I woke up on time despite favoriting gifs on Twitter until 3 a.m., and the bold aroma of Colombian coffee delighted my senses before my steamy shower. I left the house on time, strolled into my beat-up Chrysler Sebring and shuffled my playlist before driving into morning traffic. It’s going to be a good day, I thought. As I left though, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was forgetting something. It would hit me later that “something” was how to change a tire. Dad, if you’re reading this, just know: It’s not you, it’s me.
10:36 a.m: It was an uphill battle (literally) to find a parking spot on campus, but I had faith. I had about five minutes to scramble into the first available space and book it to class. I saw a few students walking back to their cars and zoomed in on my target.
10:38 a.m: I raced forward. In my enthusiasm I failed to notice the oncoming curb, hitting it with an ominous smack. I blinked rapidly, fists death gripped the wheel as my car slammed to a halt. I closed my eyes and let out a deep sigh. Not today. When I finally got out, I only saw the scratches that were already there. Confused, I got back in but felt everything tremble as I started the car again. I drove on, ignoring the unforgiving stares of pedestrians as my car clattered obnoxiously. A second inspection would reveal the front right wheel was sporting a fantastic flat.
10:42 a.m: As if on cue, the clouds dispersed as the heavens shone a ray of glorious sun onto a patrol SUV and the motorcycle following closely behind. Florida State University Police were coming to my rescue. Two guardian angels—a man and a woman—approached me. They nodded sympathetically as I shared my misfortune. When I first phoned the police department, I was told no officer could assist me because it was a liability. In my mind, the officers would come to provide me with tools and watch in amusement as I knelt down on the asphalt in skinny jeans and flip flops to grease my hands. Instead, Officer Rodes assessed the damage. After an eternity, he looked up at us and said, as if they were the best words he had ever spoken, “I am not doing this in a vest.”
11:01 a.m: Wiping his sweaty brow, Officer Rodes stood so we could observe his masterpiece. Now there was only one problem; the spare tire was flat. Usually I’d be irate; cursing the universe for dealing me a hand of bad karma. What did I do to deserve this? It didn’t matter anymore. Class was over and I had more critical issues at stake, like, inflating my tire so that I could drive to school the next day. Why is it when spares are finally needed, they decide to deflate entirely? I knew the nearest gas station would have a self-service air pump. I thanked the officers. Just as I was saying goodbye, my car stalled. My eyes fixed on the low needle of the gas gauge. F–k.
11:16 a.m: A white stallion pulled up next to me and my roommate stepped out of her Honda Accord. Cassie! She handed me a shiny, red, reservoir gas tank. I pumped the liquid into my thirsty Sebring and it was just enough fuel to start my car. As I thanked her, Cassie’s flannel pajama bottoms caught my eye and it occurred to me I wasn’t the only one who had been inconvenienced that morning. The effects of the coffee I drank at 8 a.m. were starting to wear off. As most caffeine addicts will tell you, the headache to follow (especially if you’re on an empty stomach) is killer. If I had the option then and there to just pop an aspirin and go straight to sleep, I would have taken it. But there was still work to be done.
11:44 a.m: Instead of falling victim to slumber, I decided to do the “adult thing” and head to the gas station. After filling up on gas, air and paying Cassie back, I called my friend Q. Sparing the details, I told him I needed comfort food before my migraine got any worse. We met and congratulated my horror story with the much needed distraction of Zaxby’s—his treat. I dunked my sorrows in extra ranch and washed them down with sweet tea. After the fast food feast I headed back to my car. I blasted music and danced in my beat-up Chrysler Sebring all the way home.