When you know the perfect place for your car to break down.
In my 16 years as a driver, I have been broken down many times along the way. Let me tell you, some places are better candidates for breakdowns than others.
For example: I-20, between Atlanta and Commerce, GA. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, when everybody and their mama are headed back home. After dark, during a storm.
Not a pretty place to break down. Luckily, a friend of mine from college (where I was headed at the time) recognized my tail lights and pulled over to wait in the car with me until the wrecker came.
Then, there are the good places to break down.
Like, for instance, in the middle of a shopping center. Which is where I found myself yesterday.
Oh, let me back up a bit.
We went to Southaven (we being Jason, Anna Marie, my mom, and myself.) AM had Nutcracker practice at 3 p.m., and we had a church get-together at 5 p.m. Mom and Jason have a catering gig next weekend, so we brought two cars so the two of them could shop and leave and I could take the little one to practice.
Well. I was a little miffed at Jason's suggestion that we take two cars (after all, gas is nearly $3 a gallon again!) But later, I was very, very glad.
We drove to Fazoli's for lunch, and left Jason's Jeep there while we took my mom to her sister's house and then to Target. As we were leaving Target, sitting at a red light waiting to turn left onto the main street, my battery light came on. And my anti-lock brake light. And my airbag light.
And then, I nearly had to floor it to get my car to move across the intersection.
Thankfully, the Jeep was only about a quarter mile away, and I thought that maybe there was a short in the electrical system, and I could shut the car off and everything would reset.
Jason and mom decided to follow me to the dance studio to make sure I got there OK. And we called my dad, who was working nearby, to get his brain working on a solution.
When I started through the parking lots to get out onto the road, the temperature light came on and the gauge shot up to red.
I knew for a fact this car was not running hot, but that something was terribly wrong. So I pulled into a parking space, and Jason and mom took us to dance practice.
Except . . .
I didn't know the address to the main studio, and we'd never been there. I just knew it was at or near the intersection of these two main roads. The only building there is a huge gym, so I went inside to see if anyone knew where the studio was.
The girl at the front desk said, "Oh, they practice here. Go down the hallway to the room with all the windows."
There was a crop of cheerleaders practicing in there, so I figured we must have the 3 p.m. practice time. I changed Anna Marie into her leotard and we waited.
Except . . .
3 p.m. came and went, and no sign of anyone related to the dance studio!
I went back to the front desk, where a new girl was this time. She, of course, had no idea what I was talking about. I asked for a phone book, and realized I had the wrong building.
And no car.
And I was going to be late.
I called Jason, and he came to pick us up. But, we soon figured out that the studio was in the next block, so the little blue leotard clad girl and I walked down the side of the 5-lane road to the studio.
Don't worry. I walked between her and the road, and we were on the grass.
We were 15 minutes late, but the mice were just lining up in their positions.
After practice, mom and Jason were still around so they came to pick us up. My dad finally got a chance to look at the car, and deemed the problem to be the alternator.
Now, for the part where a shopping center is a good place to break down, especially if you have a small child!
After church today we headed back up to where my car was. While Jason was taking off the alternator and getting it tested, Anna Marie and I went to Petco. And Old Navy. And Sally Beauty Supply. And the Hallmark store, where they were giving away Milano cookies! Yum!
By the time we got back down to Petco, we were only there a few minutes before Jason called to say it was fixed.
So, let me give you a word of advice - one I hope you never have to use.
If you have a choice, try to get your car to a shopping center if it breaks down. Or anyway, just in case. You can justify all the shopping to your husbands that it's a safety measure.
We don't want to take any chances, do we?