Stories Told

On taking life as it comes

This is the street in front of my house after it rains a lot in a very short time.


The storm sewers can’t keep up. I think they’re partially collapsed. I’ve complained to the city, but have gotten nowhere.

This is one of my two cars. It will become my son’s if he ever gets his license.


It’s beat up, leaks a little oil, and has a ton of miles on it. It breaks down sometimes as twelve-year-old cars do.

Recently, this car was having trouble starting. Symptoms pointed to a failing starter. My other car was running fine, so I figured I’d deal with the problem later. I moved it from its usual driveway spot (pictured above) out onto the street in case it wouldn’t start at all the next time and I’d have to have it towed.

Can you guess what happened next? Of course you can. Two nights later we got three inches of rain in an hour. I ran out to my car to move it out of the flood zone as the waters continued to rise. But of course it wouldn’t start. So I called my son out and, in driving rain and foot-deep water, we pushed it a half block to where the storm sewers were working and the street was clear.

I decided I might as well just have it towed to my mechanic right away. AAA told me there would be a modest charge, so I got out my debit card to pay the difference.

I didn’t realize that my debit card didn’t make it into my pocket until after I had been back inside my home for a few minutes. I quickly sloshed back out to catch the tow driver before he got away. He and I spent 15 minutes in the dark and rain with a flashlight looking for the card to no avail. At the point my clothes were so wet they were plastered onto me, I decided that enough was enough. I told the tow-truck driver that we were giving up and that I’d just call my bank to cancel the card and issue me a new one.

Which I did that night, at about 11 pm. It was one of the rare times I was thankful for an automated telephone system, which works when humans don’t. But the next morning when I tried to log on to my bank’s Web site to make sure I had funds to cover my obligations, my password wouldn’t work. I called the bank again, but this time talked to a live human being who explained that when you cancel a debit card, it locks you out of all banking until the new card arrives and is validated. Thank goodness I have a credit card with a different bank, so I can buy groceries and put gas in my running car.

Sometimes you find yourself on a roller coaster. All you can do is strap in and enjoy the ride until it ends.

I’m a veteran rider of roller coasters like these. Here’s another such story.


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