Have you wondered why these Army Generals always display all their medals about their persona? It is simple psychology. The more impressive one looks, the more confidence you have in him.
Apparently, the towing truck I had called for had studied this aspect of psychology well. Of all the rotten experiences, one of the most rotten has to be getting a flat tire. Of course, one never discovers a flat tire at a convenient time. Nevertheless, this time hurt. It happened at the end of a very long and tiring day – 16 hours of non-stop nonsense. I got into the car, my little chariot to take me home towards my comfortable bed that seemed to be sending positive signals of welcome, and felt the car sag a bit. So, I got out to check what had happened and lo and behold the tire looked like a soggy piece of bread, with a car on it. The car looked sorry to be exerting any sort of pressure on the blasted piece of rubber. But cars, unlike dogs, are constrained in movement, and cannot lift one side up and stand on three tires of their own will.
I’ll race through the next steps: Called the emergency road service, female promised aid within 10 minutes, clear directions given, waiting commenced. If I wanted, I could not have chosen a clearer spot to get a flat tire. I mean a person with no knowledge of any of the roads in my town could have gotten there. On one of the arterial roads, in one of the major complexes. Can’t miss.
“Only 10 minutes, only 10 minutes, only, only 10 minutes…” I sang to myself for 45 minutes, and decided to call again. The female who had promised me aid 45 minutes ago, came on again, and I wailed to her. She promptly got in touch with the driver and he said he’d lost his way. I don’t exaggerate much here – you would have to work really hard to lose your way on this road. Still, I can be charitable and gave him another 15 minutes. This time, the truck came.
You know how Great Emperors used to go down to the battlefield in all their regalia to enthuse the troops? Just their presence would do. I don’t think Akbar heartened his troops as much as that tow truck heartened mine. I mean to say! What an impressive vehicle it was. For starters, it gleamed yellow and came with blinking lights. The daughter was thoroughly impressed with the spectacle, and we both gaped at it longingly. Food, water and sleep were moments away.
The truck stopped, and the truck driver jumped down to survey the scene. He was methodical. Methodical Joe. The front left tire was the soggy bread. I’d mentioned it on the phone twice. But he checked the rear two, the front right and finally exclaimed “HA!” on finding the flat tire. He then walked around his large truck in a clockwise direction thrice, and tapped the compartments in a xylophonic manner. All part of his process I suppose, but I admit that my confidence in the food-water-sleep-moments-away dream sagged a bit.
Methodical Joe then opened a compartment containing an assortment of tools, and inspected each tool thoroughly. Just as I thought, he would use this nut, or that screw, he would replace it, and move on to the next. He then, closed Compartment #1, and walked around the truck in an anti-clockwise direction, and opened Compartment #2. He pulled each spanner one by one, and replaced them in exactly the same order in which he had taken them out. I felt Lady Patience deserting me. When he opened Compartment #6, I asked him if everything was okay. He replied without much conviction that it was okay.
I did not know what he was looking for, but just in case he was looking for the spare tire in his truck, I told him that my spare tire was in my car trunk. He seemed to consider it a valid point. He then came and pulled the tire out of my car trunk and repeated the opening-compartment-procedure three more times. By now, Lady Patience had completely deserted me and had sent Lady Hunger to keep me company.
I asked him a bit edgily if he knew what to do. His candor at a moment like this impressed me. He said, simply and bravely, that he did not know. I gaped at the man. I suppose he felt sorry for me and said he will send somebody else and left.
Luckily, his replacement (who came in a far less impressive vehicle I might add) had my car up and running in about two hunger pangs.
All that glitters…..