In my twenties there was an unspoken rule: at least once a month you had to either have a breakdown or run out of gas. There were variations, but it all added up to sometime around 2 a.m. being stuck somewhere and trying to figure out who to call—but first we’d have to find a pay phone.
Somewhere in my collective memory I see a parking lot, a sea of tarmac with my little red/orange Volkswagen swimming in it. This was ten times better than that time beside the 4-lane highway, but still I was unfamiliar with this side of town. Plus, I might also have been a little woozy from lack of sleep. I turned the key and nothing, just click. Which meant I had left the lights on and would need a jump.
I went through the Rollo-deck of my mind. That’s what’s now known as contacts on your Smart phone. I thought of Bob, he was always up for a midnight adventure. Even though Nicole was super busy, the smartest girl in the school, she’d throw on shoes and come looking for me. Wells might do it, unless he had a cross-country meet the next morning. Jane lived too far away and I didn’t quite have that kind of friendship yet with Brad. I rested my forehead on the steering wheel that smelled of sweaty hands.
Then I thought: pancakes! and called Brad. I bribed him, saying we could go out for pancakes afterwards. Somehow pancakes was always the answer. I waited forty minutes and soon saw headlights slicing through the darkness. I hoped he remembered the cables.
Later we warmed up over coffee and a stack of silver dollars before going to work. Before the next parking lot rendezvous.