Popping a wheelie

Where is my husband when I need him? Usually 100 miles away at work in Chicago. Today he was at least at his desk and picked up on the first ring.

“When are you coming home?” I ask.

“Oh, tonight I think.”

“Good. Tonight. Come home tonight. You’ll never believe what happened.”


“I lost a wheel.”

“You left a wheel? Where did you leave …”

“LOST. I lost a wheel on the Element. I was driving back from the mall and I heard this noise in the front wheel so I stopped at the tire place and asked them to check it out but they said they were too busy and it was probably a bearing so I asked whether it was safe to drive and they said sure—”

“Wait. Did you find the wheel? Did you have it with you?”

“Of course. It was still ON the car. It was just making a noise and that’s why I stopped at Zolman’s.”

“I don’t understand. You said you LOST the wheel.”

“Yes. It came off after I left Zolman’s and I was driving home.”

“You got all the way home?”

“No! The wheel came off!”

“But you said you lost it.”

“I MEANT IT CAME OFF! I was south of Niles and the noise was getting real bad and the steering wheel was shaking so I slowed way down and there was a bang and the left front tire went rolling across the street into a yard!”

“But you’re at home. Where is the car?”

“At a garage! I had it towed!”

“Did you find the wheel?”

“YES, YES! THE WHEEL IS AT PETE’S MARATHON WITH THE CAR! A nice cop made the phone call because my cell was dead and then he waited with me and drove me home.”

Aren’t you going to ask if I’m okay? Aren’t you going to say I was very lucky? Aren’t you going to say, that is about the worst kind of mechanical failure you can have when you’re driving and I’m glad you didn’t have an accident?

Instead we talked about the damage to the car, how the support bar or whatever you call it had snapped, probably because the wheel had wobbled loose and put a strain on it and that might not have happened if I hadn’t kept driving when the noise got worse (because the Zollman guy told me it was okay) and so repairs were probably going to be very expensive and maybe this happened because the tires had been rotated recently and we were supposed to take the car back in to check the torque.

This is the same car whose battery died last week when Vic left town, forcing me into a three-day fossil fuel fast. Eleven years old, 166,000 miles. The nice cop says maybe it’s time for a new car.

As for the husband, I think I’ll stick with the old model. At least he’s predictable.