As often as I said, “My foot has slipped,”
Your love, O Lord, upheld me.
When my cares fill my mind,
your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:18-19
I depress the clutch pedal and reach for the gearshift, preparing to enter the traffic. Nothing happens. The gearshift is frozen. I am not in any gear. I am not in neutral. I’m not sure how a car cannot be in one or the other, but here I am. Of course, I am stuck in the exit lane of the parking lot. And it is 5pm. Without being able to put the car into neutral, I can’t even push it out of the way.
I turn off the engine and restart the car. Still stuck. I call my husband to pick up the daughter who needs to get to the radio station for a live interview. I call roadside service. The tow truck will arrive in one hour. I call the service desk at the garage. Is there anything I can do from here, any trick to get the clutch to release? No. I restart the car and try the gearshift again just because I am a hopeful kind of person. Still stuck.
I wait. Periodically I get out of my car to inform a person who has pulled up behind me that they will not be leaving the parking lot by this exit this afternoon. They will have to go out the in ramp. They all take it very well, offer to help, and tell me how sorry they are.
The cars along the road beyond the parking lot are courteous as well, often leaving space for me to merge in front of them. I wave them on. I am not going anywhere.
Apparently I am not going anywhere soon. The tow truck has been delayed.
An hour and 45 minutes later I am still waiting. The only thing I can think to do is to be thankful. Thankful for the kind offers of assistance. Thankful for the courtesy of other drivers. Thankful for my husband who is now handling his and my share of the numerous parenting obligations this evening. Thankful for the woman from roadside assistance who calls me with updates. Thankful that it is still daylight. Thankful that dinner will be waiting for me when I get home.
The tow truck arrives. The driver gets into my car, and in one attempt gets the clutch to release. Of course. As I hover on the edge of self-recrimination, he smiles kindly and tells me not to worry.
And as I drive off in the gathering darkness, I am grateful for the grace of thanksgiving. I am glad I did not spend the last two hours reciting a litany of anger and blame. My phone rings a few minutes after I arrive home. It is the tow truck driver making sure I arrived safely. Another opportunity to be thankful.
copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2013