About four years ago, I’m on the eastern freeway and something happens to me that has never happened in the 21 years of my driving: I run out of petrol.
I thought I knew my fuel gauge intimately. But on that day she tricked me, and I putt-putted my way into the shoulder lane with my sweaty palms – damn you hyperhidrosis – and my cheeks the colour of scarlet.
Another fact very unlike me: I didn’t have roadside assistance. So I find myself calling RACV and immediately signing up for two years.
“Someone will be with you within the hour”, the operator tells me.
Great. I’m supposed to be meeting a girlfriend at the Slow Food farmers market. I dial her next. And she makes the right commiserating noises.
Then I call the hubby. “I’ll come,” he says. “I’ll wait for the RACV guy and you can take my car to meet Jacq.”
“Are you sure?”
Less than 10 minutes later, the hubby pulls up into the shoulder as cars pass us at over 100km per hour. To passersby, I’m sure we look as if we’re up to something dodgy. Or maybe that’s just the way I see it?
Because to some extent it is dodgy. It is not a win-win situation. Or maybe it is? I feel guilty about this exchange. Nevertheless, I allow myself to receive the gesture – another thing that often doesn’t happen.
When I meet my friend, hardly a few minutes late, I say, “If I ever grumble about my husband, can you please remind me about this moment?”