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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

July 30, 2008: Midnight on the Moonless Prairie

Tomorrow's a formal job interview, but my business suits are in Lethbridge where I originally wanted to settle. So armed with a map at the wheel, I decide to get my luggage after work. (Besides, I don't want to pay rent for another month.) I'm sure to be back and be in bed in four hours. I need some beauty rest...

The car's finally loaded with my boxes and suitcases; my stomach with hotdog and chips. It's nine -- my bedtime -- but I'm still in the middle of the moonless prairie. When suddenly... The engine chokes. White smoke billows from under the hood. The smell of burning coolant fills the car. Images of exploding cars in movies fill my mind, so I grab my bag and stand away from the car as I dial 911. "I'm afraid my car's going to catch fire," "What's your exact location?" Son of a gun! How do I know? I could hardly read the signs for speeding. Ooops!

A lady motorist stops to give my location to the operator, so my call is forwarded to two more operators. Finally... "Is it on fire?" "Oh, no. And it's no longer smoky." "Arent' you a member of CAA?" "Oh, yes, of course!" Dang! Cell phone at two bars now!

"Help is on the way." "Help is on the way." "Help is on the way." CAA operators say every 30 minutes while I shiver in the midnight air. I send messages to my aunt who pester CAA more. Ha!

I look out the window and imagine the flickering eyes of foxes or bears getting closer. I want to laugh at my silliness... The roaring trucks are getting fewer. Some drivers stop and peer through the window. Their tired faces with moustache; their heads with cowboy hats. They offer help and give their phone numbers. "Help is on the way. Thank you very much." Deep inside though, I feel they're true.

"Help" from CAA comes in the form of a lanky, suntanned man with the usual moustache and hat. He sips from two different mugs while driving in the middle of the road, hugging both lanes or swerving left and right like a slithery snake. Is he drunk or sleepy? How can I start my beauty rest? At 1:30 a.m., I'm in my warm bed in Calgary, dreaming about midnight on the moonless prairie. Will you come with me next time? Or will you lend me your new car? Zzzzz...


  1. Nyaiks! Ms. J, you are such an adventurous person! :-) How I wish I were with you to experiecne that, too. I won't do it alone:-)

  2. well, i wish i had a choice. living on my own has always been pleasant though... tell me when you're visiting Canada :)