The man of the house was at a conference this weekend a couple hundred miles away. On a whim, I hopped in my car Saturday morning to go surprise him. Assuming I could spend the night, I’d packed an overnight bag: undies, socks, shirt, CPAP. I could always wear my pants a second day, right?
About 25 miles from my destination, going 70mph on the Interstate, I heard a loud “thump thump thump” noise. I pull off to side and discovered a shredded front right tire.
Fortunately I do know how to change a tire. My dad had me rotate the tires when I had my learner’s permit, just so I could practice. (Thanks, Dad!) But as I was digging the jack and lug wrench out of the truck, I realized the knit cotton slacks I was wearing would get pretty dirty if I was sitting or kneeling on the (paved with traces of mud, gravel, and other grunge) shoulder to access the tire.
Which brings me to one of the not-so-fun parts of weighing 400lbs: It’s not just that clothing that I like in my size is hard to find. Everyone has that, so some extent. It’s that not all cities have a physical store that carries clothing in my size. Buying anything from a bathing suit to jeans to a jacket or a bra is not always physically possible – and it usually takes some Googling or working a phone book to find out if it IS possible.
I don’t assume I can buy clothing if needed while on a trip. If I fly, always pack at least a full change of clothing (down to undies and socks) in my carryon bag. For short trips I usually fly all-carryon. Even at home, I have no local source for my preferred bras and pants. My first few years out of college I would sometimes be so disorganized I’d just buy a new outfit or underwear on my way home so I could put off going to the laundromat. I couldn’t do that now.
Back to the Interstate: I squatted down and started jacking up the car. I was eying the ground and wondering just how grungy it was when a guy in a truck pulled over and took over getting the compact spare tire onto the car. A bit later a state patrol car also pulled over; the patrolman told me an exit about 13 miles down was near several tire dealers, so I could get a replacement.
It wasn’t until I was loading the old tire (toast) and rim (was fine) into the trunk that I realized I could’ve spread the trunk mat on the ground and knelt on it. That’s also when I realized I was shaking just a bit.
I drove very cautiously, with flashers on, since the compact spare tire is only good for 50MPH. The 70MPH zone ended after 7 or 8 miles and became 60MPH. I was expecting other cars to tailgate me, but the truck driver stayed behind me (with his flashers on too) until I reached the correct exit. Not sure if anyone tailgated him! I found a dealer which had the correct tire in stock. I was back on the road about an hour later.
And yes: The man of the house was glad to see me, and we had a romantic evening.