The call came around noon, a friend who lives around the corner called me to say that she'd had car trouble while driving home from the Pocono Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. One of her tires went flat, and she didn't have a spare, so she'd had her car towed to a service station in Parsippany, New Jersey. Having had similar tire trouble a few weeks ago, I empathized with her, so I told her I'd stop by as soon as I'd finished laundering my clothes. I picked her up, and we made the trek westward along I-80, and all I could think was, "Damn, this sounds really stupid, but I'm actually having fun... this misadventure reminds me of my yute, when money was tight, and we all had periodic car trouble." Yeah, I'd get calls from friends and family members who needed rides, or tire changes, or jump-starts, or I'd make a similar call myself. Yeah, it's weird- the ability one has to find something to joke about when wallowing in a sea of suckitude, the ability to laugh while in the throes of adversity.
Well, my friend had brought a tire with her (courtesy of her usual mechanic), so the tire replacement took about half an hour. I'd noticed a Dosa House on the way, so we stopped for dosas (the diameter of these puppies was the length of my arm), washed down with a nicely bitter Limca soda. During lunch, I confessed to my friend that I was actually having a good time, that I'd been reminded of the not-so-good part of the "Good Old Days", and of how we'd always laughed through adversity. She's a good sport, and she's dealt with adversity herself, so she played along with my goofy, nostalgic mood.
Once the tire was replaced, I followed her home in case anything happened- we got back to the City of Y______ around 4:30, and I made her promise that she'd keep a full-size spare in the car at all times.
Oh, while New Jersey's on my mind, I figured I'd get a jab at the "enamored of teabaggers" governor Chris Christie, whose administration recently bungled a federal grant proposal. No matter what the 'baggers would say, the stimulus is working, as attested to by this road sign: