Good Friday, 10 April 2020
This story is a long one!
I took this photo while standing in a field at the side of the highway, after my car broke down, waiting for CAA. The steel grey clouds, mixed with blue tinges, combined with the light brown of the hay are what caught my eye. The farm in the background didn’t hurt. I’m a sucker for a farm. The two pieces of pavement (foreground and mid-ground) are the westbound and eastbound lanes, respectively, of highway 50.
My day started with the stark realization that my grocery order pickup time was 10 am…not 1 pm. I was up late…which led to me sleeping in later than usual… The store called to confirm the order had been prepared and was ready for me.
We decided to take my car because it needs to get out. I have driven it maybe twice since November, just prior to my Caribbean cruise. The battery needed to be replaced, which was done in February. I haven’t driven it since. I know cars need to be driven at least once a week. So, every now and then, I’ll take it out for a spin, get on the 50 eastbound and drive to the airport, sometimes further, to get the exhaust out and charge up the battery.
You might recall my episode this past winter where it all but died on me, then miraculously came back to life after I backed it up, off the highway on-ramp, in the dark with no lights and no power steering, to the side road. I was able to get it, and us, home safely.
Well, today it did the same thing. After our “curb-side” grocery pickup, I headed east on the 50 and, right about the same place, I noticed a light on the dash, then another, then the power steering was gone, followed by the speedometer and gas indicator… big long sigh.
This time, though, it died on me. Not before I was able to get us safely off the highway though, so thank God for that! A quick call to CAA, which included questions about COVID-19, and an hour wait. I was anxious sitting in the car, worried someone could rear end us, even though we were off the highway quite a bit, so grabbed a blanket from the back and Mom sat on the embankment and I paced. With new COVID-19 restrictions in place, we weren’t able to go with the tow truck driver. CAA would make arrangements for us with a local cab company, at our expense, unless we had someone who could help out. Definitely strange times we’re living in. Thankfully my cousin’s husband came to our rescue.
While waiting for him and the tow truck, a QPP cruiser pulled up. Two very young officers got out. I walked over to meet them, keeping a safe distance, and brought them up to speed. Just then my cousin’s husband arrived to give Mom a ride home. Once she was safely off, they informed me they had questions they needed to ask. I assumed they wanted my ID but they waved it off. No, they wanted to know what I was doing out. Again. Strange times we’re living in!
I explained about picking up our groceries, that I ordered online, and how this was the first time in two weeks that we’ve been out of the house, and how I wanted to give the car a spin and this is where I ended up! They also wanted to know if I lived in Ottawa…My car has QC plates… I assured them I lived close by. They were super nice and friendly, reminded me of my nephews.
They left and I paced some more. Eventually the cold got to me and I sat in the passenger side of the car. I saw a tow truck on the east bound lane slow down and look at me as it passed and I had a feeling it was for me. Seconds later, another QPP cruiser pulls up behind me. The officer was older this time, closer to my age. I quickly brought him up to speed, he peeked into the engine, asked several questions and agreed with my diagnoses…it’s probably the alternator. The tow truck operator pulled up…a young friendly guy. My Mom pulled up behind the police cruiser. And then finally, we were all on our way! Once at the garage, which was closed for the weekend, I transferred my groceries to Mom’s car and we were off again.
I was oh, so happy, to be home!
I haven’t seen many people, face to face, since March 15 when we started self isolating. Today, I was face to face with the woman who delivered the groceries to my car, three police officers and the tow truck driver. It was surreal! Strange times indeed.
I’m grateful to the police officers for stopping to ensure my, and Mom’s, safety. To CAA for the quick response considering it’s a holiday, the tow truck driver for being so efficient, friendly and easy to talk to and the grocery store for providing such amazing service. I’m also very grateful my mechanic is also my neighbour!