Thursday, March 18, 2010

divine intervention

As soon as I hit the curb I knew I'd blown a tire. Shit. Not knowing what else to do I figured I'd try and make it closer to home, but as I'm driving a car is behind me honking. It's behind me and it's honking, honking. I raise my hands as if to say I know I'm driving on a flat tire. It's my choice. But they keep honking and then pulls in front of me and honks some more. So I pull over at random and the car stops in the middle of the street in front of me and for a minute I have to consider if I accidentally hit this car with mine and simply do not remember but in the end I decide I'd broke my tire all on my own so I have no idea what is going on.

Now other cars are honking at her but unconcerned she jumps out of her car, spry as a spring chicken. It's a nun. A nun in her habit is standing in front of me. Dearie, she says. Your tire is flat and your hubcap is way back there. I smile at her and thank her and she waves and jumps back in her car and drives off. I pause for a minute, both because that was really fucking weird and because I have a really flat tire. I am on an unfamiliar street and I have no form of roadside assistance to call.

As I momentarily ponder I hear a voice from on high. Did that nun run into you? the voice says and I look up and there's a dude on a roof, a construction sort of guy doing construction sort of things. I gaze into the brightness of the sun and I start to laugh. Looks like you're changing a tire I say and he laughs. Looks like I am.

He climbs down and takes a look and I tell him that was awfully presumptuous of me but I was momentarily caught off guard by both the tire and the nun. I thought the nun hit you the way she was acting he said and we laughed a bit and he says he's been wanting to change a tire for awhile now so it might as well be mine. So I poke around in the trunk and find a spare but no jack but my Handy Manny has it under control, he pulls a big jack out of his big work truck and does his thing.

I tell him a few times that he's a lifesaver, that I am not quite sure what I would have done especially without a jack and he takes a drag of his cigarette and smiles ah now, you woulda called someone and I figured he's right but him being right there pretty much felt like a million bucks.

When he's done I try and give him $20 and he shushes me and backs away but then leans over conspiratorial like and says but I'll be here all week if you want to come back and bring me some cookies and I laugh cookies? I say. I'd have figured you for a beer guy and now he laughs too, well if you're offering, I suppose I'd like that better. I guess I'm still tripping out on that nun and we say our goodbyes, he climbs back on his roof and I drive away, and tomorrow I'll go back with a six-pack, because when a nun nearly runs you off the road it's good to stop and listen and it's very good to be thankful for the angels that come next.

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Anonymous said...

Wow. A nun. That IS really weird. I don't think I've seen a nun in full habit for like 20 years myself.

And how lucky to have a Handy Manny, um, at hand!

alejna said...

You tell such great stories, jen. I love the way you write. And I'm always amazed by the characters you meet.

Lara said...

I love it. Just freakin' love it. I'm going to show this to the nuns at my school! :)

TZT said...

So well told. LOVE that story.

Ms. H said...


Here in Texas, we call what she did "herding". I'll use it in a sentence: "She was herding you over to the tire-changing station."


Magpie said...

this story just made my day. so completely.

meno said...

Sexist it may be, but thank god for men!

hele said...

every now and again i think. this awesome woman could have been my neighbour.

Anonymous said...

I vote for cookies *and* beer. And more time spent looking up.

You've got a way about you, Jen.


krista said...

is it normal that this post brought me to tears?
that i can't think of a good enough comment to show how much i was affected my this and yet i can't stop my fingers from typing because something should be commented?
i'm going to go eat some ice cream.

Kyla said...

Ha! What an experience.

Once I got a major flat and there was an off-duty cop behind me, he stopped and put out cones for me and turned on his lights. Then my father-in-law drove up behind him and the two of them changed my tire. Sometimes you get lucky.

Sharon said...

This is one of the best blog stories I've ever read. And I've read A LOT of them. You are a talented storyteller! LOVE it and got a great laugh, too!

Jan said...

I once had an angel in the guise of a Wendy's corporate executive and his family one Christmas day when my car's fan quit working in the middle of nowhere on the interstate and my car overheated. They pulled over to make sure I was alright, then went ahead to see if they could find a wrecker (this was in the days before cell phones).

Lo and behold, about 5 miles farther on, they found an open gas station WITH a wrecker - I repeat Christmas day in the middle of nowhere - and the wrecker guy was able to get my car safe enough to drive the 80 more miles back to my destination.

"...because when a nun nearly runs you off the road it's good to stop and listen and it's very good to be thankful for the angels that come next." Love it!

Expatriate Chef said...

Geez, you'd a thought the nun would have stayed and helped. :) Mysterious ways, my friend.

painted maypole said...

that's a great story. and good that you stopped... driving on your rim can REALLY ruin your car, and cost way more than a new tire.