Yesterday, after a long day of running errands (and cruising no fewer than four freeways in the process) in the little red Chevy pickup, it dies. Just quits on a quiet country road here in Malibu. Quick check and yep, there's gas, there's oil pressure, the battery's charging and Keb' Mo's wonderful "Dangerous Mood" is still playing. But the engine, which cranks, just won't turn over.
So I call AAA and a computer says "Roadside Emergency" and asks for my 16-digit membership number. Which I don't have because I seem to have left my wallet at home. I randomly punch numbers into the phone until I annoy the computer so much, it connects me to an actual human being who sends a tow truck. With a driver who refuses to help me because - oh yes - my driver's license is in the wallet I seem to have left at home. He does, however, offer to charge me sixty bucks AND six cents a mile to tow the truck without my ID. When I decline, he leaves me in the road.
So I walk to the Cove, get the Plymouth - and my wallet with my license - drive back to the dead truck and call AAA. Again. And yell at a very nice young man as I explain what happened the first time around. The very nice young man sends a tow truck. Again. Same company, different driver. And when I try to show the new driver my license he says, "I don't need that."
So he towed the pickup to Malibu Auto where Kelly sighed as I told him yes, I know the truck has 275,000 miles on it but yes, please do replace the distributor, which is rusted out beyond belief.
And then I drove home in the 1949 Plymouth with the original flathead six engine that roars up even the steepest Malibu hills with amazing grace, and I promised that sweet, solid 58-year-old sedan that I would finally, finally replace the torn headliner.