all its economy and convenience, isn’t always the swiftest champion for a damsel in distress. I spent three hours in a parking lot using my almost toned arms to pull on the steering wheel to get the column to unlock. Nothing. The key refused to turn for me, or for AAA hero #1–who was more interested in my ability to plié and do splits than figuring out why the car wouldn’t start. When fate requires you to depend on the kindness of burly men in vans, it’s better if your outfit leaves a bit more to the imagination. But I’d just returned from Bible Study, so in my these-people-in-my-path-for-a-reason frame of mind, I learned that his sister is battling cancer and we had a bit of prayer-share bonding before he told me to call a tow truck. It took another hour for AAA hero #2 to interrupt my shameless Facebook trolling for amusement. Four updates and fifteen comments later, adorable AAA hero #2 arrived, took my keys, and started the car on his first try.
Three hours of frustrated attempts to unlock the steering column so abruptly remedied made me go all Elaine-from-Seinfeld on him. I actually pushed him with an incredulous “how did you DO that?” Of course, having been blonde my entire life, I’m accustomed to these situations… it’s why we have such a bad rap. Proving in three minutes that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my car, he kindly suggested I get the ignition checked anyway. But as I exited the parking lot, my window wouldn’t close. The dashboard went dark. There was a weird rubbing noise that sounded like an expensive problem, so I backed up and told cute AAA boy that I was scared to drive with the noise and wonky computer. He sat down in the driver’s seat and closed the window without provocation before loading blondie’s gigantic, totally functional car onto the flat bed.
It wasn’t until we got to the garage that AAA cutie noticed one of my tires was hanging on with only one bolt. “Where are the other bolts?” he asked as if I use them for sundry art projects and forget to replace them afterwards. Unable to account for four missing bolts that require large, iron tools to remove, it was determined that this was a failed theft. But instead of leaving my Volvo propped up on milk crates, the criminal left me with a car that would have lost its tire as soon as I hit the parkway.
“God is looking out for you, Britt.”
That was the only explanation from my mechanic. He just called. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the steering column. Nothing. The only thing he’s certain about is that driving a car with one tire bolt would have spelled disaster… disaster that was diverted by a car that wouldn’t start. My completely functional car now sports four tire locks, and I’m safe at home in my Cinderella costume. The murderous thief is still out there… but apparently I have a guardian angel.
Stay safe, friends.