I don't see well at night and, if I'm completely honest, I haven't seen well at night for a long time. In fact, despite ample evidence of poor night vision, I did not admit to it being an issue until 2005.
But this story takes place way before 2005...before we had kids...back when Luisa and I had our own cars and hers was a little red Geo Metro.
Luisa and I had both graduated from graduate school and she had her first real job in her field but I was still working as a program director of a group home and one of my responsibilities was to cover shifts when someone called in sick.
One night, after covering a night shift for someone, I was driving from St. Paul to Minneapolis and driving Luisa's Geo for some reason that I can't remember. I was almost home when I saw a plastic bag swirling in the wind in the middle of the street. A plastic bag is not an uncommon sight on a city street and doesn't represent much danger so I decided that I would not swerve around it but simply drive over it. As I did, the car jolted and I heard a horrible screeching sound underneath the car.
If you are thinking, "But wait! A plastic bag wouldn't do that!" You are correct.
I stopped the car, stunned and unsure as to what had just happened. I got out and peeked underneath the car and saw that the swirling plastic bag had actually been a big tire. I guess it would be more accurate to say it was a wheel, since it had the rim in it.
But I was young and maybe not that bright (as evidenced by the whole plastic bag/tire situation) and I decided that I would simply lift up the car and then reach underneath and pull the tire out. The Geo was small and light and I'd heard stories of people lifting cars off of babies and because I considered myself to be strong, this seemed like the most logical solution to the problem.
I put my hazard lights on, shut the door and walked to the front of the car. I looked around to make sure I wasn't going to get hit by traffic and that's when I noticed that a woman, possibly a lady of the night, had taken a seat on a bench to watch me. I was feeling pretty confident so I didn't mind the audience. I mentally reminded myself to lift with my knees as I put my arms under the front bumper of the car and lifted.
The car didn't move a single inch.
Was I daunted? Of course not!
I ignored the painful stinging sensation in my arms, widened my stance and reached under the bumper until it rested in the crook of my arms. Then, I squatted and lifted again. I thought, "Did it move? I think it moved." The woman on the bench looked perplexed which I interpreted as her rooting for me and decided that I would try one more time.
Reach. Squat. Lift. Nothing. My arms, knees and back ached and I still had a tire stuck under my car. The woman on the bench was chuckling and I felt defeated.
So, I got back in the car and was struck with a brilliant idea - I would back the car up and see if that worked!
If you are thinking, "But wait! What kind of idiot doesn't think of that first?" I would say that you are wise and I am an idiot who clearly believes she has superhuman strength.
I started the car, put it in reverse and - miracle of miracles - backed right off of the tire. The woman on the bench was smiling and nodding, probably looking at me the way I do when I watch a squirrel try to crack a nut and it finally succeeds. I drove home with the car making a horrible whirring sound and hope that it would sort itself out by the time I got home.
It didn't, of course. It would take $1800 to sort the whirring.
When I arrived home, my conversation with Luisa went something like this:
Vikki: I ran over a tire.
Luisa: Why? You couldn't swerve?
Vikki: I thought it was a plastic bag.
Luisa stares and blinks
Vikki: And now my arms hurt!
Vikki and Luisa look down at Vikki's arms and notice they are covered with scrapes and small cuts
Luisa: How did you hurt your arms?
Vikki: Trying to lift the car!
Luisa stares and blinks
All I can honestly say is that it truly did seem like a good idea at the time and It's hard to believe Luisa has stayed with me all these years.
Thanks to Nancy of Midlife Mixtape for organizing this fun and regret-filled blog hop! You'll find more stories about good ideas gone wrong at the blogs below - read them all!