At one point today, I thought that the most stressful thing this evening was going to be coughing non-stop through rehearsal. Who knew that I would have come to look upon this vile anticipation with wistfullness.
Somewhere around 5:30pm, I got a call from my son. The sight of his phone number in my caller i.d. filled me with dread. Normally, the reverse would have been true. However, in this instance, I knew that he and his posse were driving back from Florida where they had spent a fabulous couple of days at Universal and Harry Potter land (or whatever it's called). The fact that he was calling me in mid-drive filled me with foreboding.
"Hi. When I drive the car fast, the car makes a weird bumping and when I drive slowly, it still makes it, but not as badly."
I knew that he had neglected getting his oil changed before the trip and I mentally assigned the knocking to this. I advised him to stop and check his oil levels. This seemed to be the case as his call 20 minutes into rehearsal confirmed. But, they were parked by the side of the road and it was still running and it was quiet but it had made a funny noise. They started it up when I said that it might take a while for the oil to completely relubricate..
A little while later, came another call. (Really good thing I have a minor part in this show.) Funny thing, but the tire had exploded. It seems that the bumpetyn bump of the car had been the tire in the process of going bad., but none of them had ever been in a car with a bad tire before. BUT, I had made sure that my kid knew how to change a tire. At this point, I think I will allow the text message I sent to my sister take over.
"The bumpety thumpetty turned out not to be the oil...which WAS low. It turned out to be the tire going bad and then it exploded. So, they managed to put the donut on and because none of those children had ever apparently been in the vicinity of a flat tire, it never occurred to any of them that just because the tire was bad and unrepairable...that they might...oh...need the tim. So they left the whole thing by the side of the road in the dark in southern South Carolina when they went on their merry way."
They drove along for another 45 minutes til they found someplace open that might be able to sell them a new tire. It was at this point that I became aware of the whole rim debacle and I explained in not quite the most patient of tones that it was going to cost probably $450 to replace a rim and a tire if they could even find a rim that quickly (bear in mind that we are talking the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day). I was just a little irked because a) I couldn't fathom not realizing they would need the rim and b) feeling helpless because I'm 600 miles away.
The dude told them that he couldn't put a full sized tire on a donut rim and that the donut tire was apparently fine. At this point, I'm sure my child was feeling guilty and the 4 of them piled back into the station wagon and backtracked with flashlights and the kind of enthusiasm only a roadtrip can engender in search of the missing rim. They did find it and tossed it into the back of the wagon.
At this point they were 240 miles away from their overnight destination and reckon that because they are going to drive the thrice-recommended 50 mph that they ought to arrive at some 4 in the morning. Wednesday morning, The Boy plans on getting to Wal-Mart at the instance they open and replace the donut and then they will continue their drive on the busiest travel day of the year.
I guess the lesson is this: each one of these kids are knowledgeable, intelligent college seniors, but the event was out of their respective experiences so they dealt with it...incorrectly. It's one of those things that's hard to anticipate. How do you tell someone all the potential ramifications of a situation if they a) don't occur to you because they seem obvious or b)you fear the Look of Extreme Patience. Do your best to prep your kids for life, but be prepared for them to look at life from a different angle than you.
However, at some point, he will be home and we will have Thanksgiving Dinner and we will all be thankful that we are together.